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Can’t I Discipline Without The Chaos?

Can't I discipline without the chaos?How many times have you asked yourself a similar question “Can’t I discipline without the chaos?”  “Can’t I be a more effective parent?” “I swore I would never parent like I was!”

You want the bad behaviour to stop, but you want to respond in a way that values and enhances your relationship with your children.  You want to build your relationship, not damage it.  You want to create less drama, not more.

How many times have you said I don’t want to discipline like I was?  I know I have quite a few times when I have thought goodness I sound like my mother.  But that is the only type of discipline I know and honestly it is the way that is promoted all the time.  So I feel like I have been at a cross road of how I want to discipline.

The word “discipline” comes directly from the Latin word disciplina which means teaching, learning and giving instruction.  However if discipline is meant to teach, most people associate only punishment or consequences.  Society tends to frown upon parents who do not simply punish their child when they misbehave.

Our children need to learn skills like inhibiting impulses, managing big angry feelings, and considering the impact of their behaviour on others.  Learning these essentials of life and relationships is what they need and if you can provide it for them, you’ll be offering a significant gift not only for your children, but to your whole family and even the rest of society.

It is time to begin to rethink what discipline really means, reclaiming it as a term that’s not about punishment and control, but about teaching and skill building – and doing so from a place of love, respect and emotional connection.  Since I changed my beliefs, put in my professional philosophy with behaviour management of children with Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder, I am able to support them through their tough emotions and it has been amazing how quickly they calm when supported.

If you are sick of yelling, doing time out have a look at our program called Challenging Busting Behaviour  program or simply email me at and share how you want to start parenting your children.


I Love You Rituals Increase Learning Potential Through Touch

touchAs a mum of a daughter who has severe Sensory Processing Disorder Defensive Modulation touch would have been out the window.  For the first couple of years, we had trouble with affection as she didn’t like it (especially with me).  However, around the age of 2, I noticed that she would press her forehead against mine really hard.  At first I could not understand what she was doing but I knew not to stop her.  This was her way of regulating her body and to let me give her cuddles at the same time.  Our Occupational Therapist has been outstanding in helping her cope with touch and now we have the best cuddles.  I love when we cheek to cheek each other as a form of self regulation.

Nevertheless, how do I love you rituals increase leaning potential through touch?

Touch is the only sense we can’t live without. Your child could be blind and be fine, she could be deaf and be okay, but without touching and being touched, a child will die. In 1920, Dr. Henry Chapin, a New York paediatrician, reported that the death rate for infants under two years of age in institutions across the United States was 100 percent. These infants received adequate food and shelter. What was missing for these babies was caring touch. Chapin concluded that being handled, carried, cuddled, and caressed was necessary for life.

A lot of people do not feel comfortable with touching people in public.  A parent may have been raised by someone who was not affectionate.  This type of behaviour will continue through generation to generation unless we all become comfortable in offering someone a hug.  As awareness of sexual abuse has increased so has the fear of being seen touching a child even if it is appropriate.  I know as a child care educator we were told to tell all staff not to touch children.  Educators are told that they can not make physical contact with a child even if they are upset when a small cuddle or arm around the shoulder would provide the child with care.

Brain research confirms the critical role of touch in our mental and emotional health. When we touch one another, a hormone is released called the nerve growth factor. This hormone is essential to neural function and learning. The brain and the skin develop from the same embryonic tissue. The skin, in essence, is the outside layer of the brain. If we want smart, happy children, we must consciously touch them. It is time to relearn appropriate, caring touch and move past our fear of inappropriate touch. We must embrace touch for its value and function in development and learning.

I remember attending Tony Robbin’s Unleash Your Personal Power seminars and in this seminar you had to hug strangers.  My goodness that felt so weird and you did step back at first.  However, it showed that it improves people’s emotional well being.


Next time you see your partner give them a hug for two minutes and see what happens.

