Positive Parenting Essentials with guest Dr. Candice Jones

On this episode of the Brainy Moms parenting podcast, Dr. Amy and Teri interview Dr. Candice Jones, pediatrician and author of the new American Academy of Pediatrics book, High Five Discipline: Positive Parenting for Happy, Healthy, Well-Behaved Kids.  Dr. Candice shares 5 essentials to positive parenting, talks about the importance of controlling our own emotions, and reveals how attention is a parent’s super power.  Are you wondering if spanking is okay? Wondering what to do if you and your partner don’t have the same parenting styles? Get answers to these questions and much more on an episode full of amazing advice from one of our nation’s parenting experts. 

Read the transcript and show notes for this episode:

Positive Parenting Essentials
with guest Dr. Candice Jones

Dr. Amy Moore:

Hi and welcome to this episode of Brainy Moms. I’m Dr. Amy Moore here with my co-host Teri Miller coming to you from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Our guest today is Dr. Candice Jones. Dr. Candice is a board-certified pediatrician in Orlando, Florida. She’s a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, a mom of two, host of the podcast Kidding Around with Dr. Candice, and author of the brand new book High Five Discipline: Positive Parenting for Happy, Healthy, Well-Behaved Kids.

Teri Miller:

Dr. Candice, thank you. Thank you for being here. We are so, so honored to have you. Can’t wait to really dig in and hear about your book and the amazing practical tools and information you have for us. Before we dig into that, just give our listeners a little background, a little bit about your story. I think it’s super interesting that you were a nurse before you became a doctor. So tell about that journey, too.

Dr. Candice Jones:

Oh, you’ve done your homework. Certainly, I can do that for you and your listeners. But I want to say, first, thank you ladies so much for having me today, for talking about my book and sharing it with your audience. And so, I’m excited to have this discussion.

Dr. Candice Jones:

So about me. As we started talking about a little bit before we started recording, I’m from Alabama and grew up there. One interesting thing is I had to go all the way to Atlanta, to medical school, and meet my husband, who grew up 30 minutes away from me in Demopolis, Alabama. How neat is that?

Dr. Amy Moore:

That is neat.

Dr. Candice Jones:

Right, right. Both of us are from around the same area in Alabama. Then we meet at medical school in Atlanta. So I am a pediatrician, as you said, and I love, love, love taking care of children from birth to young adulthood.

Dr. Candice Jones:

I call myself the auntie. I really take it personally like I’m a part of the family. I want to be there to be an important part of you growing into a happy, healthy, productive citizen one day. So I like to think I help parents guide that process.

Dr. Candice Jones:

Yes, I was a nurse. I have a lot of nurses in my family. I have a very practical, just straightforward, no-chaser mom. When I was an undergrad, she said, “Okay, everybody’s graduating with these chemistry and biology degrees and what are they doing with them? If they don’t get into medical school, what happens next? So and so daughter, she still hadn’t found a job. And so and so son … ,” those types of thing. So can you find a degree that is going to give you a job while you get into medical school, if you need that time, in-between time?

Dr. Candice Jones:

Lo and behold, I needed that time. And I listened to her, which I rarely would say I did. I listened to her on that one. I did my undergrad, which is a little untraditional in nursing. And so, I did work for several years as a nurse. My first year of medical school, I was able to work that summer. That’s the only summer you get off, make some money.

Dr. Candice Jones:

And so, it served me well and it served me well clinically because I had good hands to touch patients and do things already. All of that stuff was out of the way. The bedside manner and those types of things was out of the way. So I feel like I did have an advantage going in.

Teri Miller:

Goodness. Yeah, that’s [crosstalk 00:03:48].

Dr. Candice Jones:

So that’s me in a nutshell.

Teri Miller:

Great.

Dr. Amy Moore:

I know. I find that fascinating. My husband’s a nurse. So it’s a great field.

Dr. Candice Jones:

Awesome.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Yeah. Okay. So I want to talk about your book. I love how you say it’s time for many parents to remodel the way they discipline, because the old-school approach doesn’t work and harms children. So talk about that.

Dr. Candice Jones:

Yeah. Thank you for that, because I think that’s one of the core, I think, principles of the book. In my book, I’m really transparent. I share this with my patients and their families often, like, look, I get it. I get old-school discipline because I was raised that way. Very early on, before I knew better, I did the same thing, because we’re indoctrinated to do what our parents taught us to do. We believe what they believe and that it’s right.

Dr. Candice Jones:

Once I saw better, once I saw different, once I saw the proof or the evidence of how it can be harmful, not all of it, but then I said, okay, I’ve got to do better. We see wonderful teachers. They don’t have to hit kids or yell at kids or do some of the old-school things with their kids in a classroom, and they can manage a class of 20-something kids and pour into them and get them to behave and get them to learn. And so, we can take some of that stuff from them and we can do that too as parents.

Dr. Candice Jones:

And so, I definitely think there’s a level … Maybe not for everyone, for a lot of us, a level of unlearning and relearning, questioning some of the disciplinary strategies that maybe our parents used and saying, “Hey, is that what I want to do?” Then how do I remodel that in myself? Because for most of us, it’s knee-jerk. When you’re challenged by your child, you react from how you were raised and how things were modeled to you.

Dr. Candice Jones:

And so, you really have to break that thing down and say, “Okay, this is what triggers me. How am I going to respond to this?” Teach yourselves some skills and start peeling back those layers and trying to intentionally do things differently, for sure.

Teri Miller:

Yeah.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Absolutely.

