Saturday Giveaway: Regret Free Parenting

This weekend I am giving away FIVE copies of Catherine Hickem’s book Regret Free Parenting: Raise Good Kids and Know You’re Doing It Right.  I’ve only skimmed it so far, so I can’t tell you lots about it, but it looks interesting enough to have made it onto my list to read on my next plane ride. I love the idea of parenting to help kids develop their emotional intelligence.  You can click on the above link to read some of the reviews it is getting on amazon.

If you’d like a chance to win a copy of this book, comment below and give me one tip you’ve learned to help your child  (or yourself! 🙂 ) regain control when emotions start to boil over.  For a second chance to win, blog about this review or like it on facebook.

One thing I’ve found helpful is to ask, “Is this a big problem or a little problem?”  Often the upset person will take a deep breath, consider, and realize that their reaction is out of proportion to the scale of the problem.   Then we can regroup and talk about a solution.

So how about you?   How do you help your child regain control when he is ready to blow his stack?


  1. I just have a one year old and I’m still learning how to do this, but regret free parenting is definitely my goal. My husband recently reminded me that when our one year old throws a tantrum, he isn’t doing it to punish me – he is just expressing his frustration with the situation in the way he knows how. That really helped me to remember to ignore the tantrums and not get frustrated.

  2. katherine says:

    our crew is three years and 18 months, so we’re not great at this yet. our 3yo is still growing verbally and gets frustrated easily. when he gets too worked up or whiny, he gets a chance to hang out on our bed or his until he finds a “happy heart.”

  3. Unfortunately I think the bigger question for me is how do I regain control when I am ready to Blow MY stack? Keeping perspective is big but sometimes I lose mine. 🙁

  4. I’ve been using scripture to keep myself in line!! Since I am memorizing certain verses that pertain to that….it usually comes to my mind in the midst of it and then gives me perspective!! I hope to use it with the kiddos too!!

  5. Just encouraging him/her to take some deep breathes, until he/she can communicate without being so upset. Then it’s easier to get to the heart of the issues w/o all the emotions.

  6. I have a 2-1/2 year old so we have many moments of needing a minute to calm down. We do time outs, but not traditional ones. I don’t send him to his room or have him sit in the corner. Instead, we sit together on a designated chair in the living room; no television, toys, or music. He just sits on my lap for two or three minutes quietly. It helps me take a breath and it takes him away from the upsetting situation. He loves hugs, so he really enjoys the contact.

  7. Empathy and a lot of communication are two keys here. Thanks for the chance at winning the book. I love to read and learn.

  8. I’ve started to tell my 9y.o. to “take 10.” He’s then supposed to stop, take 10 deep breaths and think about a new reaction.

  9. I ask for wisdom from God to reveal to me the “the why” of what he is dealing with. Then we talk about the problem and I try to use examples of when he has done the right thing in the past.

  10. Jenifer S. says:

    When our 4 year old has a meltdown we tell her to stop and take 3 deep breaths. By the time she’s done that she’s usually calm enough for us to discuss what happened. And sometimes she puts herself in time out because she knows she misbehaved 🙂 When she’s calm she comes and sits on my lap and we discuss what happened. Right now we’re really working on helping her understand cause and effect.

  11. Sue from Buffalo says:

    When my five year old is ready to explode, I physically get down to her level, look her in the eye and speak slowly and quietly.

  12. A five minute shoulder massage goes a long way with me or my teen-age children to help avoid a blow-up.

  13. When my kids act out and start to throw tantrums, we will often have a time-out on mom’s lap…where I will explain that even though what they did is not good behavior, that I still love them and consider them to be good children. It doens’t always work, but I’ve found they they love to hear they are not BAD kids.


  14. I have five children with one on the way, & I find they all lose control of their emotions in different ways. One will lose his temper, while another one whines & still another may throw a tantrum. I find that when emotions are running high I need to tell them to go to a specific location to calm down, after which we’ll talk about the issue. It’s nearly impossible for me to get through to an overly emotional child, & till they calm down I am wasting my breath & increasing my own chances of losing my temper. I’d like a chance to read that book! Parenting is such a huge responsibility…I don’t know if it’s possible to do it with absolutely no regrets, but the fewer the better!

