Upbringing – What to Do With That Little Hothead?

“Now we struggle a lot with our little boy, he always has a tantrum and I really don t know what to do with him, dressing downs don t work, when I smack his bottom, he gets over that in a short while and is not worried about that at all. It really irritates me when somebody starts to tell me that I am too tender at him. I don t think so because I really try to keep him on a tight rein and I don t allow him anything for no special reason. However he really has a tantrum for no reason and screams and yells I am already helpless I feel like crying.“


We borrowed this story from public online discussion. Mother who knows this story let her be not angry with us. Internet is full of similar contributions. They differ only insignificantly and sound always the same: We struggle each other. Nothing doesn’t count for much with him. I am at a loss what to do next with him. Where do I make a mistake?

It is not always easy to be a parent. Especially when the two-year-old boy starts to have a tantrum and destroy all our present views about upbringing. So we sometimes search for a piece of advice where it is possible and try to know the score in vain.

 „I don t want to make him shut up all day long, it is not upbringing in my view, it is drill. Do you think I make a mistake when I wait when it is more reasonable to understand my explanation?“

 „My friend told me I should smack her bottom to make her feel the pain. I smack her bottom from time to time, but I don t know, if I do it right?“

(excerpts from discussions)


Which upbringing is the right upbringing?

Some people say: Spare the rod and spoil the child. Nobody caressed with them in their childhood. They survived and today they are decent people. Others warn, that strict upbringing balefully leave marks on the child. Obedience does not have to be a lucky choice, it will grow up one day and will go out into the world of grown ups.

Where is the happy medium and which upbringing is the right upbringing? And especially- which will work even for our child  which is so idiosyncratic (wild, obstinate, non- assertive, quick, slow… substitute anything)? How non- upbringing can solve it?


Beg your pardon – Non-upbringing?!

Approach to children, which is spread in our country under the title of Non-upbringing, does not have anything in common with „american“ free upbringing. It does not recommend directive way – I will set you hard and fast rules and you must stick to them, at the same time it is not too liberal- do what you think, child, I do not intervene.

„Non-upbringing is a partnership approach. Some parents are horrified, when they hear the word partnership – I will dance to his tunes? But when I say partnership, I mean mutual partnership. When the child is my partner, it does not mean, that he is the centre of the universe and everything revolves around him. Also me, a parent, I am also a partner, and my peace of mind is equally important as satisfaction of a child. Mutual partnership looks like nobody has to rule here or live in reduced circumstances, we can agree on everything and we are both satisfied,“ says Dr. Kate Krall, author of the principles of Non-upbringing.


Uncontrollable child? It is often a big misunderstanding

How to come to an agreement with a child, that is uncontrollable? I said it to him already hundred times. I tried everything, by hook or by crook. Nothing works. My child is really different. It is just itself, anything „verified“ does not count for much with it.

Yes, reliable advice and instructions do not work everytime. That s precisely why your child is „different“. Equally as mother (or father) is different. And equally unique is situation, in which you found yourself with your child. Therefore Non-upbringing does not give parents „instructions for a child“ and does not try to convince them, that there is only one right solution. It helps them to find their way in a child, in themselves and also in a situation- and find their own solution.

When somebody gives you advice, what exactly you should say to your child or what you should do with it, maybe it will work in 50% cases. And then there are the remaining 50% cases, where it does not have to work. Therefore we teach the parents to understand what happens with them, as a matter of fact. When I understand a child and situation, then I will solve the problem with him together easily. And I don t have to try without looking, what somebody gave me as a piece of advice, or to do something, I am not convinced about. For example, smack his bottom. Parents often assume somehow, it is not the right thing, but they are angry, helpless and so that they act against their feelings. And sometimes it starts as a vicious circle. I know from my personal experience, that most of the problems comes only from lack of understanding, I do not understand what the child wants and it does not understand me,“ explains Kate Krall.