By understanding caring touch, children develop compassion for themselves and others. Hitting becomes hugging, snatching becomes asking, and the difference between caring touch and unwanted, uncomfortable touch is learned.
With my eldest daughter her hug consists of a shoulder into me or her back.  It has taken a long time to actually get her to cuddle front on with me.  Now she comes for a hug when she needs to.  Even though she gave me a shoulder it was a moment to tell her that I love her.  With Emma I have to make sure that she is aware I am going to hug her so she does not become defensive through a firm hand on her shoulder or arm.  I find light touch sends her crazy.

I Love You Rituals Improve Your Child’s Brain for Success

love you ritualsI love you rituals improve your child’s brain for success in all areas of their lives.

You may be wondering how is this possible.

In all our brains, brain cells communicate with each other via chemical molecules called neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters act, to some degree, like on-off switches creating communication pathways between cells, similar

to wires linking telephone poles. If these neurotransmitters
do not function optimally, communication within the brain is disrupted. This disruption is reflected in your child’s behaviour.
A key neurotransmitter called Dopamine supports our brain in a number of ways. First, symbolically dopamine says, “Focus on this; pay attention.” It helps us stay focused. How often do you feel that your child is inattentive? How “spacey” do you feel at times?  Second, dopamine motivates us to achieve our goals. It says, “Go for it; get what you desire.” Dopamine helps us take action toward achieving our goals, rather than passively wish things were different. Dopamine also is instrumental in creating the positive emotions we feel when we experience successful social interactions. After a delightful lunch with friends, for example, we feel satisfied and content. This, to some degree, is the afterglow caused by dopamine.
The secret ingredients appear to be eye contact, touch, and the bonding these interactions provide. Watch a caring adult interact with a six-month-old infant: their eyes meet, and a connection is made between them. It is similar to later experiences we call love at first sight. Adults and infants take turns imitating each other’s facial expressions, one leading and the other following as in a graceful ballroom dance. The allure of this mutual intimacy overrides the self-consciousness of even grumpy adults. “Gitsy-goooo,” creeps out of the mouths of even the most reserved adult in the presence of an adorable, responsive baby.
I Love You Rituals are designed to foster eye contact and bonding. In the process, the dopamine system of children is strengthened, as are attention span and social development. All are integral to your child’s social, emotional, and school success. Children who are surrounded by chronic bickering or tension at home may learn to tune out the unpleasantness to survive.  Thus process of tuning out can be a reflection

lowered dopamine levels in the brain. Such problems may include a short attention, the inability to concentrate, follow through on tasks, hyperactivity and to a lesser ability to read the social cues of others.
I Love You Rituals provide daily tune-ups for your children, through which attention spans are likely to increase and cooperation improve.
Try the following experiment. Notice what your child does when your relationship with him or her is disrupted by a series of conflicts. You will notice that your child’s eye contact with you becomes minimal and when you reach out to touch your child, your overture is rebuked. The child pulls away from you, resisting reconnection. When relationships are in need of repair, eye contact is one of the first social actions to go, followed by touch. The journey to reconnection comes through communication. Communication occurs through the simultaneous engagement of eyes, touch, and loving words—all of which are provided in I Love You Rituals.
I know when my relationship is disconnected with the girls.  During those times when I make my “mummy mistakes” especially if I have raised my voice, when I talk to them again their eyes are wide, their fingers go into their mouth and the back away.  However, after apologising and sitting down and having a cuddle, the next time that I talk to them, fingers do not go into their and they do not look like rabbits in car head lights.
If you would love to improve your connection with your child, have a look at our Connect With Your Child program or simply email me at

Can Children Set Their Own Goals?

Setting Goals for your childCan children set their own goals?  The answer is of course YES!

Parent’s around Australia would be receiving their child’s school reports. However, what surprised me was the comments parent’s were making in regards to areas that needed improvement.  I heard parent’s say “of course my child isn’t organised…….doesn’t the teacher know my child has Autism” and lots of other comments.


