Why Do We Hate Anger and Sadness So Much?

As parent’s we’re often triggered by our child’s anger or sadness. How can you overcome this to best meet your child’s needs and give them the tools they need to appropriately address these emotions throughout their life?


Anger and sadness-these are two emotions that everyone experiences daily. So why are they so hated? As parents we’re often triggered by our child’s anger or sadness, and when we don’t recognize or address this, we use four responses over and over in relation to our child’s emotions.

  1. Dismiss– we ignore or dismiss our child’s feelings. Telling them they’re fine and that what they’re feeling isn’t actually valid or worthy of any attention/help.
  2. Distract– we try to stop our child from feeling whatever negative emotion they’re experiencing as quickly as possible. We put on the TV, we talk but don’t listen, we try to start fun new games, or we offer them toys and food to appease them.
  3. Punish– we punish our child for having emotions by yelling, spanking, shaming, revoking privileges, removing toys, or using time outs.
  4. Give in– we give in to the limit or boundary we originally set. We let them continue watching a show we said was all done, or we don’t make them hold our hand in the parking lot like we had asked.

Each of these responses to a child’s feelings does nothing to help them the next time they encounter a negative emotion. Dismissing, distracting, punishing, and giving in to our child only serves to harm them in the long run.

Dismissing and punishing children for experiencing anger and sadness lets them know you are not to be trusted with their feelings. It tells them that they are only worthy of attention and love from you when they’re experiencing positive emotions. Children who are dismissed and punished often for expressing and experiencing negative emotions, learn to bottle these emotions up or to push them aside. It also puts doubt and shame into a child about believing what their mind and body is telling them. Were they really angry? Was it not okay to be sad because they were told they had to leave the park? Are they a bad person for feeling this way?

Distracting and giving into a child when they experience anger and sadness lets them know that these emotions should not be felt, or if they are felt they should be quickly resolved/diverted. Instead of a child learning to use the tools they possess within themselves to manage these emotions, they are taught to find material things or use experiences to mask or temporarily resolve these feelings.

These responses to anger and sadness do nothing to benefit children in the long run. They do not teach children problem solving skills, compassion, empathy, dealing with change, being happy on their own, resilience, listening skills, communication, trusting themselves, understanding their mind and body, decision making, and negotiation…honestly the list could go on and on.

Now you know what not to do when you’re child is experiencing negative emotions, so what do you do instead? The answer is simple, you stay and you listen. You sit by your child or with your child, whatever they consent to, and you stay and you listen to them express all the hurt they’re feeling inside. You let them experience the anger and sadness they are feeling, you let them sit with these big emotions, you let them release these emotions, and you let them know you are here for them while they work through it. You could say, “I hear you’re having a tough time” or “I know it’s hard to wait for that toy” or “It’s okay to feel this way” or “I’m here for you”. Be there with them while they work through it, let them cry, let them yell, let them do what they need to do as long as they’re being safe to themselves and others. And when they’re calm and feeling better, talk with them if they’re ready. Ask them about what they were feeling, ask them why they were feeling that way. Let them think about those emotions and sit with them, together come up with ways they can communicate and express these emotions next time they arise. Problem solve together, listen together, communicate together, and let them know that it’s okay to feel this way and these negative feelings are just as valid as the positive ones.

Children are going to grow into adults who will encounter anger and sadness for the rest of their lives. Why do so many adults struggle to express these emotions in healthy ways? Why do they mask their feelings with addiction, or feel shame when they have negative emotions? It’s because they’ve been taught from a young age that to feel negative emotion is in itself a negative thing. Let your children know that that is not true. Happiness is not happiness without the experience of sadness, and joy is not joy without the experience of anger. Give your children the tools they need now to appropriately navigate negative emotions for the rest of their lives.


Parenting So Children Want to do the Right Thing

I want my children to do the right thing because they want to, not because they have to. Here’s how you can help your children want to do the right thing as well.

Children have a lot to learn from their parents and caregivers. Perhaps the most important lesson we can teach them is learning to do the right thing because they want to, not because they feel that they have to. This means that instead of punishing or shaming your children for “bad” behaviours, you talk to them. No shame, no yelling, no punishment, no threats, just communication.

