Skip to main content

My New Favorite Parenting Phrase

I have a new favorite parenting phrase! And all credit has to go to Mars from Montessori on Mars for giving it to me. She modeled this simple phrase, "I'm concerned that..." with her daughter and it was so totally brilliant that I had to try it. And, guess what, it WORKS! It really really works, so I have to share. 

So, when do I use it?! For us it has been the perfect way to reach a child without causing a power struggle when there is either something that has to be done or there is a child what is likely to get hurt from continuing the same course of action. But honestly, I use this phrase all of the time now. Daily. Here are a couple of examples.

As a Montessori parent, "I'm concerned that..." has become my go to phrase for helping children assess risk and avoiding a power struggle

One, Gus, is climbing on the back of our couch. Except instead of just climbing (which I don't mind in principle) he's also being chased by an older sibling as part of some game. They are all having fun so it's not something I need to stop completely and I don't want to intervene and force a solution. So, I simply say, "Augustus, I'm concerned that you're going to fall off the couch when moving so quickly." It gives him a second to assess his own risk and make a decision based on that assessment. And 9 times out of 10, he happily makes a safer choice. 

Or, let's say Henry is running around trying to get ready to leave for a playdate. He's packing everything but the coat he needs. "I'm concerned that if you don't put your coat on you'll forget it here." And, bam, the coat is on! If I had asked him to put his coat on directly he would have either said he didn't need it, or continued to push it off. Again, it was just enough of a pause to allow him to assess the risk that I saw in a situation. 

As a Montessori parent, "I'm concerned that..." has become my go to phrase for helping children assess risk and avoiding a power struggle

My goal here isn't immediate compliance with the risk that I am assessing. If I saw actual danger (versus just some risk and this doesn't have to be risk of harm) then I would step in more concretely. But these are for those times when you want to suggest one way but give the child some autonomy in the decision. I'm not nagging. I'm not forcing. I'm expressing a genuine feeling and emotion and explaining why. And, it resonates. 

So, next time you can see a consequence that your child can't. Try it. "I'm concerned that you'll fall from the counter." "I'm concerned that we will run out of time to go to the library if we don't get dressed." "I'm concerned that throwing the ball in here will break the lights." "I'm concerned that..." 

Have you ever tried this phrase? Or something like it? What's your favorite parenting phrase? 

As a Montessori parent, "I'm concerned that..." has become my go to phrase for helping children assess risk and avoiding a power struggle



Unknown said…
Oh so beautiful and doesn’t sound like nagging👌🏻
Nicholette said…
I like this! I often ask "how will you feel fall off the couch" or something similar, which has the same effect on my son. I'll definitely give "I'm concerned..." a try tomorrow.

Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2020

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure! 2020 UPDATE: This list is updated for another year! Enjoy a variety of Montessori friendly finds from both major retailers and smaller shops!  So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.  First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created toys, but only works for classroom settings. While there are many works that I recommend for home school use, you won't find these

Sensitive Periods from Birth to 6 - A Chart and Guide

Dr. Maria Montessori spent her life observing, studying, and writing about children. During her lifetime of work she discovered that young children move through a series of special times when they are particularly attracted to specific developmental needs and interests. She called these times, sensitive periods. During the sensitive period, children learn skills related to the sensitive period with ease. They don't tire of that work, but seek it, crave it and need it. When the sensitive period passes, this intense desire is gone, never to return.  That doesn't mean the skill is lost forever once the sensitive period is over. Instead, it just means that it will take a more conscious effort to learn. As Dr. Montessori explains,  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. "A child learns to adjust himself and make acquisitions in his sensitive periods. These are like a beam that lights interiorly a battery that furnishes energy. It is this sensibility which enables

Our Kids' Montessori Gift Lists 2020

With the holiday season upon us we've been making lists and gathering gifts for the Kavanaugh children. It's always a fun process of observing my children, seeing what they would really be interested in and making some decisions based on what I see. This year is different because I'm also making decisions knowing that we are looking at a very long and quiet winter ahead. So that's influencing the amount I will buy and the specific choices I will/have made.  Henry and Nora are also at the point, being into the second plane of development, where they heavily influence the items on the list and what is ultimately purchased. So, you'll see that while Montessori influences what I will purchase and what goes on their list, so does their own preferences and personality.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Theodore Teddy is 14-months-old right now and as the fourth baby, we have so many toddler things. But, there are a few things I've still found tha