She worked with disabled children in the past, with talented children, as a boss of  subsidiary of the Fund of imperilled children then with „problem“ children and families in a difficult living situation. „It works everywhere and we can teach you that in Non-upbringing,“ she dares to say. „We know how to agree on everything without problems with our little boy and also teenage young lady. No wild puberty or defiance are not necessary.“


Speech is silver but Silence is golden

„It is not enough to tell parents how they should do that. Therefore we do not give them instructions in similar interviews. Recall how many times somebody told you what you should do- those people around you always know best. You listened to him, maybe accepted he was right, nevertheless you did not change anything,“ says Kate Krall and continues:

„One thing is to speak, the other thing is to live through it at your own skin and start to do that practically. Therefore we lead parents in our courses to their own experience. Simple, but efficient practical tasks are important part. When you experience some situation from child´s point of view, you will never slap his face in a similar situation. But maybe you will come to him and say: „Now I am very angry, I tremble all over my body, I need it to be different next time.“ And then you will think up how.“


When children make crazy things

Let us get back now  to the intoductory contribution of a mother from internet discussion. „Even though your child makes the craziest thing, for example it has a tantrum, screams or bites you, it always has a reason to do that. Sure, it does something, you don t like, and you need to deal with that somehow. I don t mean to say at all- let it be. But the child tries to express something at that moment. When you smack him or you tell it, this is not good to do, you tell it in fact: „I don t understand you, but shut up.“ And then you will never get at the understanding. You need to figure out together, what it wants to say. And then it is sufficient to change the style of communication,“ explains Kate Krall.

Isn it all a long distance run? You can change quickly to the Non-upbringing, within several days till weeks. You have to be firmly decided and go for it. As soon as the child gets used to the new style of communication, we are home and dry.It will stop have a tantrum, because nobody understands it and it will start to cooperate.


One story for all

And how does the whole „magic“ look like in practice? Maybe like this:

„Mike (16 months of age) crawled into a cabin, his grandmother was of course close on his heels. He took a broom, and wanted to go out. Grandmother lamented that it is too big for him, he can knock his head against something, fall down, will cry.. and he said no and no! My grandmother shouts at me in despair: „Pete, tell him something, come and smack his bottom, he does not obey.“ (I got the feeling he obeys and has fun on top of that.)

My bold sentence followed: „So try to agree with him on that somehow.“ „Agree? Oh my god, it is a child! He does not understand me, he does not speak…“

I got up from the bench at rest, came to them into a cabin and knelt down in front of Mike: “Mike, my grandmother maybe  does not want you to take the broom outside. Maybe she sweeps with that only inside- try asking her if you can really take it out.“

„Mike did his „Hm“ at me, turned around with the broom at grandmother, raised it, did his „Hm“ at grandmother and nodded his head at the same time. Grandmother stood and was stunned and nodded her head. Mike went out enthusiastically out and started to touch his springboard.“


Room For Your Preschooler

Arranging a children’s room is just as important as furnishing any other room in the house. Every child of any age should have at least some space at home, that belongs to just him. For a long time, his room is his whole world and so it’s important to take into consideration his personality and needs so that once he’s an adult he can look back at his great childhood room. It doesn’t matter whether you’re live in an apartment or a house, a small room can be just as well equipped. What should we pay attention to most importantly?


The bed, as the main part of the room

A quality bed predetermines a healthy development of your child. The size of the bed should be chosen based on the size of the room, but bunk beds are definitely not recommended. The child on the upper bed is breathing the stale air from the bottom and that doesn’t contribute to quality sleep. If you want to save some space, sliding beds on wheels are good for saving space, because one bed can slide under the other during the day. If you only have one child, try to get him a bed as big as possible; a good night sleep is priceless so don’t deny him that for the sake of a different piece of furniture.


Storage spaces

Pay close attention to cabinets and shelves. People often make a mistake of putting tall cabinets into a children’s room. Unless your child is extraordinary tall, he will not be able to reach up that high. A lower chest of drawers and open shelves will do. You will encourage your child’s activity by putting making storage spaces accessible to him – he will be more likely to clean up after himself if he can put stuff where they belong. Don’t forget though that with age, children’s demands change. Just to be sure, get high-adjustable pieces of furniture that can be changed into different variations. This way, it can stay with your child for many years.