I know it is hard to shift away from the belief that punishment is the right course of action for undesirable behaviour, but think for a second about what you are teaching a child when you punish them for “bad” behaviours. You are teaching them that they should do the right thing not because it is what they want to do, but because of the consequences they will receive. This not only gives children an ulterior motive to doing the right thing, but sets them up to be dependent upon adult approval. I’ve seen children who act one way around adults only to act the complete opposite once they are out of sight. I’ve also seen children so desperate for the approval of adults and afraid of punishment, that they will go to great lengths to achieve this by constant tattle tailing, lying, and blaming of others for their behaviours.

So what should you do the next time your child throws a toy, hits their sibling, or purposely defies what you have said?

  • Keep calm and take a deep breath-it’s hard to communicate with our children when we aren’t calm ourselves.
  • Stop the undesired behaviour– especially if it an issue of safety.
  • Stay firm on the boundary you have set- I.e “I can’t let you hit your brother,” “I need to hold your hand on the road to keep you safe.”
  • Help your child come back to a place of calm and be prepared to listen to their big emotions- I.e “I’m here for you” “I hear that you are having a tough time,” “I know it’s hard when you can’t do what you want.”
  • Talk it through with your child when they are ready. Keep it simple!- Name the behaviour they displayed, explain why it wasn’t okay, teach them what to do next time. I.e “the reason mummy said you can’t hit your brother is because it hurts him and doesn’t make him feel safe. He likes gentle touches,” “We don’t throw toys when we are frustrated because they could  break or hurt someone, instead we could move away to calm down or ask for help from an adult,” “I had to stop you from riding your scooter because you kept going onto the road and that wasn’t safe. When we are ready to be safe on the sidewalk we can ride it again”

By doing this you aren’t letting your child get away with “bad” behaviours, instead you are letting them know that you are there for them, and that it’s normal to make mistakes and have emotions. You are also providing them with the appropriate tools to use next time similar problems arise. This way your child will know how to safely and appropriately deal with emotions and feelings, and understand why certain things are okay and not okay to do.

It may be hard to move away from a cycle of punishment and shame for your child’s undesired behaviours. I know I struggle daily to move away from these parenting techniques, especially as these can provide the quickest changes to your child’s behaviour. But I always try to remember, when I hear my voice rising or a threat come out of my mouth, that the only thing I am doing when I parent this way is letting my children know that it is not okay to make mistakes, to hide their mistakes from me, and to do the right thing out of obligation and the fear of consequences. When I parent through punishment I am not giving my child the tools needed to deal with difficult situations or emotions. Nor am I setting them up to think for themselves and problem solve to discover the right thing to do on their own when they’re older. I know I do not want my sons, when they’re teens, to only do the right thing when it benefits themselves. I also don’t want them to hide their mistakes from me, nor do I want them pressured into doing things because they seek the approval of others. I want them to do the right thing because they want to, and because they were provided the appropriate tools to problem solve and deal with tricky situations when they were younger. It all starts in these early years.

Snow Activities for Kids When You Feel Like You’ve Done Them All

If you live in a place where there is snow for more than 5+ months of the year, then you probably feel like you’ve done all the snow activities you can and are now itching for spring, I feel you. But we all know mother nature doesn’t care about our feelings, so here’s a list of alternative snow activities to keep your little ones busy that you may not have tried yet.

Snow Bridges

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Do you have high snowbanks everywhere you look? Well this is the perfect activity to try.  Just get some planks of wood and lay them across the banks. Your children will have hours of fun walking the bridges, trying to balance, or jumping off. I also whipped up a quick ladder for my three year old to climb up the snowbanks to access a bridge over five and a half feet high. He loved it!

Maple Syrup Taffyhoney-sweet-syrup-organic.jpg

This is an activity adults and kids alike will love. Bring maple syrup to a boil over medium-high heat until it reads 115  degrees Celsius on a candy thermometer, or if you don’t have a thermometer you can eyeball it and once it starts to thicken test it on the snow (about ten mins, careful not to let it burn). If it’s too hard stir in some water, if it’s too soft boil for a little longer. If you trust your kids to be safe enough around boiling syrup give them a small cup each to pour onto clean snow (you can put snow in a container to make it easier). You can make patterns and pictures, or pour it onto Popsicle sticks to make taffy lollipops.

Snow Paint 


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Make your own cheap snow paint. You can use tempura paint mixed with water, food colouring, or I’ve also used ground chalk before and it works just as well. Find some old spray bottles or even water guns and fill them with the paint mixture. Your kids will have a great time spraying the snow and making art outdoors. If you’re in a place where it’s cold enough to freeze up the spray bottle try using hot water or a drop or two of vodka to stop freezing.