Do parent’s not see these areas for our children to grow?  If parent’s see them as negative are we giving our children the message that they can not grow?

When I spoke with my daughter’s Grade 1 teacher, she showed us a notice board full of posted notes.   The teacher helps each child to set their own goals to work on for the term.  One of the main goals that Emma recognised within herself is that she needed to put up her hand more.  Therefore, Emma had to not only overcome her anxiety but have self confidence within herself that she did have an answer.

How to set up goals with your child?

Each term we sit with the girls and talk about what they want to work on each term.  We do not make suggestions as we want them to come up with the ideas.  We find that the smaller the goal is the better.  By having it small, they can achieve it simply and lots of times.  Having your child feel a sense of achievement improves their success rate in life and improves their self esteem.

Goals are important for adults as well as children and you will be amazed on what children can come up with.  As parent’s we just need to guide them to make sure they are positive goals.



Do You Dismiss Emotions?

Do you dismiss emotions by saying the following:

  • Only girl’s cry…………..
  • You will be alright………….
  • Cheer up…………..
  • You should never be angry…………

These types of comments have been past down from generation to generation as a lot of our parenting is based on our past experiences.  I remember with my family we were encouraged not to show our emotions and just deal with it.  When my dad passed away I remember my mum saying “I don’t want you crying at the funeral as you will embarrass me.”  This was how she was parented and it was all that she knew.

Many parents frequently use this approach with their kids, not realizing that there is a better way to manage.  This type of parenting is called Emotion Dismissing or Emotion Disapproving Parents.  If you think that you are doing this, don’t fret because I have to admit that I did that until I learnt that there is a better way to manage emotions.  We can learn better ways so that you do not dismiss emotions anymore.

Emotion dismissing parents are usually not cruel or mean spirited people.  They are often loving, warm and concerned, but are uncomfortable with intense emotions.  They prefer the neutral state and like others to be calm and reasonable.  They dislike anger, rage, sadness, despair.  They are also uncomfortable with intense positive emotions.   It means that you have the best intentions, but are missing opportunities for guidance and connection with your children.

Characteristics of Emotion Dismissing Parents:

  1. They don’t notice lower intensity emotions in themselves or their kids.
  2. They see negative emotions as toxic and want to protect their children from them.
  3. They want kids to be able to change emotions quickly.
  4. They may punish a child or put them in a time out just for being angry, even if there is no misbehaviour.
  5. They prefer cheerful children and want their kids to focus on the positive.  They distract or try to cheer up their kids when they have negative emotions.
  6. They don’t have a detailed vocabulary for emotions.
  7. They want reason to control emotion, therefore are uncomfortable with strong emotions.

I learnt to face my emotions when I was recovering from severe postnatal depression.  I also void that I wouldn’t ignore my child’s emotions.  When they are having a meltdown I am usually silent for a while.  I would encourage you to just sit there for a while whilst your child is upset and just be present.  When they start to calm down I label the emotions that they are feeling and find a good 90% of the time just labelling the emotion helps them to calm down.

When my girls hurt themselves I acknowledge that it would hurt and I would have cried.  I acknowledge when they are angry and help them to express their anger in more appropriate means if they are hurting others.

By making a conscious effort to change the way I manage my own emotions and help through their emotions, I am building a stronger relationship with my girls and sending the message that no matter what happens in life, I am there for them.

If you want to receive help in emotion coaching head over to my Challenging Behaviour Program.  If you want to just do an Emotion Coaching program that can easily be arranged to suit your needs.  Simply drop me an email at


Bullying Affects the Entire Family

When I shut my front door after dropping the girls off at school, I broke down in tears.  We are simply exhausted with the daily struggles of getting Grace to school.  I knew that bullying affects the entire family but I never really grasped just how much.  It is the endless conversations with teachers, Principals, with each other and by constantly being strong for your child.