  15. I am a first time mom, and my son is just about to turn 2. I could use all the advice I can get.

  16. We take it outside!
    I find that being outdoors helps everybody calm down, regroup, find solutions. When you remove yourself from the place where a problem was created, it helps to find a new perspective.

  17. I have learned that when a child is learning to read, reading TO that child is one of the best things you can do!

  18. I have a 2 year old and a 3 year old, both with very short tempers and so this is a struggle for us. Would love this book! The one thing that has helped my 3 year old is I say, “let’s count to 10.” By the time we get to 10 she’s usually calmed down. It also seems like tickling helps too! 🙂

  19. I was very interested to read the comments for ideas, and I love your tip. We have a 7 and 5 year old I need help on (the 1 and newborn aren’t at that stage yet)…We usually send the child to his room or bed until they’ve calmed down. The book sounds VERY interesting.

  20. Also blogged about the giveaway for a 2nd chance! 🙂

  21. I found that when my daughter starts to get upset about something having her chew a piece of gum or jump on our mini trampoline helps her to calm down.

  22. Chrystal says:

    I usually ask them to take a cool off for a few minutes and when they can come and TALK to me about it instead of whine, cry, or scream, then I can help them.
    We also gently remind the little ones that we don’t understand “whinese” and they will have to slow down and speak English if they want our help.

  23. I often ask my kiddos “Will you remember this (whatever they are upset about) when you are an adult?” It seems to put it in perspective a bit.

    For myself, I say “People over things!”

  24. One of my kids has some post adoption issues and he gets angry very quickly. We have taught him that when he feels himself getting angry he needs to go to his room until he feels better. When he feels it coming on he just quietly whispers to me that he feels angry and I let him go to his room even if it’s right in the middle of school. It has helped him a lot just to be able to get away and calm down.

  25. I have a six and a five year old who are constantly fighting right now and tempers seem to always be high. In order to make them stop and think before speaking I will say, “Are you hurt? Is someone else hurt?” If the answer to both of those questions are no, then they go to their room and sit on their bed for a few minutes until they can speak calmly to me about the situation. When they are calm I give them the opportunity to “work it out with your brother with your words” before involving me. If they do this, they get a tremendous amount of praise. If not, we solve the problem together. I’ve noticed an increasing amount of choosing to work it out themselves. Yay! Would love to read this book!

  26. We just breathe…big breath in, hold it, and big breath out. It really helps our five year old when her emotions are bigger than her brain!

  27. I would love to be entered.
    We have used a couple things that I have already seen mentioned – deep breaths and also holding the child and praying over them.

  28. I remember a tip I learned from Dr Dobson a long time ago. If you (the parent) get mad and yell, you just lost……. In many ways!

  29. I have found just stopping to say a quick prayer and a deep breath, helps me regain my proper perspective and am trying to teach my little people to do the same. I still blow it at times, but am trying (the the supernatural power of the Holy Sprit and God’s grace) to get better.

  30. We do the deep breaths thing too.

  31. To help my 7 year old deal with his anger, I ask him to go find a quiet place, and rejoin the group (us) when he has calmed down and re-gained his control. It works really well; he knows that he’s not in trouble, and is aware that he does need to calm down, so he is on board with the plan. 🙂

  32. My almost-six-year-old is just starting to learn how to take himself away to “time out” (not as a punishment, but as a means of calming down before he does something he regrets!) It doesn’t always work, but we keep reminding him and I think it helps.

  33. It’s me that needs the help staying calm. The best way so far has been abdominal breathing. When I stay calm through their tantrums, they tend to calm down faster.
    Thanks for this chance Mary.

