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

How a tangled mess turned into a wonderful connection opportunity

Why sometimes the most difficult parenting situations are the best opportunities to teach and connect with your child.

My 4-year-old daughter has lovely long, flowing, blond hair.

Only problem...until recently her hair was a tangled mess.

That's because she absolutely refused to allow anyone to comb her hair.

So, it just kept getting more and more tangled.

It got to a point where dropping her off at preschool was...embarrassing. It felt like all the other moms were judging me for my daughter's wild hair.

Finally, I decided that I needed professional help. So a few weeks ago, I took her to my hairdresser and begged him to help.

He was busy for about 20 minutes. Then he called me over. "Sorry ma'am, I can't help you. This is going to take hours."

Then he gave me his "special mix" of hair untangling product, and sternly told us to spend at least 20 minutes each night brushing it through her hair.

The "special mix", combined with the stern instructions, finally convinced my daughter to allow me to comb her hair.

So for the past few weeks, we have been spending 20 minutes each night, working on her hair.

And finally, I can now hold my head high when dropping her off at kindy.

But what is even better is that my daughter and I now have a special thing that we do each evening. We have our "special time". She looks through my jewelry box, and I brush her hair.

It is something that she looks forward to. She reminds me when it is "time for our special time."

I just love it when challenges turn into opportunities. When things we struggle with become the reason for improvement.

This is something that Dr. Jenny Michaelson also spoke about when I recently interviewed her.

Our job as parents is to identify what skills our kids need to develop and to help them develop them. So as difficult as it is in the moment to have to deal with, "Okay, I really just wanted to like transition to dinner and eat and move on to bedtime and put these kids to bed."

Every one of those challenging moments is an opportunity for skill building for our kids. If we can think of it in that way, sometimes it can then be a little bit less frustrating.

Dr. Jenny Michaelson

In our interview, Dr. Jenny shares how to turn difficult transitions, like when your child is really into what they are doing and doesn't want to stop in order to do what you want them to do, into learning opportunities for them.

She shares why the moments when they are most resistant to doing what you want are the best moments to teach them how to build emotional resilience.

But she also shares 3 simple tips for making these difficult transitions easier, and a mindset that you can use to stay calm when you see your child is going to struggle to transition and cooperate.