Parents Q&A

Questions have been answered by Dr. Jane Nelsen and Certified Positive Discipline Trainers. Please use the Blog Search to find specific topics.


Choosing Friends

I have one child who complains that she doesn't have any friends. Another child keeps choosing friends I don't like. How do I help my children become friends with children I approve of?

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Question About Praise

This last month we are having a problem with the "Praise" word with our 13 year old. She's very clever at school and gets amazing grades; she loves school! So the last few tests she's had she's come home and told us the results and my husband and I have both said to her '"Wow, amazing results Zara! You must be so proud and you clearly did the hard work and it's paid off!"

She floored us when she replied, "Why can't you just say you're so proud of me, like all the other normal parents??!"

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3 ½-year-old Tantrums

Question: I just entered the world of Positive Discipline and I love it. I feel like I can be a really great mother—even more than I already am. I feel challenged with my 3 ½ year old! He is very specific about things. If he gets something in his mind, it must be that way, or he cries, sometimes until he falls asleep (up to an hour of crying)! For example, if I walk off the sidewalk to get somewhere faster, I get a tantrum. If I flush the toilet, not him–tantrum. If I get a spoon for breakfast–tantrum.

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Question: My husband and I came to one of your seminars in February. One subject you didn’t touch was interrupting. Our 4 1/2 year old does it all the time. How can we stop it? It drives my husband and me crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Toddlers and the Hitting Stage

Question: Hi, I attended your session at the Adlerian Conference in Myrtle Beach. It was really great! I now have a 14-month-old son and recently bought your book Positive Discipline, The First Three Years as he began to really start to show his little personality and I realized wow, I need help! I finished it tonight but still have a question and really wanted your opinion about the issue of hitting. Our son, is a very happy toddler but lately when he gets angry he will hit me and my husband in the face.

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Discipline in the Car

Do you have any advice on how to handle discipline while in the car, particularly when siblings fight? As I see it, the options are limited. Time out can't be used. I try to prevent problems by making sure each child has his own entertainment (CDs, books, etc.). Also, I try to remember to have a discussion with the children before we leave as to what behavior is expected. Pulling over to the side of the road sometime helps for a short time, but it's not always practical to be pulling over multiple times and traffic conditions may not allow it. Help!

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Very Active 18-Month-Old

My daughter is a very active 18-month-old who is also strong-willed. My question is: How do you curb dangerous impulses and teach your child to listen to you when you tell her she can't do something when she is so young?

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Teen Getting Poor Grades & Being Suspended


I attended your lecture on Positive Discipline held at Mira Costa on the 21st, because I really need help on where to go from here. I have an almost 13 year old boy who is testing his limits (and mine). What would be the best approach for me in the following instances:

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Morning Problems

Question: I have read your book, Positive Discipline, cover to cover, and have searched your website in the FAQ about morning routine problems but could not find a solution to a certain situation. I have a problem with my 7-year-old daughter that I can't solve, and can't find advice for.

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Discipline Without Yelling, Hitting, or Spanking

How can I discipline my children without hitting, yelling or any negative attitudes towards them even when they misbehave or don't want to listen to me?

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