Live Chat Transcript: Must-have Parenting Tools for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Below is our transcript of the live chat event that took place Thursday, March 25, 2010 in our auditorium with Dr. Kathleen Cuneo. This event focused on parenting tools for toddlers and preschoolers that strengthen your relationship with your child while alleviating problem areas.

What's Below?
What do you mean by empowered parenting?
Should I allow this playmate?
How can I discourage aggressive behavior?
What will encourage my 3-year-old to try new foods?
Speech delay or normal milestones for twins?
Is constant finger sucking a concern?
How can I help my son transition to a divorce
and move?

Moderator: Dr. Cuneo is creator of Empowered Parenting: Confident Parents, Compassionate Kids Program is our guest today. Thank you so much for joining us. I've been able to review your website and am definitely aware of how useful this information can be for all of us as parents -- especially today! Would you like to begin by offering a brief overview of what you mean by "empowered parenting"?

mom and child Dr. Cuneo: When I speak of empowered parenting I mean parents who feel confident about their parenting decisions and aren't riddled with lots of self-doubt. We all have doubts about our parenting sometimes. By the way, I'm a mom of three so I've definitely had my share of self-questioning. I believe that we can be the best parents we can be if we first look inward a bit. I'm not talking about intensive psychotherapy, but an appreciation and understanding of our own history.

How we were parented has a huge influence, plus and minus, on our own parenting. And how we react to stress and manage our own emotions plays out in our parenting as well. By knowing your child, I mean having a basic understanding of what to expect at certain ages as well as knowing your own individual child's strengths and weaknesses.

And by communicating effectively, I'm referring to tuning into your child's emotional experience and helping them navigate the world. Does anyone have any specific questions that they'd like to ask about any of these topics or the ones mentioned at the beginning of the chat?

My six-year-old loves playing with her 10-year-old cousin, who had just been diagnosis with ADD. I would prefer my daughter doesn't model some of her behavior. Should I discourage their spending time together?

I wouldn't necessarily think that you'd have to keep the children apart. You could use some of your niece's behavior as teaching opportunities for your daughter. You also need to be clear with your daughter about what your expectations around behavior are. To tell her that specific behaviors you're observing aren't okay with you and a brief explanation of why.

How much time the girls spend together would be influenced by how much your own child's behavior becomes disruptive when they're together and how easily you can get her to regroup. Yes.

You can also make sure that consequences for your daughter's behavior are clear to her. One example would be not playing together as a consequence; just be careful in how you word it. You don't want to make empty threats if your niece will be there for longer period. You also want to be careful not to label your niece.