Working area

Every working area should have a desk. But where to put it? If your child is left handed, put the desk in such a position so it will get light from the right, and if he’s right-handed make sure the light comes in from the left side. Also keep in mind a good posture. The height of the desk plays an important role regarding your child’s posture along with the chairs backrest angle and hardness. A proper chair should have an option to adjust the height of the seat, the backrest and should have armrests. Don’t let your child damage his back and also make sure he has good lighting, which includes a quality lamp. Right beside the desk is a great place where he can always keep his schoolbag, so that he won’t have to frantically look all over for it every morning.


What about the floor?

Carpets are slowly going out of style, but you don’t have to completely forget about them. Floors can ideally be partly covered with carpet and partly uncovered. A carpet that covers the entire room concentrates a lot of dust and mites, which doesn’t create a suitable environment, especially for people suffering from allergies. But it’s ok to cover a smaller area with a carpet, because your child can play on it instead of a cold bare floor. When picking out a carpet, stay away from very distinctive designs that make a room appear smaller, if your room already is small.

For a pleasant temperature and easy maintenance, natural linoleums are great with their antibacterial properties.



Children are very perceptive when it comes to colors. Whether you’re thinking about wallpaper or wall color, always respect your child’s wishes. Discuss with your child which color would suit him the best, but try to talk him out of aggressive tones or red or other strong colors. Even if it doesn’t seem so at first, such colors could make a child restless and irritable.

Some good neutral colors that are always safe are for example yellow, green or blue. Also darker shades of orange are trendy now. If your child still craves for red, you can at least put some red items in the room – like a chair, posters, pillow, etc. This solution is practical also because these accessories are easily replaceable if your child gets sick of red.

How To Give Children Advice

Parents often ask me if there is a time when it’s good for parents to give their children advice in a difficult situation.


Parents often ask me if there is a time when it’s good for parents to give their children advice in a difficult situation. Yes, sure, unlike our children we have the knowledge and experience that could help them, but the important thing is good timing. To figure out when it’s good to intervene, follow your child’s lead. Generally speaking, children can recover more easily than we think. An independent child probably won’t ask for advice – if we’re not asked, it’s best we don’t give it.

The worst time to give advice is when a person (no matter his age) who is full of pain confides in us. My experiences tell me that if we hear them out, confirm their pain and show them we accept it, our children will reach wise conclusions on their own. And if our advice is important to them, they will express this by giving us specific questions. In emotionally draining stress situations, my children act this way about once a year. During different situations it happens more often.

Who do some children ask for advice more often then other children in emotional distress?


Everyone is born independent and self-confident. But because many of us experience doubts during our childhood, we learn to not trust our feelings. In the same way, we teach our children distrust. Children that develop a constant need for someone’s advice need to hear expressions of trust and confidence from others. I recommend the following to all parents who would like to help their children regain independence and self-trust:

– Tell your child about your new approach and promise him that next time you will be listening without talking (he will be excited!). Be truthful and honest. You are learning too.

– If your child expresses signs of dependency again and asks you for advice in what to do, respond with: “And what do you think?” and confirm this with “I’m sure that you’ll be able to find a solution”, or “It’s a difficult situation, think it over carefully.”

– If your child gets startled or confused by this, he probably temporarily lost his self-confidence and is not able to offer his own solutions. You can help him with encouraging words such as: „You know what to do best.” If he still doesn’t know what to do, suggest several possibilities and end it with: „(…) and maybe you have a better idea.“

– If you decide to give advice, you can use these important strategies: Offer several ideas, without revealing which of them you prefer. Let your child know, that he could have a better idea and that he should do what he feels is right. Talk clearly and simply, avoid lecturing. Talk positively about solutions and don’t judge.

Gradually, give advice less and less and express trust in the skills and decision-making capabilities of your child more and more.


If your child starts crying or gets angry if you refuse to give advice, validate his feelings with something like: „You wanted me to offer a solution and now you feel abandoned and helpless. I love you and know you are capable…I know you know what to do. You may now feel helpless and incapable but in the end, I’m sure you will find your answer.“ Most of all, listen. Crying will help restoring your child’s self-assurance. As soon as the crying stops and everything becomes quiet, the child can start coming up with answers.

During a calm moment, talk to your child about how he wants you to act if he’s upset and set clear rules that he would like to establish. Do this between situations when he’s upset – never shortly after or during.