I have been finding recently that I have been questioning every decision that I am making and wondering if they are the right ones.  Bully affects the entire family especially siblings.  They are also upset for their sibling and may also feel lonely as a lot of mum and dad’s attention is on their sibling.

Bullying affects the entire family so it is imperative that everyone looks after themselves as much as possible.

Strategies that can help your family with the effects of bullying are:

  1. Making sure that you are honest with each other with how you are feeling.
  2. Listen to your partner in how that they are feeling.
  3. Have someone that you can talk to about how you are coping.
  4. Make sure that you are eating healthy.
  5. Exercise can be extremely helpful to get the positive emotions flowing.
  6. Know that you are not alone.
  7. Never give up as your child needs you to look after yourself.
  8. Make sure that you spend time with each child.
  9. See how your other children are going.
  10. Come up with strategies on how you can support each other.
  11. One day a week, do something as a family.

If you are looking for any help please do not hesitate to contact me through even if you just want to let it out as you are not alone and happy to be here for you if you need an ear.


What Do You Do When Times Are Tough?

What do you do what times are tough?

What do you do when times are tough?

When times are tough, it can be exhausting, deflating and most parent’s are at a loss of what to do.  However, by paying attention to the small moments that occur daily, it can help get you through the tough times.

Strategies that you could use to store these memories are:

  • Write down these moments in a journal.
  • Keep any work that your child brings home.
  • Stop for a moment when these small gestures occur and actually take notice how they make you feel.
  • Take photos and put them in a photo album.
  • Take part in activities that your child enjoys so you can create the special moments.
  • Do something with your child everyday even if it is only a small activity.
  • Appreciate how far your child has come.


I Don’t Like Writing!

I Don't Like WritingI don’t like writing!

How many times have you heard this?  I hear this quite often especially from Emma.  It is school holidays in Victoria, Australia and Emma brought home a letter writing sheet to do.

I did all the warnings before saying that we were going to do the sheet and prior to completing the task she was looking forward to doing it and she kept reminding me that she had not done it yet.

Nevertheless, today was the day and goodness I copped the “I don’t like writing” both barrels.  She threw herself under the table and just started saying “NO I’m not doing it.”  I took the tact of reminding her that her writing is lovely and I searched for examples of how neat her writing actually is.  She has had lots of help from her Occupational Therapist and we do it also at home.

She got up on the chair again, looked at the work and yelled “I don’t like writing.”  She proceeded to throw the sheet and pencil and gave me an angry look.  I thought to myself “no I am not going to reprimand her for throwing things” and just said “what is up?”  She looked at me with daggers and said “I don’t like writing” and she went and curled up on the small trampoline.  I watched her heavy breathing and debated to leave it or keep going.”

So I asked her “what are you having difficulty with (in regards to writing)?”

Her reply:  “I can’t write the letters.”

So then I asked “Is it that you don’t know where to start the letters?”

She gave me the mum don’t be stupid look and yelled back “I don’t like writing!”

We sat there for about 30 seconds in silence and all I could hear was her hard breathing.

Then I said “what do you need”

She then said quite calmly “I need Jessie.” Jessie is our Golden Retriever.

I then asked her “Will Jessie help you to write or calm down?”

She said “to calm down”.

Now I do not know who is harder to call to come here, the girls or the dog.  Ten times she had to be called.  So then Emma then spent some time patting the dog.  Then she was willing to get back up on the chair. Emma commenced doing the writing task and then threw the pencil again. “I don’t like writing” she yelled.

I asked her “what is hard?”

Emma replied “I can’t do the lower case letters.”

By the end of the first line, Emma gained her confidence and completed the sheet and was happy with her work.  She even showed Dad when he arrived home.

Instead of imposing adult consequences on Emma which I knew were only going to make things worse, I simply started asking her questions to find out what was causing the behaviour.  I already knew that she could do it as even her teacher made a comment to me about how neat her writing had become.  But I needed Emma to voice what the issue is.  Together we helped each other through the task and both of our needs were met.  Emma completed the task and for Emma she was proud with her work.

