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Connect, don’t correct. The empathetic parent does these 4 things

Kids respond better to an empathetic parent.

Summer is a season of flexibility, especially when it comes to parenting. The usual parenting do’s and don’ts seem to take a backseat as we embrace the laid-back vibe of the season, but if there’s one thing that should remain constant in your parenting approach, not just in summer but all year round, it’s empathy.

Andee Martineau, an author and parenting coach, is a strong advocate for empathetic parenting. She shared four ways to be a more empathetic parent.


Andee shared, “I always wanted to be the Mother Teresa kind of mom, but eight years into parenting, I had become the yelling, frustrated, and out of control kind of mom.” This realization led her to change her parenting approach.

Andee recalled a defining moment that made her reconsider her parenting style. Her toddlers had snuck into the playroom and created a mess with a Costco-sized bottle of baby powder. “I walked in and I just lost my mind. I started yelling. I started doing all the things I was typically doing and realized as I looked down at my then three-year-old, that I had crushed his hopes and dreams.”

This was the moment she decided to stop correcting and start connecting. She got on their level, calmed down, and cleaned up the mess. She noticed a significant change in her children’s reaction. They wanted to listen to her. They reacted differently because she reacted differently.

Corrective vs Connective Parenting

Andee categorizes parenting into two types: corrective and connective. Corrective parenting is what we typically think of as parenting. It’s about telling your child what to do and what not to do. Connective parenting, on the other hand, is about creating an environment where children get to be who they are.

The Benefits of Connective Parenting

One of the standout benefits of connective parenting is the impact and influence you get to have when you are in a relationship with your child where there’s trust and safety. “Safety is really the solution. If they don’t feel safe, their nervous systems don’t get regulated. They go into fight or flight, and they don’t engage in the tug of war. Things just go so smoothly,” Andee said.

Accepting the Child, Not the Behavior

Andee emphasized that accepting the child is very different than accepting the behavior. “When I can accept that this is the best my child can do in this moment, and it might be terrible, it might be really limited based on whatever’s happened for them, and they’re so dysregulated, they’re so upset… when I can accept my child and I can come with this calm nervous system, then my child gets the opportunity to mirror that back.”

Unconditional Love Over Discipline

Andee firmly believes that unconditional love is better than discipline. “If we can come in and we can accept that this is my child’s best today, then everything else will work out. We don’t need to discipline. Discipline doesn’t even become a thing anymore because they choose us. They want to listen to us.”

You can find more advice from Andee at connectmethodparenting.com. Listen to her podcast, “Connect Method Parenting,” on Apple Podcasts.


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