You can’t follow these rules rigidly. It’s important to be empathetic and to know how to respond sensitively. It’s not necessary to refuse to help, if the child is not ready to offer his own solution. As soon as we offer our child more opportunities to express his independency, we have to observe and respond to signs of readiness. We can’t force our child to be independent. Sometimes, empathy can mean trying to free our children from being dependent on our advice; other times, it means to yield to their dependency on our advice.


Once you succeeded, and your child stops being dependent on you – and you break your habit of rescuing him with advice – become a curious and respectful listener. His emotional state and behavior will improve and so will yours. Don’t forget that emotions are never wrong; all feelings are undeniable, real and right. Circumstances and actions may need to change, but feelings should be accepted and heard.


Shopping for Newborns

Most probably you would be shopping for the most necessary equipments and clothes now and due to the high expenses you would most likely shop for the rest of it only gradually. Perhaps your friends and family are awaiting the baby too and they will ask you which present would you like the most.


In this case, some information would come in handy to you…

In the first six months, the baby grows very fast and it often gets itself dirty and hence it needs a lot of clothes. The equipment which will be necessary in this period of time will not be needed later on (an infant bathtub, a deep pram, a cradle, a portable bag, an infant car-seat, etc.). In short, if you purchase all these as new, you will spend way too much money.

Beware of the lists of necessary items presented in books about child nurture. Rather, ask your girlfriends who will tell you what is really necessary and practical.


In the first few weeks, the infant spends most of his time sleeping. He will feel the most comfortable in a stretchable overall.


Take note that all the necessary items for the child do not have to be new or be according to the latest fashion. Feel free to borrow some from your friend or purchase some second hand ones for half the price. There are lots of advertisements and there are plenty of second hand shops too. Some of the most basic equipments for the youngest of age (for example the scale) can be rented too.


With regards to the clothes, always choose slightly bigger sizes and get clothes in relation to the child’s size rather than the child’s age. Buy only the soft, comfortable materials which can be washed in the washing machine. Laces can be pretty, but they need to be ironed and are suitable only for ceremonial events. In the upcoming months, you will have plenty of other more important concerns than to iron clothes which wouldn’t have to be ironed otherwise.


Avoid clothing which have to be worn over the head (children usually hate this)

Don’t forget that the baby needs to get its diapers changed often and so try to pick clothes that enables you to remove only the bottom part.

Many times, especially with the first child, we like to please the baby and ourselves by shopping the best, the nicest and the most expensive items. Don’t forget, however, that what the baby enjoys the most is the comfort and safety of the moments you spend together.

Independence – How to Lead a Child into It

Is your toddler in a stage that it wants to do many thing by itself? Its “I do it” is a daily routine? Believe that is absolutely natural.


Child is becoming aware if its own personality, his own self. It only means one thing for parents – to armor themselves with patience and encourage their offspring, anyway they can, in their independence. Of course it is not an easy task….

Most parent find this period rather difficult to deal with because they have a feeling that their little one is still too little. They think that their child cannot be able to do some of the things or it can come to harm by doing it or even break something. But the truth lies within. A toddler is actually quiet clever by then. It only needs some space so it can try to do things by itself. And don’t discourage it by saying “You are still too little to do that”

A child’s independence is developing best by doing simple everyday tasks.



At the age of two or three we can start teaching independence by a simple example: We let little boy or girl choose what to wear that day; lets say we give them 3 tops to choose from. When he or she chooses one; we can ask “What would you wear with that?” The child might choose blue and green striped top and red trousers with white spots. Mum shouldn’t say: “Don’t put that on.” Instead she should add: “Do you like it? I think that the blue trousers would go better, what do you think?” But if she or he would want to wear stripes with spots so let them. Nobody would mind.

At the upbringing period we should be aware of what is actually important. One important thing is: a child should make a mistake and then go and fix it.

Leading to independence – or the whole upbringing of your child- means that since birth we should teach children by our own examples.  If my two and half year old princess spends time with me while I’m getting dressed I could say: “Look at this lovely green skirt, I should wear with that this nice blue and green top, it goes well together. Do you think if you had a skirt like that that your pink top would go with it?” And the same goes for boys. When dad is getting ready he could say: “Look, doesn’t this blue shirt goes well with my trousers? Try and pick something similar for yourself. “

Please remember that getting dressed is the easiest way to lead them to confidently make their own decision.