She had to complete the other side as well and when I said it was time to do the task off she went and completed it.  There are always reasons for behaviours and instead of assuming what the problem was from an adult perspective, I had to find out what was so hard from her perspective.


Why is My Child Behaviourally Challenging?

Why is my child behaviourally challenging? Have you ever said “My child is so manipulative, attention-seeking, unmotivated, stubborn, willful, intransigent, bratty, spoiled, controlling, resistant, out of control, and defiant. Perhaps even: they are skilled at testing limits, pushing buttons, coercing adults into giving in, and getting their way?

Dr Ross Greene in his book “The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children” explains that research is showing that behaviourally challenging because they’re lacking skills to not be challenging.

For a lot of parent’s this may be hard to get their head around.  However since studying Applied Behaviour Analysis, I have always come from an angle that there is always a reason for a child’s behaviour.  Sometimes the antecedent (before the behaviour) can be difficult to pick at the start because we are more focused on reducing the behaviour.  However we can not reduce the behaviour without understanding what is causing the behaviour.

But my child is always challenging?  The majority of children are not challenging from the second they wake up to when they go to sleep.  The majority of children have times throughout that they are coping and enjoying their activities.

Challenging children often lack the skills of flexibility, adaptability, frustration tolerance and problem solving skills.  This is where the majority of challenging children have the most difficulty, is when they need to apply these skills.

When does your child need to have these skills?

  • Every time an adult gives your child a directive.
  • Interacting adaptively with everyone that they interact with.
  • Handling disagreements.
  • Completing hard homework tasks.
  • Dealing with change of plan.
  • Dealing with different environments.

When you really look at it so much in our life depends on handling the above skills.  Understanding the why they behave the way they do can, by itself, lead to improvements in your interacting with your child, even before any formal strategies are tried.

For a child on the Autism Spectrum and with Sensory Processing Disorder, they can be overloaded from their environments and needing to use the above skills which usually is the cause of the sensory overload.  By looking at all of these factors within the above skills, will reduce the sensory overload as we look at closely at times when it causes the majority of sensory overloads.

The challenge for parents is that they need us to look at our beliefs about challenging behaviours and apply strategies that are often a far cry from ways in which most adults interact with and discipline children who are not behaviourally  challenging.

This is not an easy process and in the Emotion and Behaviour Busting Program, together we will break this area down so that you are no longer guessing what is causing your child’s behaviour.  This is so important for parent’s because your child does not want to be behaving the way they are and they need us to help them to develop the above skills.

Anxiety is Giving Me the Shits

anxietyToday, I have to admit that my anxiety is giving me the shits.  There is just so many external things happening at the moment and I am feeling extremely overwhelmed with it all.  The voices in my head hashing it all around just won’t shut up for a moment.

I am making sure that I am eating properly (if you take out that it was Emma’s birthday on the weekend and I probably ate too much sugar) and it is amazing how sugar can increase my anxiety.

I have been exercising but not as consistently as I would like.  However it is amazing how much even 30 minutes of exercise daily can improve your overall well being.

I tried to get some work done. I tried to read a book. I tried to listen to music which all helped but it didn’t last.  On my walk I concentrated on things I could see and my breathing which eased some of the tension.

However last night, I was thinking I might have to make an appointment to see a Doctor but I put cardamom essential oil and lemon essential oil in the diffuser and watch The Oscars.  I could not believe that the voices actually stopped.  I expected the voices to start up again today but guess what all is quiet.

I love having so many strategies to help with my head being full of chatter.

anxietyIf you would like to purchase this blend, I am now selling essential oils in 10ml bottles so that you can out them in a diffuser (not one with heat) and enjoy the quietness in your head.  I charge $25.00 for the 10ml bottles which includes postage.

If you would like to know more please email me at