Expert Parenting Advice
Practical parenting tips and advice from experts around the world

Preparing for a cyclone!

Why being proactive in your parenting is so important. And why kids do better when they feel better (and how to proactively help them feel better)

All day today we've been preparing for a big cyclone that is supposed to hit us tomorrow.

Everywhere I read things like "Serious and significant category three storm coming", "monster wave alert", "140km/h plus winds and a month’s worth of rain".

As we grew up far away from the ocean, my husband and I have never experienced big storms or cyclones. So we don't really know what to expect, and it is pretty scary.

So, to make ourselves feel better, we've gone out and bought lots of supplies - food, flashlights, extra batteries, whatever we could think of. We even packed two "go-bags" for in case we need to leave our home urgently.

I believe that being proactive about a potential problem is always better than having to just react. Being prepared means you are much more likely to overcome difficult situations, even if you don't know exactly what is going to happen.

That is a philosophy that is not only true in disaster preparation, but also in other areas of life, including parenting.

When I spoke to Tia Slightham, best-selling author and founder of “Tia Slightham - Parenting Solutions”, for my book "How To Get Kids To Listen", she shared why being proactive in your parenting is so important.

According to Tia, all children have certain emotional needs that they need to fulfill. Tia says you can think of these as "emotional need buckets", and can imagine your child needing to fill these buckets in order to be happy.

Two of the most important "emotional buckets" that children have to fill are their need for control, and their need for attention.

That means that all children want a sense of control and power over their own lives, and all children want attention from their parents.

Here's the problem: if you don't help them to proactively fill these buckets, then they will work to fill it themselves. And if they can't fill their buckets in a positive way, then they will fill them in a negative way.

What we learn as parents is if we fill our kids' buckets first, they don't have to fight to fill them. So, our kids who don't make it ready in the morning, if their emotional needs buckets are on low, by not getting ready, by not listening, by pushing those boundaries, you end up reminding, and nagging, or yelling, or getting frustrated with them.

And our kids learn. "Ooh, amazing. When I don't get ready and I don't listen, I actually get attention and power." Although it's negative, our kids are going to take whatever they can get. And so, what we want to do is we really want to start filling those buckets in advance ahead of this to help our kids do better and feel better.

Tia Slightham

But if we put in place strategies and habits to proactively fill our children's emotional buckets, then they will automatically start doing better. Or as Tia said, "Kids are going to do much better when they feel better."

In my interview with Tia, she shares her favorite technique for proactively filling your children's emotional need buckets of attention and control.

She also shares how to implement this technique without requiring more time or energy, but rather just making a few simple changes to what you are already doing.

You can find my full interview with Tia Slightham - How to parent smarter, not harder - here.