This is slightly harder but it’s possible to start at breakfast times. Let your toddler choose what it would want to eat” Would you like a toast with cheese or marmalade?” And if your child would demand on his toast for example pate, which you just don’t have, and with a hump leaves the table let him or her go.



Just before the evening bathing mummy says: “Johnny I’m just getting your bath ready and when you come you can show me how well you can wash yourself” Don’t rush by soaping your child quickly. “OK, well done, I will help you with your hair.” Let your child dry itself and mum or dad can just assist with their back. Don’t forget to teach your little girl to wipe her bum well with a toilet roll independently as soon as you can.



A toddler is very able to tidy up his toys or even help laying the table. Child can help you peeling potatoes and even if it isn’t perfect he or she did it by themselves. The result isn’t important at this stage it is actually their ability and independence that the child was able to show.

When a child around two years old starts becoming “the clever clocks” you should let it do as many every day tasks as you can. Do make sure that you are talking to them while they are “working”. Peeling potatoes might take him more than half hour but time is not the essence here. Don’t discourage your child by saying: “you’re too little to do it.” Do adapt the activity to your child’s ability. If your little one is not able to use the peeler than let him wash the vegetable instead. Just don’t discourage your child from any tasks it can do.


What is important when teaching children independence?



It is very important to praise a child discovering its own self. Any time he or she shows signs of independence praise them, for example: when they use the potty without prompting, when they get dressed by themselves, when they eat up all the food and when they tidy up their toys, say: “You’ve done a great job, only big boys can do it so well.” You take your child swimming and when you are ready your little one puts his arm bands on by himself so make sure you praise him: “Well done for not forgetting.”


CHANCE TO MAKE DECISIONindependence of the child

When we talk about independence it is sometimes difficult for parent to find the right opportunities to let their kids to make decisions. It is much easier to give orders or bans. But it could actually be nicer for a parent to watch their little one solving a little problem or making their own decision. If you tell your child not to do something you should also give him an explanation: “You mustn’t do that because…” Practicing their independence also means practicing their thinking.



When teaching independence it is a common issue that parents rather overtake from their kids and don’t want to start with it. It is actually much quicker to dress little Mary themselves then wait for her to try it. Or if little Mary would take too long, mum could easily get stressed, she could add: “You are too little to do it I’ll do it. I thought that you were big enough to do it yourself.” If you little girl is not able to do it well enough or fast enough just assist, help a little but don’t do it instead of her.



Children younger than one year should be without their mum only a day (maybe two) a week. After one year you can extend the “away period” to three or more days maybe by staying at the grandparents or other relatives. Strange people show to your child their own customs or ways that you may not approve of.

For two or more years old is ideal socializing time at toddler centre or clubs for mum, where the child meet with their peers and is without they mums attention. At this time a child is developing an emotional independence. And of course is it very important to go through a period of being without a parent and to socialize before nursery or school time. Keep in mind that each child is different and that it needs its own time to master everything. But more independence he or she learns at home easier it will be to adapt to new environment at school.

Room Shared by Children? Here are some tips!

Multiple children sharing a room, especially being of different ages and sex, can ideally be without any trouble, but let`s not count on that. In a worse case scenario it can turn out to be a nightmare, with the whole family feeling the consequences.

So what can happen? Let`s imagine a model situation. A lively toddler and a school-age child? One is tidy and orderly, and the other one does not care (well… he can’t care yet) and leaves everything everywhere.

So, how can you make everyone happy without loosing mind?

Tolerance in the Room 

There is no need to discuss the cause of problems. Your children probably long for privacy more than just for physical living space. But that doesn’t mean they don’t like each other. It is often a hard road to compromise; and it is up to us to teach our children about tolerance.

Divided living spaces

It is always better if children of same sex or age (or perhaps a combination of both) occupy one room. Next, it is important to arrange the room in such a way, that each child has their own space that is furnished relatively the same, so that we avoid jealousy and envy. We can separate the two rooms (living spaces) by wall color of the children’s choosing.