Teri Miller:

You talk about in your book four different parenting styles. Right at the beginning of your book, you review some of the basics. Interestingly, I think most us, or a lot of us, were raised by one specific parenting style, the old-school way. So talk about those four parenting styles and what we should be … Or I don’t want should, what we could be shooting for as healthy parents.

Dr. Candice Jones:

Right. Well, basically what we know is best, is the evidence shows is the best way. Now, of course, there’s an art of everything. There’s an art of parenting. So there is room for you to put your spin on it and put your stamp and your style on it. So we’re not trying to box people in. But there are some basic, I would say, principles or essentials, as you’ll see with my book, that should be there, that are best approaches and strategies to set that up. We know that’s what works and that’s what helps to create happy, healthy, well-behaved kids. I’m sure we’re going to talk about that.

Dr. Candice Jones:

Through the ages, we’ve had helicopter parenting, tiger parenting, balanced parenting, all these different types of parenting styles, keep getting recoined. But the basic, like from the textbook basic ones, is where I said I’m just going to go back to the basics. Yes, an authoritative parent may now be a balanced parent, but it’s still the same parent.

Dr. Candice Jones:

So the authoritative parent is a parenting disciplinary style where the house is like a democracy, if you will. This is the style that is the best for children that has a level of demandedness, balancing what I demand in my child and my expectations, but also balanced with responsiveness to your child. When my child is having emotion … They’re upset or they’re crying or they’re angry, I’m going to respond to them versus, “Be quiet. I don’t want to hear it. Suck it up,” that type of thing.

Dr. Candice Jones:

When I set my expectations and rules and all of those things, and boundaries and structure, at home, that I let my children know what those things are, because I do have some level of demand. And there’s a democracy going on in the sense that we tell our children what those rules are and we also, even going back a little further, we sit down and say, “Hey, you have to do your homework, dude. You have to do your homework. But how can you get that done? Would you like to do a little bit each day or should we pound it out on the weekend? Do you want to start early in the morning or are you a late … When do you learn more? When are you more awake to do this, in the evening? I’m here to just help you. You’ve got to get it done, but tell me what you think.” You know what I mean?

Dr. Candice Jones:

Or when your child comes to you … For instance, my son asked me someday … It was so funny. I’m trying to remember what he said. Oh, it was so cute. He used my words and he gave me the option, “Well, what about that?” I was like, “Oh, you remember. That’s cool.” I was like, “Yeah, you can have that as an option. So what do you think?” and then he told me what he would like to do. So that’s that authoritative approach. Now I was raised authoritarian. Do what I say, not what I do. Don’t ask me why, why [crosstalk 00:09:58].

Dr. Amy Moore:

Because I’m the dad.

Dr. Candice Jones:

Right. I was raised that way. So literally I fight every day. Sometimes my kids say why, I go, [inaudible 00:10:10]. I’m tired. My meter is down. My frustration tolerance is down. I’m tired now. It’s late in the evening. I need you to go to bed. I’ve lost my skills. So we go between that sometimes.

Dr. Candice Jones:

But my goal is to try to shoot for that authoritative approach. It really helps kids not only to choose to behave and make good choices, but also it empowers them with the skills to make good choices for themselves. It serves them down the road as adults, with problem-solving and decision-making and all of those skills. We’re parenting in the moment now, but we are thinking down the road, when they become an adult and we need to prepare them for that.

Dr. Candice Jones:

When we’re authoritarian, which is the next one, and we just make them do what we want them to do, we control everything and they just have to do it our way and when we want it and how we want it and those types of things, they’re left not with a lot of chance to practice and mess up and make mistakes and learn how to make those decisions and do things on their own and problem solve.

Dr. Candice Jones:

And so, we stifle their growth in a sense. It can also create more rebellion intention and all of this stuff in the relationship. So that authoritarian person, again, is more like a dictatorship, that type of parenting.

Dr. Candice Jones:

Certainly there are some times where when your child’s life is in danger, you have to be a dictator. But those should be rare if we set up our relationship and our situation in a way that is supportive and nurturing and guides our children in the right way.

Dr. Candice Jones:

So then you have what we call more permissive parents or a permissive style of parenting. That is where you have low demandedness. There’s really no expectations. “Oh, you’ll figure it out.” “Oh, live your life. You’ll figure it out. It’ll be okay,” but you have a lot of responses. “Oh, you hurt your finger. Oh my god. Come here. She was mean to you. Oh my god.”

Dr. Candice Jones:

You’re just overly hovering and overly responsive and not allowing your child to experience any challenges of life and work through them. You’re not demanding anything of them. So they’re just not going to be able to handle challenges as they become adults. They’re just not going to do well because you haven’t prepared and taught them how to navigate those things.

Dr. Candice Jones:

Then what we call more of negligent type of parenting would be a parenting style where this is one that’s pretty serious, where these parents do provide water and shelter and food, they’re not so negligent to the point where they need to be removed, but they are really not there. The child is basically isolated. They’re just in the house. They can go and come as they please. The parent really pays them no attention. You walk in, no, “Hi, how was your day?” whatever. They’re just disconnected.

Dr. Candice Jones:

That is really damaging to the child because they haven’t seen a healthy relationship. They don’t have connection. We know how connection and belonging really matters in life. And so, they really struggle in life, with relationships, and things of that nature. So we don’t want to be that type of parent either.

Dr. Candice Jones:

So those are the four basic. Of course, like I said, so many coined terms have spouted off of that. But the point of doing that is to not to put anyone in a box because you may be hybrids of different ones. We know in certain culture, there are definitely hybrids of these parenting styles.