Treasure Hunt

What kid doesn’t like searching for treasure? Hide treasures among the snow and let your kids have a blast trying to find them. If your children are a bit older try turning it into a scavenger treasure hunt with clues that lead to the treasure.

Ice Chipping For Treasure                 


Fill a big container with water (and food colouring for some added fun!), and drop in some “treasures” (I used toys, marbles, coins, and nuts and bolts). Leave it overnight to freeze and take it out the next day. Let your kids go to town on the ice block with hammers or whatever else you think they’d enjoy using to find the “treasures”. I put a giant T-Rex into our ice block and told my three year old it needed rescuing. He loved this activity, mostly because he was allowed to use his hammer to actually smash something.

Target Practice

If you are bored of plain old snowball fights try a target practice game using snowballs. You can set up toys (we’ve used playmobil people, dinosaurs, and cars) and try to knock them down. You can set up bottles filled with coloured water that sprays out when hit. You can also build a snowman and see how much damage you can do to it with snowballs, honestly the ideas are limitless with this one.


Fill up a cup with compacted snow and pour over some juice or cordial. My boys really enjoy this special treat, especially in outdoor hot tubs.

Ice Building Blocks                 


Use whatever big and small containers you can think of and fill them up with water. Leave them all out overnight to freeze and let your child have hours of fun building outside with their own set of ice building blocks.




The Ten Commandments of Skiing with a Toddler

Skiing with a toddler can be an interesting experience. Here are ten commandments to follow for a good ski day with little ones.

  1. Thou shalt pack many a yummy snack
  2. Thou shalt ensure toddler’s toes and hands are always warm and toasty
  3. Thou shalt be ready for a range of emotions from toddler
  4. Thou shalt remember even one run is a day well spent with your toddler
  5. Thou shalt promise toddler hot chocolate in ski lodge in times of need
  6. Thou shalt be toddlers source of comfort in times of frustration or falls
  7. Thou shalt feed toddler often
  8. Thou shalt bring many a tissue for runny noses
  9. Thou shalt remember toddlers are fast when not attached to harness
  10. Thou shalt remember the number one goal is to have fun


I took my first skiing at 16 months a couple of times and just took my second for the first time the other day at 18 months. He loved it and signed more when we reached the bottom. My three year old is now whizzing down and enjoys his ski days with me. I love sharing my love of skiing with both of them. There’s no right age to start!

The Strength in Peace

Permissive, weak, no discipline, no boundaries, coddling. I’ve heard all these in response to the idea of peaceful parenting. But in fact it takes the strongest of people to stay calm in the eye of the storm. There is nothing weak about meeting a child with love and compassion in their worst moments. Sometimes it would be so easy to yell or punish, but putting in the hard work during these early years will pay off in the years to come. I truly believe peaceful parenting takes the strongest of people. I know I am constantly slipping up and in my weak moments I try to remember what is at stake, the well-being of two beautiful souls who need my help to guide them through the world.

Here’s some reasons why those who use peaceful parenting are the strongest and most determined people:

  1. You are putting aside your own emotions to appropriately address the emotions of your child (no easy feat!).
  2. You combat anger with love and compassion.
  3. You are constantly putting yourself in the shoes of your child to better understand their feelings and emotions.
  4. You take the time to listen to your child, even when you want to do the talking.
  5. You do not punish, threaten, or yell, even though these methods sometimes yield the quickest results. Instead you take the time to converse and teach (it will pay off in the years to come).
  6. You have patience even when you’re patience is running low.
  7. You are setting aside the want for your child to obey and submit, so your child will instead learn to grow into their own person.
  8. You respect all feelings, the good and the bad.
  9. You are empathetic even when their problems don’t seem like problems to you.
  10. Above all you create a safe haven for your child, a home of peace where they can fully express themselves.


Zero Expectations

I’ve learnt through trial and error, that the best way to approach going outside with children is to have a zero expectations mentality. Whether you are just walking down to the local playground or heading to the ski hill, placing zero expectations on your outdoor excursions is your best bet for a good time. 

I’ve learnt through trial and error, that the best way to approach going outside with young children is to have a zero expectations mentality. Whether you are just walking down to the local playground or heading to the ski hill, placing zero expectations on your outdoor excursions is your best bet for a good time.

