Rock Parenting Series | Positive Parent-Child Interaction

Hi parents!

How is your week going? Are you ready to find out how to rock parenting?! Let’s dive right in.

If you haven’t already done so, you can read the introduction to this series here.
This post is full of super useful information, so grab your caffeine and let’s get started!

Today I am going to introduce you to the Parenting Pyramid, which will be the foundation for this series. I was introduced to the Parenting Pyramid when I was getting trained as a Triple P (Positive Parenting Series) provider. It was then again shown to me by a psychologist. The pyramids were a little different but the underlying theme was exactly the same. So based on both of these pyramids, I designed my own parenting pyramid. Here is the parenting pyramid that I created:

You can print a .pdf version of this pyramid here.

The key to this pyramid is that you want to spend most of your time in the bottom half of the pyramid. What does positive parent-child interaction look like? We will dive more into that in a minute but for introduction purposes, just know that this is where you want to spend most of your time. The theory behind the pyramid is that if you spend most of your time in the bottom half of the pyramid, you won’t have to spend so much time in the top half. Kids want positive interaction with their parents. They crave it. Take a minute and think back to when you were a kid. Did you not want positive attention from your parents? A lot of kids act up because they need your positive attention. I totally get that life gets busy and it is hard to constantly give your kids attention, but you can carve out some time each day to do this. I promise it pays off.

So, let’s get into what positive parent-child interaction looks like. When you are positively interacting with your children, you are doing the following:
Descriptive Praise
Descriptive praise is just that – it is praise that is descriptive. Let’s say your child builds a tower. To a child, there is more power in saying “Great job building that tower!” versus just saying “Great job.” Be descriptive and make sure you find opportunities to praise them. Kids love hearing that they are doing a great job. Heck, I like hearing that I’m doing a great job. 

Positive Attention
When you give your child attention, you want to make sure that it is positive. Last night, after bath time, my 2 older boys wanted to watch a movie. I put my baby down for bed and put on a movie for the other 2. I thought, “Hey, this is a great time to work on my parenting series.” Quinn, my 3 year-old, however, had other ideas. He started climbing all over me and acting crazy. I could have gotten mad and started yelling and put him in time out which would have taken a lot of time and would have been a negative situation, but guys, he just wanted attention! I put the computer down, and said in a calm voice, “Quinn, why are you climbing all over mommy?” He said “I want to snuggle you.” So I snuggled him for a little bit and then he got up and went over to play by his brother. Which one was a more positive experience that showed Quinn that he was more important to me? Both would have taken the same amount of time, but I was able to have that positive experience with him.

One thing that I want to focus on is Special Play with your child. You can print out instructions on how to do this here (I had to scan it in so there are 2 pages – front & back). Special Play is all about letting your child direct the play. Download and use the guidelines as you set aside time to play with your children. One thing that I want to point out on this is that your child is the one who directs the play, not you. That means that if your child wants to play dolls, you play dolls. If he or she wants you to be the baby, you be the baby. Another important thing to note is that you look at, touch, smile at and laugh with your child. Basically you are having a lot of positive interaction. Read with your child also! Read, read, and read some more! Reading and child-directed play (Special Play) are great forms of giving your child positive attention.

Even if you take 20 minutes every day to give your child positive attention using these guidelines, the payoff will be tremendous!
Talking With Your Child
It is so important to talk with your child… a lot. Let your child guide the conversation. There was a study done at Stanford University by Fernald in 2013 that showed that if a child has limited exposure to many different words during their first 18 months of life, then the development of their language processing and vocabulary skills are greatly hindered. This causes speech development delays as early as 18 months of age. You can read the study here.

Here are some ideas of how to talk to your child:

-When you are in the car, turn off the radio! You have a captive audience. Talk about things around you, the colors they see, what happened that day. Ask questions and make sure you let them answer!

-Go on a walk and talk to them about all the different things they see in nature.

-Talk in the grocery store.

-Put them in your lap and talk

There are so many opportunities throughout the day to talk with your child. Take advantage of these opportunities!

Interesting Activities
Next, “make sure you have interesting activities.” I once heard a saying that “A bored child is a naughty child.” I don’t really like this saying because I don’t believe that any child is necessarily naughty. Sometimes they make bad choices, but they are not naughty. But a bored child might make bad decisions. This is why it is so important to make sure that your children have interesting activities. In our house, we have a play room upstairs and a play corner downstairs. Both are stocked with books, toys, puzzles and other activities to keep our boys attention. We also have several activities to do outside (sand box, trampoline, etc) for those nice days. Make sure they have engaging activities. This will cut down on unacceptable behavior.