Dr. Candice Jones:

For instance, we know that Hispanic families, Asian families, African American families have a type of hybrid of and authoritative and authoritarian and it comes out of protectiveness. And so, a lot of things that are done is in order to protect their child in society, which can be a little more controlling, but it’s from a protective space, which can be harmful in some scenarios.

Dr. Candice Jones:

So we know there’s hybrids, there’s research on that, but these basic styles are there to guide us and to give us a scaffolding, if you will, of what we should be shooting for and which ones have the best outcomes.

Dr. Amy Moore:

So what advice would you give to parents who have two different parenting styles? Mom has one, dad has another.

Dr. Candice Jones:

Yes, I have a nice highlighted box about that after this section, and it definitely needed to be highlighted, because that’s what I see a lot and we all know of this. You could have a multi-generational home where there’s literally grandparent, both parents, and the grandparent has one school of thinking around discipline and parenting and then dad has one and mom has one.

Dr. Candice Jones:

Basically, what ends up happening, if those adults don’t come together and try to have some compromise and a united front in front of those kids and agree upon some basic things, it ends up creating stress and strain, number one, confusing the child and also creating holes for manipulation by the child. It just creates problems. It just creates problems.

Dr. Candice Jones:

So your child quickly, as they get older, will start to learn, “Okay, grandma lets me do whatever I want,” because you could have been authoritarian when you were raising your kids, but by the time you become a grandma, you’re like, “Come on, baby. You want candy? You want drinks? You want whatever? Oh, leave him alone.” They’re coddling. So, “Grandma gives me whatever I want. So I can go to grandma and ask her for something dad already said no for, because he’s the strict one.” Then say, “Grandma, can I have … ?” “Oh sure, baby.” But I know dad said no. That type of stuff can go on, and we don’t want that. Then it ends up the adults end up arguing about it.

Dr. Candice Jones:

And so, that’s just not the environment you want. You need to have conversations, even if you’re co-parenting, outside of your home, in different homes, or you’re married or just co-parenting in the home. You need to decide and come to some compromise on how you want to do this thing.

Dr. Candice Jones:

One of the most important rules, I think, is that keep a united front. Don’t argue about this stuff in front of the child. If you see that they’ve just manipulated you, just give each other eyes. Step away, go discuss what happened, then come back and discuss with the child what your plan is for this situation. Don’t argue in front of the child about it, for sure.

Teri Miller:

That’s good. Yeah.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Would you recommend that one parent take on the role of the disciplinarian? Should one parent be in charge of making all of the decisions and the other parent defer to that, or do you look at this as it needs to be a true partnership?

Dr. Candice Jones:

I think, in reality, that ends up happening. It does. But I think that it should be a partnership. Absolutely. I think children do better when they see that. They learn so many skills from that, that my parents work together, they compromise, they show … I just think it’s just even more powerful when you can do it together. Kids can walk and chew gum at the same time. So if there’s some variations, as long as the basics of it is united, I think kids will do good. Yeah, better when you work together.

Teri Miller:

I appreciate that earlier you talked about that you are going for the goal of authoritative parenting, that that is the goal. We know based on research and evidence that that is the style of parenting, that collaborative leadership, but not just overpowering the kiddo.

Teri Miller:

I appreciate that you said yet when you are exhausted, when you’re just worn out at the end of the day, you might fall into that authoritarian style that you were raised with. It made me think, yeah, I think a lot of us as parents, we fall into this style that maybe … The way we were raised or what feels easiest.

Teri Miller:

And so, yeah, I see that. Thinking about my husband and I, that when he’s tired, he definitely has the goal of authoritative, and that’s mostly his parenting style. But when he’s tired and weary, he goes so permissive. Anything goes. Disney [crosstalk 00:19:52].

Dr. Candice Jones:

Whenever I’m tired. Yeah.

Teri Miller:

Right. You can do anything. Stay up late, [crosstalk 00:19:57].

Dr. Candice Jones:

Just let get some sleep.

Teri Miller:

Yeah. Watch TV screens. I don’t care. He’s just, “Everybody loves daddy.” Then so horribly, I’m like you. When I’m overtired, I’m like, “Oh my gosh, go to bed. I am done.” I go all authoritarian. Absolutely, I could imagine other parents, that when they’re overtired, they just go neglectful. I’m out. I’m done.

Dr. Candice Jones:

Yeah. It definitely will vary. You’re right. We’re all different and may default to our personality, the environment we grew up in, what we’ve been through. And so, to overcome that, again, you have to be very intentional, that you put some fail-safes in place, that you’re seeing yourself and going, “Oh, I’m doing it. Hold up, hold on, hold up,” some of those strategies.

Dr. Candice Jones:

I’ve caught myself. I’m getting better. We’ve got to do our work. But absolutely. Or especially when you’re running late for something. That’s when you don’t have time. There are no choices. But you go, grab your purse, “We’ve got to go. We’re late. You’re going to miss your test.” Then you’re just barking orders. And so, yeah, even though you’re not being mean, you’re just barking orders. There’s not many choices there when we got to go. [crosstalk 00:21:22].

Dr. Amy Moore:

Yes. I parent with the 90-10 philosophy, that 90% is negotiable and 10% isn’t.

Dr. Candice Jones:

There you go.

Dr. Amy Moore:

That’s one of those times where, okay, this timeline is not negotiable. We have to go.

Dr. Candice Jones:

There you go. There you go. [crosstalk 00:21:36].

