Grandparent Feature

Emotionally Focused Parenting Tips from Popular Books

By Michelle Garcia, B.A. & Allyson Kraus, B.S.,
Department of Human Development and Family Studies
Colorado State University

Christine A. Fruhauf, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Director, HDFS Extension
Colorado State University

child holding adult hand

There are a lot of parenting resources in the public and, as a result, it can be difficult to know who to seek guidance from. Below are some simple tips from three well-established parenting books. In addition to these tips, we suggest you borrow from your local library these books and enjoy reading additional parenting tips.

Parenting with Love and Logic: Teaching Children Responsibility by: Foster Cline & Jim Fay

The philosophy of Love and Logic is that parents should both compassionately enforce limits with their children, and teach them to make healthy choices that will prepare them for adult life. Some of the key elements of Love and Logic are to offer choices, and to allow natural consequences. For example, bedtime is a good example of when to use this approach. When giving choices, it is important for grandparents to offer only the choices that they would be comfortable with their grandchild picking. At bedtime it might be, “do you want to brush your teeth before or after you put on your pajamas?” Once your grandchildren are in bed, the Love and Logic parent would enforce “grandparent time,” letting their grandchild know that they can do whatever they want in their room as long as they are quiet. If your grandchild chooses to stay up all night, you still get a good night’s rest, and your grandchild deals with the natural consequence of going to school all day without sleep. An experience they are not likely to want to repeat!

The 5 Love Languages of Children by: Gary D. Chapman & Ross Campbell

When your grandchild exhibits passive-aggressive behavior, they are indirectly expressing anger, This is typically directed towards an authority figure. Anger is the emotion that comes out when children feel like their goal is being blocked, whether that's to play outside, avoid homework, or eat dessert first. Passive aggressive behavior is meant to upset someone who is telling the child what to do because that someone may be viewed as getting in the child's way. Passive-aggressive behavior can show itself through procrastination, stubbornness, and/or "forgetting". The reason grandparents often struggle to deal with their grandchild's passive-aggressive behavior is that they try to solve the problem caused by the behavior instead of addressing the behavior itself. For example, if your grandchild is being passive-aggressive by not cleaning his/her room, a grandparent may try to problem solve with him/her in ways of making cleaning his/her room easier. However, if the grandchildren’s goal is to upset the grandparent, this kind of intervention will not get the room clean. Anger needs to be expressed, and passive-aggressive behavior is an example of an unhealthy expression of anger. However, if you do not let grandchildren express their anger out loud, then it eventually will come out in their behavior. If you sense that your grandchild is acting out because they are upset with you, be direct with them and ask them why they are angry or upset. Giving them a chance to talk or yell about it allows them to get it out in the open so you can help them come to a resolution.

How to Talk so Kids Will Listen & Listen so Kids Will Talk by: Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish

Most children have a general sense of how their caretakers (i.e., parents, grandparents, teachers, etc.) view them, such as a 'problem child' or a 'perfect child'. Children learn how they are viewed by the labels their caretakers apply to them, such as difficult, smart, frustrating, or caring. When children believe that their caretakers have a positive view of them, they are more likely to have a positive view of themselves. When children believe that their caretaker does not have much hope for their success, they can begin to believe that there's no point in trying to change. For example, when a child fails a math test and he/she is told that he/she is stupid and bad at math, it is highly unlikely that he/she will be inspired to try harder next time. However, when a child fails a math test and he/she are told that he/she may not have studied hard enough or may not have realized he/she needed more help, he/she are given concrete steps to take to improve in the future. Inspiring change in your grandchild's behavior is all about praising effort that's aimed towards his/her goal rather than assigning labels.

For more information on Love and Logic parenting, check out their website:

For more information on the 5 Love Languages of Children, check out their website:

For more information on How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk, check out their website: