Progressive Parenting Secret #2: Extreme Listening

Two simple tips to help us really listen to our little ones. Again, in my progressive parenting “Extreme” Series, I simply mean that these “secrets” are extreme because they are not the norm for how our society things parents should treat children. They’re really not extreme at all.


Oh, the Whining!

Oh, the Whining!

1) Saying, “I hear you”. Say “I hear you” both when your child is staying something wonderful and also when your child is whining. Letting your child know they are heard and not ignored when you are about to say “and” or “but” or “no” as in:

“I am hearing that you want a cookie and I said you will have a cookie after you have had a few bites of beans.”

And then, instead of just saying “I love you” back, I sometimes say “I hear you say you love me. That makes me feel so happy. I love you too.”

For my daughter and myself, we both feel so much better after I have said that I’ve heard her.

2) Refraining form Shushing. Saying “Shh” can be a helpful calming technique for some infants, but it is a very disrespectful thing to do to a toddler or preschooler. So your little one is whining for your attention or saying something awful, or “fake” crying, or repeating ad nauseam or crying dramatically. Yes, it is annoying and sometimes we run out of the right things to say in response. But the first time I ran out of something to say as a response to whining and I said “Shh” was a very difficult experience for me. I heard it come out of my mouth and I felt I had stabbed both of us in the heart and I had “shut her up.”

Turning to someone who is trying to vocalize a need, perceived need, a want or a discomfort and telling them to hush is extremely disrespectful. We would never “shh” an adult. Shushing does equate to “shut up and shut down.”

Instead, you can breathe a loud, deep breath and ask for the child to breathe with you. Instead, we can we can simply say “I hear you.” Instead, we can say “I don’t know what to do/say.” The child gets to have his experience. You get to witness his experience. We don’t  always have to change or fix his experience.    #greatestlessonofall  #codependentnomore ;)

See Progressive Parenting Secret #1:

Secret Number 3:

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About mooreamalatt

Moorea Malatt is the founder of, an online resource for gentle and naturally-minded early parenting challenges. Moorea is an expert in gentle (and early) potty learning, gentle sleep learning and gentle discipline. Moorea is the author of online learning programs, books and blogs. She leads sold-out workshops and provides private phone consults. Moorea is an event speaker in the specific areas of potty, gentle discipline and sleep learning without Cry-It-Out. As a parent, she overcame severe sleep deprivation due to her daughter’s sleep disorder, enjoyed gentle early potty learning tremendously and revels in parenting gently with clear boundaries and respect and consistency. Moorea has 20 years of experience with parents and young children as a preschool teacher, certified postpartum doula, infant and overnight nanny, creative life coach, and religious educator in Jewish, Buddhist and Christian settings. She enjoys horticulture and greening, birding, snorkeling and marine biology, and crafting imperfectly. She cannot cook worth beans, but enjoys a good sugar-free baking science experiment. Moorea also wrote, sang and played guitar on an album of songs called, “Whip It Out: Songs for Breastfeeding“. She was the owner, director and curriculum designer of Genius: A Baby Academy in Seattle before moving to Berkeley, CA where she coaches parents from all over the globe, teaches local classes and is one of three fabulous 3 mompreneurs creating Grow, a new and exciting pregnancy and parenting resource in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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3 Responses to Progressive Parenting Secret #2: Extreme Listening

  1. phillipahnen says:

    This is fantastic! Thank you for putting in plain text the need to validate the emotions of children. Everyone feels better when they feel heard… I think it’s not something we’re culturally good at… but what a gift to give our children to teach this kind of “emotional intelligence” by example and give them this trust in their own emotions as– not right or wrong– but important indicators of who they are.

  2. Pingback: Progressive Parenting Secret #1: Extreme Modeling | MamaLady

  3. Pingback: Progressive Parenting Secret #3: Boundaries | MamaLady

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