Dr. Amy Moore:

So I want to dig in a little bit about spanking and physical discipline. It’s a topic I’m super passionate about, and I know you are too. So I’d like for you to talk that. How does it affect kids? What are we getting right? What are we not getting right?

Dr. Candice Jones:

Absolutely. There is so much evidence and research around these topics probably that I couldn’t even get to. It was just so much. But where I started with that is I support the AAP, American Academy of Pediatrics, and we have a wonderful policy statement around discipline. And so, in line with that, that’s where I began, started that foundation.

Dr. Candice Jones:

And so, what we know, in a nutshell, is that aversive or negative forms of discipline, or unhealthy forms of discipline, are harmful to children, number one, and they really don’t work, number two. So we just don’t need to use them. The harmful piece of it is not only is it hitting or spanking physical discipline, that is harmful because you can physically hurt your child, end up with child abuse and, as parents, escalate when their children are misbehaving. I think there’s that slippery slope.

Dr. Candice Jones:

I call them first cousins. You’re spanking, and depending on what’s going on with this child, sometimes we slide down that slope that’s near abuse, or can lead to abuse. So that’s the first thing, the harm of the potential of physical abuse.

Dr. Candice Jones:

Secondly, it can lead to mental abuse, that we know about ACEs, adverse childhood experiences. It can be a source of trauma that ultimately sets your fight or flight system out of control, where you’re dysregulated and your child can be hypervigilant.

Dr. Candice Jones:

All of this stress response that’s overwhelming, your body ends up harming your body, physically, behaviorally, learning. It harms the developing brain and body, which can lead to health problems and all other problems down the road. And so, that’s a piece of it.

Dr. Candice Jones:

Then the modeling of the violence, of the hitting, because some people don’t see spanking as violence. But the modeling of the hitting, if you are angry with your child and you hit, or if your child has done something you’re not pleased with and you hit, you’re telling them that that’s an appropriate response. When I’m angry, you’re not saying it out of your mouth, because you’re saying, “I’m the parent. I can do this to you. This is okay.”

Dr. Candice Jones:

But when you’re angry, you hit. So I can hit. My sister, my brother, my friend, he made me so angry. I lashed out because that is what is modeled to that child. So those are just some of the ways it trickles into their life and can be harmful to them.

Dr. Candice Jones:

Then there is other forms that are unhealthy, like yelling, threatening, demeaning, shaming. All of those things are just as bad as the physical discipline. When you talk about mental and emotional stressors, the impact it could have on their relationships in life with others and adult relationships, work relationships, marital conflict that it can lead to later in life.

Dr. Candice Jones:

And so, when we shame, when we call our children names, when we threaten them and parent them by fear and control, it is just harmful to the developing brain and body and can lead to long-term negative outcomes. That’s what the research has shown. And so, since it doesn’t even work, really, long term, it’s just something we should try to get away from as best we can.

Dr. Amy Moore:

So I want to dig in a little bit about that last statement that you made, about it not working long term. So differentiate there between the immediate … Because there will be parents who say, “Oh yes, it does work. When I spank my child, he stops doing what he’s doing right then.”

Dr. Candice Jones:

Right, and I hear that.

Dr. Amy Moore:

So elaborate on that a little bit.

Dr. Candice Jones:

Right. Absolutely. I hear that. I get that all the time. That’s why I clarify that. So, yeah, if your child is doing something and you scream really loud at them and threaten them for doing it, they’re going to stop in that moment. They’re going to stop in that moment, most children. Or if you hit them for something, they’re going to stop in that moment and cry or be upset. So that’s why parents do it because they feel like it worked.

Dr. Candice Jones:

But in my opinion, nine times out of 10, those behaviors repeat. Those behaviors repeat. One reason is because the child really didn’t learn anything. They learn that don’t do that. They learned that I’m whatever you just called me. I’m bad. I deserved your anger. I deserved to be hit. People really believe that. I believed that when I was a child. Look what I did and the parents are like, “You made me do that.” Well, then don’t do that and then I won’t do that.

Dr. Candice Jones:

Almost like, “Oh, it’s my fault. I’m terrible. I made mom hit me,” or, “I made mom yell at me.” “I made mom angry. So that’s what I deserve.” And so, we don’t want to send those messages, because your children may have done something wrong or, in that moment, something “bad”, but they are not bad.

Dr. Candice Jones:

So we can tell our children and speak to that behavior, “That is inappropriate, but I love you. I still love you,” or, “You’re still my baby and you’re wonderful. You just made a bad choice or a poor choice in that moment.” That’s the message we want to send. But sometimes we send the wrong message.

Dr. Candice Jones:

And so, there is a difference. In short term, they stopped. But most of the time, that behavior repeated because they didn’t learn an alternative. They didn’t learn, “What else can I do?”

Dr. Candice Jones:

And so, one of the things I talk about in the book is being instructive. When your child is doing something you don’t want them to do, tell them what they can do, instead of, “No, stop. Don’t,” or all the other stuff that we say and do.

Dr. Candice Jones:

And so, that’s really a part of it, and really starting early with that because that’s the training and the discipline and the teaching so that they can be smooth sailing as they get older.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Absolutely.

Teri Miller:

I hear you describing an intentionality, like the difference between … And you talk about this in your book, the difference between punishment and training or discipline, that punishment seems to be more associated with anger. It’s unintentional. It’s these things happened, and so parent blows with anger instead of there are intentional processes, there are intentional expectations, and there are planned consequences that are cause and effect, and that can be completely devoid of anger.

