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

Sick kids suck

A simple habit for building a stronger connection and relationship with your child every day.

It sucks when your kids are sick, doesn't it?

Last night, my 4 year old daughter was up from 10pm to 2am, crying because her ear was sore.

"I don't want to be sad, but it is so difficult," she told me while crying about her ear pain.

I wished her pain away with all my might, but wishing doesn't help. It is just so difficult to see your kid suffering, and not being able to do anything about it.

And it is not just when they are sick. I just hate to see my kids struggle. Everything in me wants to solve their problems for them, to take away their pain, to make life easy for them.

But...our struggles make us who we are. Taking away all of someone's problems is unfair to them, because you take away their chance to grow and develop themselves.

Bad things will happen no matter how much you protect your children. Your goal as parent is to teach your kids how to respond when things go bad.

Dr. Beth Trammell, a licensed psychologist and Associate Professor of Psychology, spoke about this when I interviewed her for our book How To Get Kids To Listen:

I always come back to that first part, that parenting is about guiding and teaching. We tend to see parenting, at least in the US especially, like, “Parenting is about protecting them from all the bad things that could happen.”

And I don’t talk about it that way because I actually don’t think that that’s helpful. When they become grownups, we’re not going to be able to protect them forever. Instead, we’ve got to guide them and teach them how to make smart decisions and how to respond when bad things happen.

Because bad things are going to happen, and we’ve got to teach them how to respond. That includes things like out loud communication about the things that are going on in our mind so that we can guide and teach our kids. And we don’t tend to do that unless we’re really intentional about doing it.

Dr. Beth Trammell

But, in order for your child to trust you to guide them when bad things happen, you need to focus on building a connection with them when things are going well.

In our interview, Dr. Trammell shares one powerful technique for building a stronger connection and relationship with your child. She calls this technique Pairing, and it is a behavioral habit that you can use to improve your relationship with your child every day.

In the interview, she explains how to use Pairing, and she shares a free video teaching how to use this technique.