A Calmer and More Peaceful Home – it IS possible – here is how

There is hope.

There is help.

calm dad yellIn fact, you can take your first step, today, towards a calmer home, easier relationships with your children,  and a happier life. We have group sessions at our Williamsburg Office, you can book me as a speaker at your event, group or PTA, you can register for an upcoming teleclass, or you can buy a telecoaching session – even if you have taken classes before or heard me speak – parents can always use a “tune up.” Click here to view upcoming coaching sessions.

AmandaDeverichAbout Amanda Deverich, LMFT, NCC Marriage & Family Therapist and Professional Counselor 757-903-2406

Amanda draws upon formal counseling theory and education, on the job training and personal life experience.  She is skilled in structural family therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and Christian counseling. After earning her graduate degree from The College of William & Mary, she sought out the London-based creator of the parenting program, Noël Janis-Norton, to be personally trained by her. She used the Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting methods in her own home for over 15 years – and parent after parent that she has worked with say the methods changed their lives. These methods WORK!

Playdates look like FIGHTdates?

Playdates teach social skills, and are rarely “Me” time spent chatting with your friend. They require plenty of patience, calm, and conscientiousness to run smoothly. Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting believes in fostering life skills through positive reinforcement. Today, we discuss snatching.

snatch calm

When your preschooler child snatches a toy from his playmate, you must resist the urge to lecture, take the toy away, give him a time out, or send his visitor home. Negative approaches might curb the behavior (for the moment), but since you’re doing all the thinking and the enforcing, your little guy learns nothing about how to get along in the future. And, if all he hears is reprimands, he’ll tune you out.

Instead, take a calmer, more positive approach, one that encourages him to think for himself and sets the stage for problem solving in the future:

  • Prepare for Success, by using Think Throughs, several days before the playdate, complete with the consequence of what will happen if he doesn’t follow the rules. At a neutral time, ask what the playdate will be like. What are the rules? Listen to the child’s response. Descriptively Praise every right answer. This encourages the child to think about and visualize themselves sharing and taking turns. This Think Through tool gets children thinking about the right thing to do, before they’ve done it, while they still actually have a chance to influence their own behavior for the best.
  • Use Descriptive Praise when he takes turns or resists his impulsive urges to yank the toy away. It is especially important to Descriptively Praise if your child is having a difficult time and you are working on changing behavior. Notice even small steps in the right direction. Descriptively Praising to another adult (the other parent at dinner, for instance) is particularly powerful.
  • Use Reflective Listening if he is crying or lashing out. “I wonder if that is your favorite toy? You might not want to share!” You, also, might want to take the opportunity to increase emotional intelligence and take steps to prevent potential bulling, in the future, by asking him, “Do you think that makes Jake feel happy or sad?” The goal, of course, is for him to refrain from lashing out, not because he’s afraid of getting in trouble, but because he understands that it causes another pain. This may, also, help your child acknowledge his playmate’s feelings and encourages a growing sense of empathy. Be sure to keep your words short and your patience long.
  • Use Descriptive Praise, again, when he gets it right, even if he gives back the toy, begrudgingly. Tell him why it was a good thing, “You are taking turns and that makes Johnny want to play with you, again. Sharing makes you a good friend.”
  • Enforce the rule if the child if the child is too emotional to cooperate. If you have been good about Preparing for Success, Descriptively Praising, and Reflective Listening, you have a good chance at cooperation. However, if your child is not able to be cooperative, follow through with the consequence.

Descriptive Praise is the number one motivator for children. Consequences should be the last resort. Taking your child out of teachable moments because he is an impulsive toddler isn’t the way to parent positively. Children want to hear your happy voice, singing their praises. Use this to your advantage: notice them getting it right, every time – especially if you are having difficulty with impulsive behavior.

Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting has an upcoming class – register here


Amanda DeverichAbout Amanda Deverich, 
LMFT, NCC Marriage & Family Therapist and Professional Counselor 757-903-2406

Amanda draws upon formal counseling theory and education, on the job training and personal life experience.  She is skilled in structural family therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and Christian counseling. After earning her graduate degree from The College of William & Mary, she sought out the London-based creator of the parenting program, Noël Janis-Norton, to be personally trained by her. She used the Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting methods in her own home for over 15 years – and parent after parent that she has worked with say the methods changed their lives. These methods WORK!

Give your child a vision of who he COULD be

Remaining calm typically comes from having a familiar strategy or having a vision. Having a parenting vision and the tools to achieve that vision makes your family life calmer. Giving your child a vision helps them become better, calmer, and more reasonable in times of stress. In fact, vision makes all the difference in the world. In the Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting approach, Descriptive Praise is the most effective motivator we know.

Catch your child doing it right to help him create a different view of himself

Catch your child doing it right to help him create a different view of himself

To motivate him, CATCH your child, with Descriptive Praise, when he gets it right, because Descriptive Praise means noticing and mentioning everything your child does that is right, even if the behavior is only heading in the right direction. In fact, a running commentary of everything they do that is just “okay” can make all the difference in the world. Why?

