Sandra Dodd

This is at the bottom of the page at
It's a transcription by Marta Pires of part of the Peaceful Parenting presentation I gave at HSC ten years ago with Richard Prystowsky. I'm grateful to everyone and everything that led up to the creation of that, and its preservation and availability.
I'm speaking again this year at HSC, this August.

Every time you have a choice� You know, when you have little kids, and you don�t say �What of all of the clothing that we own or that I could possibly buy at Walmart would you like to wear today?� That�s too big! But you say �Do you want this red shirt or this blue shirt?� and the kid feels like he made a choice and he makes that choice and you gave him a choice and he's starting to practice making choices because then he could also say �Neither, I want to wear that green shirt.�
Do that with yourself too. You�re pretty angry and your adrenaline�s upon you and you have about a half a second to decide what you�re going to do and the first two choices that come to your�
Don�t ever decide from one choice, you know, wait until you get two and make the better choice. And if you think �Ok, I�m either going to whack him or I�m going to yell at him," yell at him�that was the best choice you had at that moment. And the next time, start with �yell at him."

�Ok, I'm either going to do what I did the last time or something better. I'm going to yell at him or I�m going to go in the other room for a second." Go in the other room.

And the next time, maybe your choice could be either �go in the other room� or �I�m going to take a deep breath and make a joke about it.� Make a joke.

And gradually and incrementally you come closer to the place where you want to be. Beause I don�t think anybody can just jump from a lifetime of responses and expectations and behaviors and just pick some other person and just become that person. You can�t do that.

But it also does help to have other people around to model. Think... Either hang around, really hang around with a family that you respect, and see how they are with their kids and try to be more like that. Or even in your imagination, you know, if you want to envision, depending how old you are going to be, Ozzy and Harriet if you're really old and, you know, or whatever nice tv family or literary family you want to be like. And pick one that you don't want to be like, that's a legitimate-as- all-get-out use for literature is to have some good role models and some cartoons to be avoided. You do not want to treat your kid like he's Oliver Twist. So Oliver Twist is your extreme at one end; that's not right. So get in your head some models and let that be your guide to be more like.

Another way is to get witnesses. That's one reason people join support groups and confess to their friends what they're doing, because you've told somebody what your intention is. You've told them what your problem is and what your intention is and now you have witnesses and for some people that helps. Sometimes it needs to be an imaginary witness, sometimes it needs to be a real witness. But maybe, if it will help you imagine that the friend that you most want to impress is there and would you do it if they were there.

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