Teri Miller:

There’s no anger because it’s just this was the expectation. It wasn’t followed through. This is the discipline or cause … This is the effect from that cause. And so, it’s so much more intentional than I think many parents walk with, live with. We miss that intentionality. I hear you talking about that.

Dr. Candice Jones:

You described that so beautifully. That was spot on. Punishment is more punitive, like you said. It’s like, “You will pay for that.” I had to be frustrated and feel the pain of what you did, so you’re going to pay, too. You’re going to learn today type of thing.

Dr. Candice Jones:

We need to get to that, our schools need to get to that place where discipline is not punitive, in life in general, where things are just always so punitive versus what we … New thing. Well, not so new, but newish in the educational setting that’s wonderful friends, that talk about social-emotional learning, where it’s more restorative in the sense of, like you said, you did something wrong, you knew the rules, there’s an equal and opposite reaction for what you did, cause and effect. And so, unfortunately, we have to do this now. You made the choice. This is the consequence for that.

Dr. Candice Jones:

But also allowing the child to restore themselves. “I’m sorry if I lied about my homework. Now I need to make up the homework. I need to apologize to my teacher, say, ‘I’m sorry, mom.'” There’s responsibility in there and understanding why I did what I did and that I want to do better.

Teri Miller:

Very intentional. So important.

Dr. Candice Jones:

Yeah. Very, very, very.

Dr. Amy Moore:

So I want to talk about attention. You say that attention is apparent superpower. And so, that’s very Howard Glasser-esque, that he talks about water plants, not weeds.

Dr. Candice Jones:

Right.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Yeah. So talk about that.

Dr. Candice Jones:

Yes. Yes, yes, yes. So in the book, I share that early on with my son, who’s now 12, this was his preschool toddler years, we were struggling. I the pediatrician, a very young, early pediatrician, took a parenting class. You can, too. You should.

Dr. Candice Jones:

And so, I gave credit to that behavior analyst who taught that class and described that. I brought her on my podcast. So she says that on my podcast as well. That is your superpower. I don’t know who originally coined that, but that’s what she said to me and it was powerful. That’s what she said on my podcast and it was powerful for the audience.

Dr. Candice Jones:

And so, it just means that your children, especially if you’ve set up a healthy relationship with your children, you have that good relational health, they want to please you. They trust you, they love you, they respect you, and you do the same for them.

Dr. Candice Jones:

And so, they want to please you. They want to be connected to you and they want to say, “Good job,” and respond to them and see what they’re doing. They love that. It really supports their growth and development. Whether they know it or not, it does something for them. We know that. Bonding and attachment from early infancy really supports the growing brain and body.

Dr. Candice Jones:

And so, from very early on, if we’ve done it right, we’ve set them up to love our hugs, our kisses, our affection, our, “Okay,” looking back at them and talking to them and smiling and all of that connection, those connection activities or practices.

Dr. Candice Jones:

And so, with that being said, as they get older and they become terrible twos and terrible threes, because I think this attention really, really, really is for that toddler and preschool period, especially the toddlers, when they’re just, “Rah!” all over the place, they’re busy, they’re active, they are doing what they’re supposed to do. They’re exploring. They’re into everything.

Dr. Candice Jones:

They’re challenging you. They’re figuring out that … This is so important that I write in the book. It’s a period where they’re figuring out, “Oh, I have my own thoughts. I can test this. It doesn’t have to be like mom said.” They’re figuring out their own train of thought. They have a mind of their own. “People have a mind of their own, so I can test this and do it my way.”

Dr. Candice Jones:

So they’re striving for independence. And so, they’re testing us all the time, and it’s frustrating. We can own that. It can be frustrating.

Dr. Candice Jones:

And so, attention is a powerful tool also when they have their emotional dysregulated moments, when they’re tantruming, when they’re melting down. And so, we can take those moments and say, “Okay, I’m going to give my attention to what I want to see.” What I want to see. When they’re doing what I want to see, I’m going to give them my attention. I’m going to praise them. I’m going to reward them. I’m going to let them know I see their efforts, what they’re doing, and I like it.

Dr. Candice Jones:

But when they’re doing things that we don’t want to see, we’re going to remove our attention, or ignore it. That’s so hard to do. I have seen so many parents, and probably done it myself or in those early years, just go, “Stop it. Why are you doing this? Sit down. If you don’t stop crying … “

Dr. Candice Jones:

I literally, which was so sad, had a three-year-old come in. The grandmother brought a video from the teacher videoing the child having a meltdown in the classroom. The grandma thought, and the teacher thought, I was going to take that and just diagnose the child with something wrong with them and all of that, because we point fingers and don’t see the three pointing back at us.

Dr. Candice Jones:

I said, “I’m so sad.” She said, “Why?” I said, “Because, first of all, it’s inappropriate to film a child in front of everybody.” The class was full of other kids. I said, “Can you see how he was reacting to being filmed? He didn’t like that.” “Oh yeah. I do see that.” He didn’t like that.

Dr. Candice Jones:

So what is she doing? Well, she’s making him upset. She’s fueling the tantrum. Then instead of removing her attention, or what we call co-regulating with him, coming in and being nurturing and trying to get in to soothe them down, deescalate him, if you will, she was poking the bear.

Dr. Candice Jones:

“Pick up the chair. Why did you throw the chair down? Didn’t I tell you to get up? You’re going to have to calm down.” She was filming him and poking him with her words. How could he calm down? It was impossible.

Teri Miller:

That’s so awful. Oh my goodness.

