How do you act under pressure

Education without pressure

Upbringing without pressure - sounds easy, but this is not always feasible in everyday situations. Riding a bike and scooter with three children under 6 is always a little adventure. It works pretty well for us now - if not a child “blocks” it.

Sometimes little things are enough like a sign that is interpreted differently or a garbage can that is wrong and nothing works from one second to the other. No forwards, no backwards. One of my boys is stuck in a blockade - and that in the middle of the sidewalk 🤷🏻‍♀️.

Do you know that, too? We have 5 strategies how you can deal better with blockages and denial among the kids.

"If you don't come now, I'll go without you!"

Who has not at least thought or even said something like this or similar sentences? In my situation on the road, too, it was obvious. I was just barely able to hold it back 🙊.

Because a conflict that begins with such sentences can escalate quickly: the child experiences stress and expresses it, for example, by refusing, withdrawing or even lashing out. We may get even more stressed (especially when it's in public) and increase the pressure “If you keep acting like this, we'll never ride bikes together again!” Nonsense, actually I want us to ride bikes ...

In most cases, pressure creates back pressure

If we react to a blocked attitude in our kids with pressure, scolding, shame or even higher volume, our kids do not learn to do things differently, but feel stress. And in most cases they can't handle that well and we all get caught up in a spiral of conflict 💥.

But wait: don't we parents sometimes have to take action? Sure, when it comes to safety 🚸. For example in traffic, in the kitchen or when siblings are fighting too hard. We have to intervene and ensure a safe environment as calmly as possible. But not every situation is relevant to security.

5 strategies to avoid blockages and refusals - without any pressure

# 1 Change the way you look at the child

Experts agree: our child does not choose to be stubborn on purpose. It just doesn't find any other language to express itself, no other solution to the situation. With the attitude that our child needs our support, we get out of our own imagination faster and open ourselves to the world of possible solutions 🎗️

# 2 Allow time & buffers

Studies and our own surveys show that we see our parenting life as a great challenge. This stress can quickly transfer itself to our behavior with the kids. A tip: plan breaks, buffers and more time. My rule of thumb is:
(Number of children x time I need) + 50% buffer.
With 3 children, the 5-minute cycle path to the kindergarten gives: 22 minutes ⏱️🤩. So I consciously plan the time to look at one or the other sign or to push a garbage can aside.

# 3 Reduce basic stress factors in kids' lives

If we know the stress factors of our kids (for example frequent transitions during the day, the hustle and bustle in kindergarten), we can try to reduce them and the pressure in children. Nora Imlau recommends, among other things, planning conscious relaxation and breaks for the children, clearing out the children's room and setting up a toy swap station (e.g. in the basement or in the parents' bedroom), reducing the number of appointments or introducing relaxation rituals, such as drinking tea or a little one Massage.

# 4 Recognize feelings, name feelings

If we don't want our children to process their emotions through yelling, hitting, withdrawing, or refusing, then we need to show them ways in which to recognize and name feelings. If there's a fire, it's best to start a dialogue: "You seem very desperate to me. What happened?" or “I see that you are not doing well. Are you mad?" Important: explore the cause together so that children learn what's behind their emotional reactions and learn to understand their own triggers.

# 5 Think in terms of solutions instead of consequences

Perhaps you are thinking: "I am not negotiating with a 4-year-old whether he rides a bicycle or not!" That's right, there is nothing to negotiate when it comes to security issues. But for most other issues it is worthwhile to think with the child about which solution would be feasible for both of you. “What do you think could work for us now? Do you have any idea?"

It is not a loss of face to involve our children in finding a solution to a mutual conflict - even if it may feel that way at first. It is also not bad to take back the first quick shot of your own and say “You know what, that was nonsense, what I said. I just want us to get home safely. How do we do it? "

We don't raise children, we raise adults. Another reason to meet our children without pressure, because this is how we influence their behavior in adult life ❤️.


Nicola Schmidt has written a book with “Education without scolding” that contains many good tips and hacks on how education can work without scolding, shaming and shouting. It is also about how we can regulate our own stress level in order to be present in everyday family life.