Incidental Teaching
Incidental teaching is all about taking advantage of those teaching moments. There are so many teaching moments in everyday that we as parents can take advantage of. Just tonight, Kirby (my 6 year-old) spilled toothpaste in the drawer while he was brushing his teeth before bed. He came out of the bathroom and said “Mom, I accidentally spilled toothpaste in the drawer.” This could have gone 2 ways: I could have gotten upset and cleaned up the mess and that would have been that. Or I could calmly and lovingly teach Kirby that it is ok to make mistakes and that we just need to make sure that we clean them up. Which one is going to teach Kirby? Scolding him for making a mistake is just going to make him feel bad. Instead, I decided to turn the situation into a positive teaching experience. Now he knows when a mess is made that it needs to be cleaned up.

Showing Affection
There are several studies that show how important showing affection is to children. Making eye contact, giving hugs, rubbing their back, telling your child that you love them. These are all so important for a child to know that they are loved and cared for, which, in turn, will help decrease behavior problems. I absolutely love to snuggle my boys when it is time for nap. We snuggle, give kisses and say “I love you” before they fall asleep every day. It melts my heart when Quinn snuggles up to me and say “I love you mommy.” Even with babies, it is so important that positive affection is shown. I love to give Brexton (my 9 month-old) a lot of kisses, snuggles, smiles and “I love you”’s. It is extremely important that kids know that they are loved from an early age.

Behavior Charts
Behavior charts are a great way to reinforce positive behavior. You can find so many great behavior charts on Pinterest. Once you print the behavior chart, sit down with your child(ren) and let them know how they can earn stickers on their charts. Let them know the reward for filling up their charts. Also, make sure that the goal is attainable and that you leave plenty of room for positive praise. For example, if you make it that they have to clean up their toys every day for 3 weeks before they can get a prize, they will be less likely to stick with it because it is not as attainable as something such as cleaning up their toys for 3 days. The shorter amount of time allows for positive praise and will reinforce the behavior (picking up their toys). One more thing to note about behavior charts is you don’t want to have too many activities on the chart. 2-4 activities that your child(ren) can earn stickers for is plenty. If you have too many activities, your child will feel overwhelmed and the chart will not be as effective. Pick the most important tasks and stick with those. Once they have earned the stickers, make sure they get their prize.


So there you have it. That is the essentials of the bottom of the pyramid. A lot of positive interaction with your child will really cut down on the amount of time that you need to discipline and correct your child(ren).

In the next two posts, we will cover the top part of the pyramid – what to do when you need to discipline or correct your child. I will give you two different methods that have proven effective with most parents. I will also show you video of exactly how to do this! Make sure to subscribe at the top of this page so that you can be notified when new posts are published!

What are your favorite ways to spend positive time with your child?

Also, make sure you head over and like my “That Mom Life” Facebook page for discussion on these topics.

I can’t wait to hear your positive experiences with your kiddos! Have a great week everyone!


Quinn’s Story

Hey everyone,

Today, I wanted to write about something that I have a really hard time talking about or even thinking about. But, 1) it is good for me to get it out and 2) I write a lot about Quinn’s doctor’s appointments, etc. so you might be wondering what happened. It’s a very dense post so grab your drink…

It all started when I weaned Quinn from breastfeeding. His tummy started to get distended. We thought it might be a milk allergy so we switched him to almond milk. It seemed to help a little but his tummy was still quite big. We took him to an appointment and they found that his hemoglobin level was low. We took him to a GI specialist and a blood specialist and we couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him. Fast forward a year, and he had just turned 2. It was Easter Sunday, I was 5 months pregnant with Brexton, and we were over at my in-laws for Easter dinner. We were just hanging out playing and Quinn went up to my mother-in-law and said “Owie” and pointed to his throat. My mother-in-law picked him up to give his “owie” a kiss. He then lost all color, went limp and started turning blue. My in-laws live 30 minutes away from the closest hospital so we jumped in the van. I had no shoes on and Quinn was only in a diaper. I had no diaper bag or purse or phone. We left Kirby with my mother-in-law. My husband and father-in-law are both firefighters so while my husband was driving, my father-in-law was working on Quinn in the back seat. I sat in the front seat just a mess, praying out loud that my baby would be ok.