Dr. Candice Jones:

It was impossible. I told grandma, “I want to cry. This is terrible. This is a teacher. She should not be teaching toddlers if she doesn’t know how to handle that better. He’s a toddler boy. He might be sticking out like a sore thumb. There may be some very mature three-year-old girls in that room that don’t do this, but this is so within normal development. He’s the only child and this is his first time coming to school.”

Dr. Candice Jones:

So he has no skills to deal with conflict or not being first in line and not wanting follow the teacher’s instructions. He needs patience and support and teaching. Just give him some time. He’ll get in line. The school just started.

Dr. Candice Jones:

So, anyway, that was really bad. She could have easily removed her attention, got herself together, gave him his moment, or even do better with managing the environment, having a quiet place for those moments, or coming in and trying to soothe him down. Then talking to him about the expectations of the classroom.

Dr. Candice Jones:

So, yeah, needless to say, I sent a nice, long … They were probably shocked at my comments. The child didn’t do anything wrong. The adults in the room did. The child was doing what three-year-olds do.

Teri Miller:

That’s such a … Go ahead.

Dr. Amy Moore:

You made an interesting comment. You said he was an only child.

Dr. Candice Jones:

Yes.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Talk a little bit about the trends that you see that might be a little bit different with only children than children who have siblings in terms of behavior.

Dr. Candice Jones:

That’s a great question. So the way I saw it is he lives with his mother and grandmother. He’s the only child. He’s a boy. Grandma admitted it. I mean she gave me the information. She said, “He doesn’t have to share. He doesn’t have anyone that he’s having conflict with over who’s first in line or who wants this chair or this crayon or whatever,” because we know when kids get to preschool, these things happen. “We pretty much honestly let him do what he wants to do.”

Dr. Candice Jones:

So when you get to a classroom, that’s not happening because of their structure. It’s circle time. It’s nap time. It’s eat time. In your seats, please. He’s like, “What the heck is going on? I don’t have to do that. I never had to for the first three years of my life.”

Dr. Candice Jones:

And so, yeah, there were so many elements there that I wished he had a teacher who had some knowledge of child development and parenting skills and would apply them, and have some empathy to this situation. She may not even have known that this is what was going on with the child. And the parents didn’t have the skills to advocate either.

Teri Miller:

Yeah. I think so many new parents don’t even understand the stages, ages and stages, that your book so beautifully describes, that have the mind of a child. I love that section where you really go through and talk about the different ages and stages, so that, as parents, we can understand, “Oh, my toddler’s not bad. My toddler’s right where they need to be, testing the limits. That’s great. If they weren’t testing the limits, I would be more worried.”

Dr. Candice Jones:

Right. Something’s wrong. Yeah. Right. It’s annoying, but if he’s not doing that, why not? Something may be going on there. You’re absolutely right. Oftentimes parents get a little insulted when I suggest that they read parenting books or I give them a website to look at, healthychildren.org. I say we have this program or that program with the Early Learning Coalition, Baby Institute, six-week program.

Dr. Candice Jones:

I say, “I’m not judging you. I even have taken parenting classes.” There are skills to be learned, because parenting is hard. Children challenge us and we have our own stuff going on. And so, we have to work smarter, not harder with this thing and find some strategies that have already been proven to work. We can apply them consistently with our children and make things peaceful at home.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Well, and I think a lot of parents, especially busy parents, want a quick fix. They want to bring the child in and say, “There’s something wrong. Can you diagnose him and give me a pill so we can get on with our lives?” when you’re trying to say, “Wait a minute. A lot of this behavior is normal. We need to look at how we’re behaving and how we’re reacting.” And so, it might take some change in us as parents.

Dr. Candice Jones:

Absolutely. Yeah, that parent in the mirror, the second part of the book. The parent in the mirror. Three whole chapters about doing our work absolutely is so important because we do have our stuff. We have our past, as we’ve talked about. We have any baggage or trauma that we’ve gone through. All of that pours over into our children and our home life.

Dr. Candice Jones:

And so, whatever work we need to do, we’ve got to do it for them and ourselves. It is so important to do that. So self-care, learning some stress management, learning to what I call [wusa 00:44:20], calm down, take some deep breaths, use some mindfulness, knowing your triggers. I say this in the book and I laughed at myself, but I literally talk to myself. That’s my like, okay, you’re getting angry.

Dr. Candice Jones:

And so, I tell this story of my son, knowing after a certain time in the weekends, he’s supposed to be off of his video games. He’s a video game head. I wake up and I hear all this, “Oh no,” all these noises and I’m like, “It’s 2:00 in the morning.” I’m like, “I know … ,” all this stuff I’m saying to myself. “I know he’s not waking up at 2:00 in the morning on a video game. This boy lost his mind,” da, da, da, da, da, da, da, as I’m marching up the steps. He hears me and then he goes quiet.

Dr. Candice Jones:

He was like 10 or 11. He’s 12 now. He had fear like, “Oh my god, I’m in trouble.” I started talking to myself. I’m like, “Okay, Candice. All right, calm down.” I get up there, and this is a moment where I got myself together. I said, simply, “What is the rule? What is the rule?” I had that whole other conversation to myself in my head, and sometimes I make myself laugh. I say a couple of cuss words and all of that stuff, get it all out, and then I breathe.

Dr. Candice Jones:

I said, “What is the rule?” He was just looking at me with these big eyes, “Mom, there was a Fortnite event. I’m sorry, but it started now. I really wanted to … ” “What is the rule?” “Well, I’m not supposed to be on video … ” “After what time?” “10:00.” “So why are you up here?” “Well, because … ” “What is the rule? Okay. Give me the controller. Here’s your consequence. Give me the controllers.”

