Encouragement in Parenting for the New Year

New Habits in the New YearParenting. Forget New Year’s resolutions; when it comes to parenting I honestly feel like I make resolutions to start anew in that area every single week. Today I feature an interview with Brenda Nixon, author and speaker. She has addressed audiences large and small, from the MOPS International convention to breakout groups to appearing on radio and TV. If you need a speaker, check out her website. You’ll also find some resources on tips for dealing with temper tantrums and choosing a preschool.

How important is it to tailor our parenting to our children’s individual personalities?
Children are as different as snowflakes. Our parenting must reflect that knowledge as we respond to, love, and discipline each child in a way that matches his/her personality. When speaking to audiences across the country, I often remind them that it’s not realistic to not be fair all the time. Fairness doesn’t recognize differences; it’s only a convenience to the parent. Just question it from an adult point of view: are all your relationships with family and friends equal? Do you treat all those people the same? Of course not. So why try to do that with impressionable children.

I encourage parents to start off the new year with the liberating thought of tailoring their childrearing to meet each child’s needs, wants, and learning style.

Isn’t treating our kids all the same proof that we are not playing favorites?
It may seem like it, and that nagging voice in the back of our head tells us that our kids will scream, “That’s not fair!” and then we’ll feel guilty. We actually are playing favorites when we overlook any child’s unique need by making one shoe size fit all. In “The Five Love Languages of Children,” authors Chapman and Campbell explain that children even interpret love differently. One child may see gifts (or things) as symbols of love, while another thinks love is affirming words. Now, what if a parent practiced hugging both children to treat them the same. . . then neither child would feel truly loved because their personal need wasn’t being met. Or if the parent only said affirming, encouraging words but never gave any gifts to the one who interpreted gifts as love, then that one would think the other was the favored child.

What is one thing that we should eliminate from our parenting bag of tricks?
In this new year, I challenge parents of young children to develop the habit of being their child’s parent. Too many try to be their friend, buddy, companion, playmate — or worse — the missing parent. Don’t cheat a child out of having a mature, capable, competent parent. Often parents tell me they don’t want their child mad at them. “So what?” I ask. If your child gets mad at you, he or she will get over it. Never allow a child’s use of emotion to manipulate or compromise your standards. I think it was the actress Bette Davis who said, “If you’ve never been hated by your child; you’ve never been a parent.” And the child psychiatrist Dr. Grace Ketterman said, “Good mothers need to be tough at times.” These are two of my favorite quotes sprinkled throughout my book.

As the years pass and your child grows, you’ll do less disciplining and it’s appropriate to become more of a consultant. Be there when he or she needs you; provide assistance when asked, but know when to back off and allow some independence. As kids become adolescents, there will be even more camaraderie and less of the parenting. Eventually, as our children become young adults we need to back off — or work ourselves out of a job.

Thank you Brenda!

If you’d like to win a copy of Ms. Nixon’s book, Parenting Power in the Early Years, (U.S. shipping addresses only), please leave a comment on this post, and check out the New Habits in the New Year guidelines at this main post.

Come back on January 9 to see if you have won. Please be sure that the email address that you provide is one that you check regularly, and also check your spam folder when the winners are announced if you see your name.


  1. Cindi Hoppes says

    It would be great to win this book! I agree with almost all of what the author said in your review! Please enter me in your contest. Thanks,Cindi

  2. Emily Cummings says

    I think every parent worries about whether or not they are doing things right in the way they raise their children. It’s important to have some kind of reference for reassurance.

  3. hetal gandhi says

    I have two daughters and even though they are the best, there are of course some challenges. I would love to win this book.

  4. Amanda says

    MOPS has been such a great outlet for me since becoming a mom to twin boys and choosing to stay at home with them. I’d love to read this book!

  5. says

    Wow, so many responses! I wish all of you could win a free copy of my book, Parenting Power in the Early Years. For those who don’t, you can find it at Amazon or ask your local public library to order a copy for you.
    Thanks again, Jennifer, for allowing me to share a bit with your readers.

  6. Barb Wild says

    parenting is a ball of fun. I have twins and i would like this book to give to my friends son and daughter in law having their first child.

  7. says

    I’m the mother of a 37 and a 33 year old, and everytime I read Brenda’s advice, I’m in awe of her wisdom and her strength in communicating it to parents. Thanks for hosting Brenda.

  8. Terra says

    Great interview, and I like the idea of children being as unique as snowflakes. I have a copy of Brenda’s book and it is full of tips.


  1. […] Jennifer included encouragement for parents as a part of her New Habits for the New Year series at 5 Minutes for Mom. She also talked with Brenda about how to stop beating ourselves up for our shortcomings on her personal blog, Snapshot. […]

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