  34. My just turned 10 year old tends to fly off the handle when things don’t go his way – the best thing I have found is if I stay calm – he will stay calm – I try not to buy into his steam and he sees a person calm so it can’t be all that bad- would love this book

  35. I would love this – I am about to have our 5th, and am finding that I am losing my perspective WAY too often. Our oldest is 10, and I already have many regrets. I having been praying about ways to turn some things around with our kids – not big problems now, but I am concerned about some developing trends. I do try and remind my kids that their most important job as a sibling is to be kind. As for me, these are the people the Lord has directly given me to love, and I need to remember that more often.

  36. I try to think through my kids issue really fast…hungry? thirsty? cold? and see if that is really what we need to address as that problem is the real source of the outburst.

  37. I encourage our kids to be calm and relax once there is an outburst. I know I talk them through remaining calm, but I wish I could actually remember what I do say. I should really pay more attention to my encouragement to them.

  38. My favorite quote is “If had my life to live over, I would pick more daisies”.
    That is my biggest regret is that we let the little stuff take over our lives forgetting the bigger picture–but when emotions are getting out of control take a step back for a moment and then COMMUNICATE.
    Also a popular saying is that when someone dies they don’t wish they had taken more time to work but more time with their families.

  39. I can’t say…My methods seem to vary with the situations. Sometimes kids are arguing over something not that important and I may separate them for a short time or I may talk to each of them and try and get to the bottom of the problem, trying to coach them in better ways of solving problems.

  40. Oh,goodness. I need this book, I really do. I have a 4 yr old and a 1 1/2 yr old, both boys, and most of these type of moments I’m so busy trying to not blow my own stack that I’m not a lot of help to them, and I need to be!

  41. I only have two but they are very different emotionally. I could use some guidance with a sensitive boy and a drama queen.

  42. I use the “big problem-little problem” technique too. I stretch my arms out wide for a big problem or bring my hands in close for a little problem. Most of the time it’s “little problem.” I do, however, have a few dramatists in the family and then everything is a big problem.

    Another technique I use if people are getting their noses bent out of joint, is I take the child who is getting worked up and they have to come be with me wherever I am in the house. It usually works its way to a big hug session. Then when they are calmer, they can rejoin the activity.

  43. I help my children deal with their emotions by telling them to take a deep breath and literally breathe out and in out and in. This works well for the angry outburst child. For my children that take things personally from peers I try to help them understand why people are “mean”. For example, I will tell them that maybe their friend is feeling bad about themselves and is acting differently because of that…in other words, I try to help them look to the root causes of behavior and to develop a little wisdom.

    Jill C. Farris

  44. Take a big breath and let it go slowly…now come sit down and talk to me.

  45. One of mine needs to be held when she’s really upset. When her little body relaxes into mine, I know she’s calming down. It has been like a miracle for this child, but all of our kids are so different!

  46. With our 8, we use the flower/candle breathing. Sniff in through your nose like you’re smelling a flower. Blow out thorough your mouth like you’re blowing out a candle. They usually get so focused on breathing, they calm right down.

    Sometimes we will have the preschoolers sit on one tile on the kitchen floor until they feel they can behave appropriately.

  47. Mainly I just try to remember that it will seem less important in a little bit.

  48. Sometimes, we both just need a “timeout,” when emotions can have a chance to simmer down before dealing with the issue at hand.

  49. We read character trait stories that give positive examples of what I want my kids to do in a ‘lose it’ situation which is stop, take a deep breath and listen (either to the other person or Mom).

    Also liked on FB 🙂

    • I always pause and try not to react. I grew up in a home with a mom who yelled always. I believe she grew up in this kind of home too. So, I have worked very hard to break that type of emotional response. It is not effective and as I child I shut down and lived in fear. My sixteen year old is my emotional reactor and I remind him that his response is not correct and then give him a couple of options of a better way to say what he just said. “Perhaps, a better way of saying this would have been…”. I also try to remind that it is his job to honor his parents and to respect God-given authorities. Teenagers are a different breed but they do need boundaries. 😉

  50. Jessica Roberts says:

    I take a deep breath, try to see my child through eyes of love and see her innocence and the beauty of her becoming a little person. I try to offer her two choices in each situation to help her feel some control and responsibility.