Dr. Candice Jones:

So he had a nice whole weekend with no nothing. Now you’ve messed it up. You can’t even watch it with your friends again or play it again. You made a poor choice. Follow the rules. You could have watched it in the morning. But they have to watch it when it’s live. They have to watch it when it’s live.

Dr. Candice Jones:

So, anyway, that’s it. That’s discipline. We have rules. You knew better. You made a choice because you can’t control … It’s their choice to make. Now here is the consequence. I haven’t had that happening again.

Teri Miller:

I bet. I bet.

Dr. Candice Jones:

I didn’t have to call names. I didn’t have to hit him. I didn’t have to yell and scream. I did some of that in my head. But that hasn’t happened again. But there were some prior work before that. We have rules. We have boundaries.

Dr. Candice Jones:

He understood what the rule was. Then all I had to do was prompt him with that and then apply. The offense was made with the games, so you lose the games. That was a no-brainer. Sometimes it’s not a no-brainer. Sometimes I’m stuck, like, okay, what am I going to do for this? It’s okay in those moments just to not always feel like we have to come up with something right. Just, “I don’t know what to do right now. Let me think about this and we’ll talk about this later.” It’s okay to do that. That might even go, “Oh wow. She’s got to think about it.”

Dr. Amy Moore:

The anticipation, right?

Dr. Candice Jones:

Right, right, right, right. “She’s got to think about it. Boy, this one’s going to cost me.”

Dr. Amy Moore:

Yeah. So I love how you were able to harness your own frustration before you spoke to him, almost like you have to remind yourself, “Look, this is not a personal offense. He’s not doing this to me. in fact, this isn’t even about me. This is about him trying to fulfill him wants and his needs and his desires.”

Dr. Candice Jones:

You got it. You got it.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Yeah. And so, that makes it a little bit easier then to take the emotion out of it, doesn’t it? I mean when we’re able to say, “Okay, he’s not doing it. This is not a personal affront.” I used to teach early childhood teachers. And so, I would explain, this childhood’s behavior is not about you.

Dr. Candice Jones:

Right, right.

Dr. Amy Moore:

And so, I think as parents, if we can remind ourselves this is about them and what they need, and so we’ve got to help them get there in an appropriate way.

Dr. Candice Jones:

Sometimes I say, “It’s not about you, boo.” It’s just not. You hit it on the head because I say that in the book. It’s just a difference of, like you said, their wants in that moment, that impulsivity of, “I did it before I thought about it,” they are not thinking about you when they made that decision. I think we get so wrapped up in the “disrespect” sometimes, that you’re being disrespectful because you knew the rule.

Dr. Candice Jones:

That implies they thought about you, considered you, and still chose to … That’s not what’s going on. It’s literally just about what they want in that moment. That is a skill that has to be learned. I mean some adults still struggle with that.

Dr. Amy Moore:

With instant gratification, right?

Teri Miller:

Yeah.

Dr. Amy Moore:

So we need to take a quick break and let Teri read a word from our sponsor. Then we’ll come back and wrap up.

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Dr. Amy Moore:

And we’re back talking to Dr. Candice about positive discipline. So if you could leave our listeners with one piece of advice, what would it be?

Dr. Candice Jones:

Oh, that’s a tough question.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Okay. You can give two pieces of it advice.

Dr. Candice Jones:

Oh, I love it. I love it. So let me to take this moment to go through the High Five Essentials. That’s what I want to do.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Right.

Dr. Candice Jones:

Yes, through this book, anything that comes up with your kids, you should be able to work through the High Five Essentials. So High Five Discipline is a positive parenting approach to discipline. I hope that with this book, you will be able to start on that path to raising happy, healthy, well-behaved kids.

Dr. Candice Jones:

But also I want you to be able to create a family discipline plan. That can change with time as they grow and as they development, and when you say, “That didn’t really work for them. Let’s tweak it. Let’s go find some more skills.” So I want you to do those. I want those two things to come out of this book.

Dr. Candice Jones:

So anything that comes up, I think you can apply the High Five Essentials, and they are, number one, a knowledge of child development and parenting skills, which we have so beautifully discussed through this whole conversation. Number two, good relational health. Number three, encouraging appropriate behavior. Number four, discouraging or correcting inappropriate behavior. Number five, managing your environment.

Dr. Candice Jones:

If I can go back, just to highlight a couple of things there, I think we’ve talked about knowledge of child development and parenting skills. I think everybody gets it, right? We agree?

Dr. Candice Jones:

Well, what I would say there is that when you gain … You don’t have to have a child development degree. I sure don’t. I’m a pediatrician. I don’t have that extra degree. But when you have a little knowledge, you have a parenting book or you go to healthychildren.org, learn about or go through my book, how about that, and look at Act Like A Parent, Think Like A Child, learn why your toddler is doing what they’re doing, learn why your teenager is doing what you’re doing as I discuss those common behavioral challenges, then you will start to understand your child better.

Dr. Candice Jones:

It helps guide your disciplinary strategies, but it also helps you set up realistic expectations. You need to meet your children where they are, not where you want them to be, because that would be a mismatch. You’re over here, they’re over here. You’re never going to get it. And so, we need to meet them where they are and know what they can do, not what we want them to do. So that’s the first thing.

Dr. Candice Jones:

The second thing is that good relational health. When I talk about relational health with parents, and I tell a story in the book about this, the first thing I get is, “I’m not going to be my child’s friend.” I don’t know why people go there, right? “You mean I have to be there for … I’m not doing that. I’m not going to do that.” That’s not what I mean.