Small rooms should not be very dark, as they could appear smaller. But a rich color doesn’t mean a dark color. Just to be sure, save some of the color…

It’s also important to have as little furniture as possible, but enough for clothes and for the storage of various items. We should remember that buying additional furniture is easy, but it’s not as easy to get rid of furniture we don’t want or need anymore.

Bunk beds in the room – yes or no?

If you’re thinking about getting bunk beds into the room, then do so only if you have absolutely no other choice. The most serious argument about bunk beds is that it is warmer on the upper bed and more difficult to breathe there. Also, we can’t use the upper bed as seating for guests for example.

If there isn’t much room for regular beds, there are other options too. Today, we can find high beds on top of cabinets and shelves, or perhaps with space underneath to play.

The furniture should be practical, easy to maintain and above all – safe! Only adults will appreciate expensive room furniture and design, but children don’t care about how much it costs, or what it’s made of. They only care about if they like it and feel comfortable in it.

Shared Room Privacy

The bigger the age gap is between the children and the older they get, the more we must respect their privacy.  Also, we shouldn’t count on the older one watching the younger one in the room.

The younger one will surely get on the older ones nerves, and the older one can watch the small one one even if he isn’t in the same room. We should respect privacy from a certain age, adolescence at best, even of kids of different sex. I don’t think I need to explain why…

If we have one room to work with, we can divide it. There is a number of ways to do that and they depend on the layout of the room. A partition wall made of wood or plasterboard can only be used in a room with two windows. For each of the newly created spaces, we have to respect the minimal space of 2,5 meters, since only then the children will have 100% privacy. We, parents, will learn to knock before entering any of the child’s space whether they are adults of children.

If for some reason, we are unable to divide the room by construction, we can divide the room using a paravent or cabinets.  Sound insulation will not be perfect but at least each child will have a space of their own, that his sibling should respect and not interfere with.

Separate rooms

If we can afford to give our children their own rooms, we should furnish them as if they were their first apartments. The room should contain everything the child needs, but as always, we shouldn’t overcrowd the room with furniture. An extra bed though is not an unnecessary piece of furniture. It can be used to lie around in during the day (so he wont lay in his clean sheets), and most importantly it can be used for guests.

While picking out furniture and designs, we should give our child the right to choose as much as possible.  Don’t forget it`s his/her room, not yours. Remember to secure the windows and outlets in the rooms of younger children.

Attention As the Matter of Fight

You are on the phone and you cannot hear yourself talk because your little one just needs attention to share something with you in a very loud manner. Or you need to change the younger child and the elder does all it can to keep in the centre of your attention? Even this has a solution.


Your little one can be jealous of a sibling and fights for your attention in a way that can harm the other child. It wants to be first at everything, have bigger piece of chocolate….

Where is the attention problem?

Attention fight in siblingsA child should be sure of parent’s attention. So when it wants something of you, you as parent should turn to him, kneel down maybe, so the child feels that the parent pays full attention to it and he or she really listens. If parents have more than one child it should be stated that if one speak it will have his turn and after that the other can speak.

Parent should also consider if he or she does not really favour one child over the other. It can increase the rivalry among them.

If an actual fight happened among kids the parent shall teach them rights and wrongs. He or she should teach them how to ask for things in polite manner, how to listen to each other, how not to attack each other. They should also learn how to apologise to each other.

The sibling’s battle

It is an absolutely common phenomenon in all families. It would be wonderful if sibling would not provoke each other or wouldn’t steel each other’s toys. Best model to prevent these fights lies obviously with parents.

If one of the kids has higher gear of action, he is very able to get what he wants; he is actually better set for life. He probably won’t get lost in the world. But we should also teach them to be considerate towards others and also to step down sometimes or even give way to others.

These are all important precondition to fit in society of peers at school or nursery. Children that are able to communicate about a specific matter are more accepted by others and are also able to make friends easily.

Giving in

A child whose nature is to willingly give everything away and is over run by others should be taught to consider if it is ok with him to do so.

If he feels that he is the only one always giving in and feels that that is not right for the sibling’s constellation he should learn from a parent how to approach the other child to tell him that he is not ready to share his toy and to invite the other child to play together.

In this sibling coexistence a child is learning to co-operate, to share the attention, to be patient or to express if he is happy or not.