IMG_3918So what does having zero expectations mean? It means that yes it’s okay to have a goal in mind when heading outside, but be open to this goal changing or never being met. There have been numerous times we have gone for walks or hikes, and only made it part way due to a very curious toddler who stops every five seconds to look at something, or a baby who is screaming his head off. Or the times we’ve packed everyone up to go to the ski hill and the toddler decides today he will in fact only do one run and then he’s done. By having a goal in mind, but also being open to the fact that this goal can change or disappear altogether, you won’t feel like you haven’t accomplished anything. Nor will you feel the need to pressure your children into meeting the expectations you set of what you wanted to do outside. You got your children outdoors and you had fun! Really at this age that’s all that matters- opening up their minds to the endless possibilities nature has to offer. Children are unpredictable and their moods come and go, so having an open mind when outside will help everyone have a good time, and make it as stress free as possible.

23783653_10155725727900281_1488403301021315581_oSometimes getting children outside can be a lot of work. There’s bags to pack with snacks and all other necessities, appropriate clothing to be put on, the right gear to bring depending on what you are doing, and naps and meal times to take into the equation. It’s no wonder that after all this effort it can be a little frustrating when your child decides they actually don’t want to be outside. The best thing you can do in these situations is not to project on them how you’re feeling, or think about how much effort you had to go through to get them outside- a child can’t comprehend that. Just stay calm and remember that it’s all about having fun, and not placing your expectations onto your child. It’s okay to gently encourage your child when they are having a hard time outside, validate their feelings, listen to what they are telling you, make it playful again, and if you feel you can continue on outside then carry on. There have been many times both boys have melted down outside, but after some talking and listening they are both fine to continue on and have stayed outside for hours afterwards.


So if you want your outdoor experiences with young children to be good ones, not stressful ones, I suggest instead of having great expectations have zero.  Does this mean that you will be immune to the frustrations that come with getting children outside and adventuring? No it does not, but it means that in the tough moments you can remember there are no expectations you should be meeting, instead all you need to do is go with the flow, be flexible, and follow your child’s lead (they always seem to know exactly what brings them joy outside).

Confessions of a Young Mum

I was a young mum, fresh out of high school by a couple years. I was nineteen turning twenty that year, babies having babies as people liked to tell me and my partner. I was scared, terrified actually, scared of what people would think, scared of what people would say, scared of the financial cost (how would we afford a kid? We were both still completing our University degrees, I had only just begun mine). But mostly I was scared of becoming the primary life source to another living being. Wasn’t I only just a child myself? How could I parent a child when I didn’t even feel like an adult yet? I always used to joke about adulting like paying rent, feeding myself, and doing my own cleaning. But caring for a child, now that was the real deal.

Now I know people always say this, but if I could go back to that scared nineteen year old curled up in fetal position on her bed, I’d tell her that it would be okay, actually I’d tell her it would be a whole lot better than just okay. Here’s five myths about having a child young I would bust for her:

1. Having a child young ruins your life/your life will be over- I’d tell her her life was not over and would not be ruined by having a child young, as people liked to insinuate. In fact your life is about to get a whole lot more amazing, chaotic yes, but also amazing. It’s a different kind of life, and it’s one she wouldn’t change for the world.

2. It’s not the right time for a child- I’d tell her if you ask most people there is never a right time for a child. If you’re waiting for the right time you will always be waiting. Waiting for that perfect house, the perfect job, or the perfect income before welcoming a baby. If that were the case most people would never get around to having children.

3. Young parents equate bad parents- I’d tell her not to be ashamed of her bump. Yes her face still had a childish edge to it, but that did not mean she would be any less of a mother to her child. Age does not define parenting abilities only the parent does.

4. Young parents won’t be able to pursue their goals- I’d tell her that she would in fact be able to continue university, and still maintain an A average in her degree. I’d tell her the world is still hers for the taking and just as many, if not more, opportunities would arise for her in the future.

5. Young parents will lose all their friends/have no friends- I’d tell her if anything becoming a parent made her more friends. She would never be lonely. Parenthood opened the doors to make friends with people she would never normally think of hanging out with, and it was great! And she didn’t lose friends, yes some of these friendships changed or lessened but some also grew and blossomed. With the arrival of her child she learned the true definition of friendship from those friends who welcomed her child into their life like they had once welcomed her