Dr. Candice Jones:

There are some basic elements of a healthy relationship. Just like you should have that with your friends, with your partner, you should have it with your child. You should have mutual respect. Children deserve respect. They really do. You should have mutual trust. You should be able to trust your child and your child should be able to trust you. There should be love and affection.

Dr. Candice Jones:

So we go through some of those elements and talk about how to establish it and how to check yourself to see that these things are being nurtured. That way you both love, respect, and feel safe and secure with each other. When your child feels that, they will follow you. They will do what you ask them to do for the most part. So that’s why that’s so important.

Dr. Candice Jones:

Then encouraging appropriate behavior. Outside of the first two, that’s one when you talk about I can do something to sway my children’s behavior. This is the one you need to do more of than anything that will help your children make good behavioral choices. That is things like praise and rewards and positive reinforcement, as we say.

Dr. Candice Jones:

And so, those skills are so important, catching your kids being good, letting them know you see their efforts, even if they fall a little bit short. So, so, so important. That will drive them to make good choices. That will drive them to make good choices.

Dr. Candice Jones:

Then four, I think it is, is what you do when they misbehave. But we don’t want to have to do that all the time. We want to be doing more of the other stuff. What we do when they misbehave should be rare if we have the other elements in place.

Dr. Candice Jones:

And so, we have some things that we can do. Again, the goal is not to punish. We utilize different forms of consequences, and we’re consistent with that. Consistency is the key, and your child should know what those things are. Don’t just hit them with some surprise thing. They should have rules and expectations and know what those things are.

Dr. Candice Jones:

Then the last one is managing your environment. It’s so important as well. It is being proactive, not reactive. It’s setting up the environment for their success, their behavioral success. So if I … And I share this story in the book. If I have five things to do today and I’m tugging around a toddler and a baby and I haven’t fed them, I’m not prepared. I’m trying to get all this stuff done for my school-aged child’s birthday party. I didn’t plan ahead. I’m doing stuff last minute. I’m running around. I’m stressed. That is a recipe for disaster. That is not managing the environment.

Dr. Candice Jones:

The baby is going to cry. Ultimately they’re going to have a blowout and get poop everywhere. You’re going to lose your mind, because you probably forgot the diapers, too. Then the toddler is going to have a major meltdown in the middle of somewhere, and you’re going to be embarrassed, which you shouldn’t be because that’s what toddlers do. But that’s how we react.

Dr. Candice Jones:

And so, we can anticipate and prevent this from happening by getting … We could have broken down, “Oh, Johnny’s party is Saturday. What do I need to do this week to get this done?” Maybe even outside of the kids being around. It’s not something you should even … If you have to, I understand. But you can maybe try to do it without them, all of this running around.

Dr. Candice Jones:

Then if you have to, do one thing at a time, not all five, and plan it out. By all means, when you get up that morning, okay, got to have enough bottles, got to have wipes, got to have diapers. Let me take some snacks in case we didn’t get lunch. This is when you pull out those iPads and the phones. Put them in the cart safely. “Here you go, your iPad. Here you … ,” and you have your list. You made your list, so you’re not just roaming around endlessly in the store. You’re trying to just set this thing up to prevent all of the chaos that will ensue.

Dr. Candice Jones:

And so, you can do this at home through structure and routine, eating around the same time each day, having bedtime routines so that you can have some time for yourself at night. Get up and get ready in the morning routines.

Dr. Candice Jones:

So those things help train your kids. That’s what they do successfully at school. They have a routine, they have a schedule, and our children get along as everyone else does it and as they get on that process. And so, we do … Not to be rigid in our home lives, but there needs to be some type of structure so that they can learn and be safe. That’s important.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Absolutely. Well, and we have to have developmentally appropriate expectations, because let’s say we have a bunch of breakables all over our living room and we have a toddler and they break something, well, that’s our fault, right?

Dr. Candice Jones:

Right, there you go.

Dr. Amy Moore:

That’s not our toddler’s fault. And so, getting upset because our toddler has a meltdown because they haven’t eaten all day, because we didn’t plan ahead and bring snacks with us while we drag them for adult errands, that’s on us is what I’m hearing you say, right?

Dr. Candice Jones:

Right. We’ve got to own it. We’ve got to own it. That’s so true.

Dr. Amy Moore:

All right. Fantastic. This has been a great conversation. I’m super excited for our listeners to get your book. So Dr. Candice’s book is called High Five Discipline: Positive Parenting for Happy, Healthy, Well-Behaved Kids. It’s being publish by the American Academy of Pediatrics. We will put a link to purchase her book in the Brainy Books section of our website. We’ll also put a link in our show notes, along with Dr. Candice’s website and social media handles, so that you can connect with her and learn more about her work.

Dr. Amy Moore:

So we are out of time and need to wrap up. If you enjoyed our show, we would love it if you would leave us a five-star rating and review on Apple Podcasts. You can also watch us on YouTube and follow us on social media, @thebrainymoms. So, look, until next time. We know you’re busy moms and we’re busy moms. So we’re out.

Teri Miller:

See ya!

Dr. Candice Jones:

Bye bye.

Connect with Dr. Candice:

Website: www.drcandicemd.com
Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: @drcandicemd
You Tube: Candice W Jones
Podcast: KIDing Around with Dr. Candice
Media Kit: http://www.drcandicemd.com/media-kit 

Buy her book: High Five Discipline: Positive Parenting for Happy, Healthy, Well-Behaved Kids (Amazon Affiliate link)


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