Tuesday, January 27, 2015

How to be a Great Parent with the Nurtured Heart Approach

Divine providence has brought an amazing woman into my life. Her name is Julie Katz and she is a Nurtured Heart Parenting Coach. You can read up all about her here and here.

After speaking with Julie a few times, and implementing her parenting strategies, my husband and I literally would just gape at each other in shock every time something she told us to do actually worked. And the results were immidiate. Life changing. Family changing. 

I wanted to call every parent I know and tell them abouthis incredible apporach to parenting, the Nurtured Heart Approach.

I will warn you though- It is a huge amount of work on our part. Huge.

But if you are willing to work it, you will be truly amazed. Your entire family dynamic will shift and your home will be a very healthy and happy home.

I will do my best to give over as much information that I got from Julie as I can, but I truly feel that we should all do a Webinar with her. She is incredible. 

What I have learned from Julie is this: Kids need our attention. They need our energy. They don’t care if its good energy or bad energy, but they need to know that we are paying attention to them.

When kids are doing what they are supposed to be doing: behaving, speaking nicely, being kind, they really don’t get much attention from us. Think about it. I mean when was the lastime you told your child how competenthey were because they did their school work without complaining about it. Or how appreciative you are of their good behavior on a random afternoon.

Its when they start acting up that all of a sudden they get their dose of moms energy. Its not that they want to annoy us or make us angry, they just want us to give them some of our energy. And acting up is usually an instant winner to grab our attention.

"Stop hitting your sister!” “How many times do I need to ask you to brush your teeth?!” “If you say that word again you are going to your room!” “Stop doing that!”

Smile if you are guilty of saying any of the above. 

I figured. 

We all are.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

After realizing that all my kids need is my energy, by giving it to them in positive small doses through out the day, so much acting up has been avoided.

We have found that ‘catching’ them doing good things and showing them that we recognize it, it waters their energy garden.

Its about noticing things that usually go unnoticed or unrecognized. Its about telling your kids, "you are worthy of my time, you will get just as much juicy energy out of me by behaving and keeping the rules.”

Here are some examples:

“David, I see how nicely and quietly you are sitting and reading.”
“Sara, I appreciate how you have kept your bedroom so clean today. You really are a great example to your siblings on how to keep a clean room.”
“Rachel, I see how nicely you are speaking to your little sister. You are very kind.”
“Yossi, thank you for brushing your teeth right away without any reminders. This shows me you are very responsible. ”
“Chana, I really love how nicely you are playing with your toys.”

We are not telling our kids how amazing they are and how brilliant they are. We are simply recognizing ordinary behavior and giving it some of our positive energy.

That’s Step 1.

Now Step 2 is a bit more challenging.

Here are some scenarios:
-David hits/bites/punches/kicks (fill in the blank) Yossi and he starts crying
- Rachel calls her sister a name
-Chana rolls her eyes at you
-Yossi refuses to clean his mess
-Sara says a bad word at the table

Now what?

Remember- its all about OUR energy. Do not reward your child with your energy when they don’t deserve it.

So this is how we discipline using the Nurtured Heart Approach:

1: In a very straight and unemotional tone, tell the child who acted up: “You need a time out/reset. Leave the room.” Then continue doing what you were doing. If another kid was involved, shower them with your attention. “Are you okay?” “I am proud of you for not hitting back.” Energize the child who did not break the rules, not the one who did.

2: Once you and the ‘rule breaker’ have cooled down, go talk to them, one on one. Have a Heart to Heart. Compliment them on how they left the room right away when you asked without arguing. Listen to their side of the story. Help them figure out a different action to take if they are in the same situation again. You are here to help them grow and manage frustrating situations.

3: At the same time, they need to know there are consequences for their actions. Whatever consequence you see fit- take away  favorite toy for the day, no screen time etc. but make sure it is immediate, not ‘no nosh on Shabbos’ which is 3 days away.

4: Once they feel heard and have a consequence, they now need to make it right. They need to fix what they did. If they made a mess, they need to clean it up.  If they hurt someone, they need to apologize and do something nice for them- help them clean their room, say some nice words, let them brain storm something nice that they can do to ‘make things right.’

It is a lot of work on our part, but it works.

Believe me, there are times when the last thing I feel like doing is being civil to the kid who just threw their food on the floor because they don’t like the green things in the pasta sauce. But take 10 deep breathes in and consider it an investment into your child and family sanity.

Here is the book where all this wisdom comes from:

And this one:

If you would be interested in having a Webinar or Q&A with Julie, please let me know and we will make it happen.

I just cannot begin to tell you how this approach has transformed our lives.

By no means are my kids perfect little angels now, but we have created a dialog in our family and a go-to strategy each time a situation comes up.

I have my moments when I'm exhausted and I yell, buthats just a reminder that I am human and the Nurtured Heart Approach takes lots of patience, a lot of work  and lots of practice and we are so committed to making it work.

Catching my kids doing something good and acknowledging them for it has transformed our days.  I find them now coming to me to show me the good solution they came up with to an issue they had. I find them coming to me to help them deal with a situation with a sibling when in the past they would have been beating each other up because they simply did not have the tools to deal with their issue.

It is truly amazing. For the sake of your family, justry it.

Wishing you a wonderful week,


  1. I would love a webinar :) I think every mom goes through this...

  2. I would definitely be interested!


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