We use Descriptive Praise for any behavioral problem, including biting. Reminding, nagging, and harping aren’t working; it just gives the biting more attention and does not teach the child what he should be doing. Secondly, we need to understand that learning to behave properly is a long process, so if we Descriptively Praise little steps in the right direction – for example saying “You didn’t bite!” – more incidents of no biting will follow.

Ask any child: lots of positive compliments said by a smiling parent that likes you goes so much further than a parent who nags, yells or repeats. After all, having a plan and a vision for your family life is crucial during times of stress and the calm results in a happier home life. Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting – it is a lifestyle – and there IS hope – click here to register for an upcoming coaching class. Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting in Williamsburg has a session on Descriptive Praise coming up on July 24th.


amanda deverich profile photoAbout Amanda Deverich, 
LMFT, NCC Marriage & Family Therapist and Professional Counselor 757-903-2406

Amanda draws upon formal counseling theory and education, on the job training and personal life experience.  She is skilled in structural family therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and Christian counseling. After earning her graduate degree from The College of William & Mary, she sought out the London-based creator of the parenting program, Noël Janis-Norton, to be personally trained by her. She used the Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting methods in her own home for over 15 years – and parent after parent that she has worked with say the methods changed their lives. These methods WORK!

Can You Just Bite Your Child Back?

No! You may not bite your child. This may seem odd to have to write for some readers, but quite a few have tried the technique with the good intention that the bite will teach the offending child empathy or at least a very clear cut, equal, and fitting punishment. Biting must be stopped, of course, but you won’t stop it by stooping to your child’s level. Aggressive acts stop when you, the adult, stop them. When parents are faced with situations like these, they feel helpless, alone, and embarrassed. Most often, parents feel poorly because they don’t know what to do that actually works! Taking a Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting course is the first step to learning new skills to deal with similar situations, and to meet other parents just like yourself that face situations like these, every day.

When a child is bitten, first tend to that child

When a child is bitten, first tend to that child

If your child just isn’t moving past the biting stage (very normal, by the way), instantly remove your child’s teeth from his victim’s flesh, show concern for the child who’s been hurt, acknowledge both parties’ feelings, and, as your child’s verbal skills grow, help him learn to negotiate with words rather than aggression. The Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting approach would look like this:

  • Establish the rule: No Biting.
  • Use lots of “Think Throughs,” (part of the Preparing for Success technique), asked at a neutral time before and outside of biting incidents. Be sure part of Preparing for Success includes coaching for other ways to handle the urge to bite.
  • Use Descriptive Praise anytime that your child uses his words rather than biting or appropriately handles his feelings.
  • If a bite occurs, go to the wounded child. Demonstrate care and concern for the bitten toddler by checking the wound site, saying something kind, and take responsibility by speaking to the other parent.
  • Turn to your child. Be calm. Be curious of why the child is biting and help him understand his feelings through Reflective Listening.
  • Calmly follow through with an age-appropriate Consequence.

I will be addressing each one of these positive-approach methods, mentioned above, in my upcoming courses. Register Here.

amanda deverich profile photoAbout Amanda Deverich, LMFT, NCC Marriage & Family Therapist and Professional Counselor 757-903-2406

Amanda draws upon formal counseling theory and education, on the job training and personal life experience.  She is skilled in structural family therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and Christian counseling. After earning her graduate degree from The College of William & Mary, she sought out the London-based creator of the parenting program, Noël Janis-Norton, to be personally trained by her. She used the Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting methods in her own home for over 15 years – and parent after parent that she has worked with say the methods changed their lives. These methods WORK!

No Perfect Parent

I admit, I had to look up who Edwin Bliss was.  (He was a broadcaster, journalist, and news editor.  If you would like to learn more please check it out and let us know in the comments below. :)) Anyway, his quote is right on for parenting. As a marriage and family therapist who has dedicated her life to helping families, I can verify, there is no greater recipe for misery than the ultimate pursuit of perfection.

Perfectionists are hard to live with.  Not only are they hard on themselves, they are hard on you!  Their standards are ever elevating and a perfectionist parent could find their standards in a particular state of confusion in today's world.  Are we classical or free flowing?  Do we sell our souls and childhood in pursuit of academic excellence? Or, do we dedicate our hearts to developing empathy and emotional intelligence?

I do not have the answer for parents.  The culture is continually rewriting the standard.  Parents must author their own destinies- and even then, their is always the wild card of the will and temperament of the child. 

Nonetheless, there is tradition and a community within which most of us must thrive.  There is also behavioral science which has adapted and grown to redefine normal and offers methodology to improve the way we live and relate. 

I hope you will spend some time here learning, sharing, and supporting as we master parenting.

-Amanda