We made it to the hospital and Quinn’s color started to come back and he started to respond a little bit. All of his vitals came back ok and they were getting ready to discharge us. He then started to throw up a lot of blood. They rushed him into a different room, started the IVs and called in a helicopter. They told me that my little momma’s boy baby was going to be medflighted to Rochester, MN. They told us that we would not be able to go with him. As if I wasn’t freaking out enough, this freaked me out even more. My baby had to go on a helicopter with complete strangers by himself. Even as I write this, I get tears in my eyes. I have never prayed so hard in my life as I did at that moment. I prayed that my little boy would be comforted in the scary time. I sat on the chair in the room, while Seth stayed by Quinn and sobbed hysterically. My sweet father-in-law asked the nurse for a wet washcloth and wiped the blood off of my feet and arm. At this point, my mother-in-law showed up with Kirby and brought the diaper bag and my phone. After they took Quinn to get him on the helicopter, my mother-in-law drove Seth and I to Rochester, the longest 2 hour drive of my life.

When we got to the hospital we practically ran to the front desk where they told us that Quinn was in the pediatric ICU and told us how to get there. When we walked into the room, he was sitting on a nurses lap, screaming, while they took blood samples. We talked to a doctor until they were done and I grabbed my baby and held him close. They still didn’t know what was going on but they hooked him up to machines and were going to run tests the next day. He threw up blood two more times that night. The next day, they put him under and scoped his esophagus and found that he had esophageal varices and that one had ruptured, causing him to bleed internally. They did a couple more tests – a CT scan and an ultrasound and found that he has a blood clot in the Portal Vein that leads to his liver. This caused veins to grow throughout his body to compensate for that clot. One of the places that they grew was in his esophagus. Something happened and he knicked one of those veins causing him to bleed internally. The doctors were able to band the two biggest varices while they were scoping. While in the hospital, Quinn had to have two blood transfusions as his hemoglobin levels had dropped so low. We met with a surgeon and were told that there was a surgery that they could try where they would take a vein from somewhere else in Quinn’s body and attach it to the liver so that it would essentially bypass the portal vein and allow blood to flow into his liver. We were in the ICU for three days and then were moved to the regular pediatric floor.

When we got home, we had to have two adults with Quinn at all times in case he had another episode. That way if something did happen then someone would be able to drive to the hospital and the other person would be able to hold Quinn. He was on a strict diet of only soft foods so that the bands on his varices wouldn’t fall off. We had to stay close to our hospital as they stocked the medication that he would need if he had another episode. If was a very scary two months before his surgery. I was obviously very worried about Quinn, but I was also worried about how all the stress would affect my unborn baby (Brexton). I was also worried about how everything would affect Kirby.

Quinn had a couple more procedures done in those two months between the first hospital visit and his surgery. One was to band a couple more varices and the other was to inject die in his sides to see how the blood was flowing through his veins so that they could have a good idea of what was going on before they went in for the surgery.

On June 15, 2017, Quinn underwent a 7 hour operation. I have never been so anxious and scared in all my life. The surgery ended up being successful! He did have another blood transfusion while in surgery. We stayed in the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit) for 3 days while they monitored his progress. They had to take blood 3-4 times a day to monitor his hemoglobin levels. When he was in surgery, they had to catheter him. They had to leave this in for a couple of days so that they could monitor his urine levels. They took out the catheter, but Quinn was not able to pee on his own so they had to catheter him two more times during the night. After the second time that he was cathed, they came in to take blood. He cried so hard that he peed on his own. I felt so helpless and wanted to scream for them to leave my baby alone. But, I knew that this was helping him and that it was what was best for him. So, I prayed and prayed and prayed for him to be comforted through this whole ordeal. After 3 days in the PICU, we were transferred to the regular pediatric floor. They slowly started introducing fluids and foods and he was so excited to be able to eat and drink again.

After 7 total days in the hospital, we were released to go home. Quinn had to have shots (blood thinners) twice a day in the stomach. Seth was such a trooper giving these shots to him. So on top of a huge cut in his tummy, he now had bruises as well. Quinn recovered so well and only had to take Tylenol for the pain.

Today, Quinn is doing well and his shunt is open and blood is flowing well into his liver. There were and are SO many prayers offered for little Quinn and for our family during this difficult time and I absolutely know that it is because of those prayers that Quinn is doing so well and Brexton is here healthy and happy.

This was by far the hardest time in my life. To watch your baby go through something like that and not be able to help them is awful. I prayed so much during this trial and I know that Heavenly Father answered my prayers, and continues to answer our prayers. It is because of these answered prayers that we are able to make it through this trial. We have seen so many blessings and miracles during this difficult time. I am beyond grateful that I still get to hug and kiss my little boy each day. I thank my Heavenly Father every day. To play with him and sing songs with him. Being a mom is not easy, but I have never done anything in my life more worth it. To all three of my babies, I love you more than you will ever know. You are my heart and soul. Xoxo.