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Sarah MacLaughlin, LSW
Sarah MacLaughlin brings over 20 years of experience to her work with families. She is a licensed social worker and esteemed parenting coach. Sarah is also mom to a kindergartener, and author of the award-winning book, What Not to Say: Tools for Talking with Young Children. She is passionate about advocating for kids and inspiring the adults who care for them to do the best job possible. Please visit Sarah’s website to learn more:

Entries by Sarah MacLaughlin, LSW

One Thing That Always Improves My Parenting

(3) Comments | Posted April 20, 2015 | 3:56 PM

I'm totally guilty of a double standard and have not been following my own advice.

As a parent educator, I spend a lot of time thinking about how adults treat children. I preach about kindness and connection. I go on and on about how we have to model the...

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7 Ways for Parents to Help Stop Sexual Abuse

(8) Comments | Posted March 30, 2015 | 5:44 PM

I shared a savvy piece on my Facebook page last week from Lauren's Kids about how smart parents miss sexual abuse. It got more shares than anything else I posted last week. Or the week before. Or the week before that. Since it struck a nerve,...

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3 Good Reasons to Allow 'Acting Out' at Home

(2) Comments | Posted February 18, 2015 | 2:01 PM

Your kindergartner calls you a poopy-head. Your 8-year-old rolls his eyes and lays the sass on thick. Your 3-year-old gets up from the dinner table incessantly. Your toddler won't stop sticking her fingers up her nose.

These are perfect examples of kids being kids -- certainly in ways that...

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'Tis The Season for Kids Who Are Ungrateful, Entitled Brats

(9) Comments | Posted December 14, 2014 | 4:16 PM

Here come the holidays! Get ready -- kids WANT things. They will whine! They may even do or say things that make you think they are majorly spoiled brats.

They aren't.

But this cultural tale, writ large on the pages of our society (and parenting blogs), is both pervasive...

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Can You Trust Your Child?

(0) Comments | Posted October 21, 2014 | 5:29 PM

Trust your child. Really, just try it.

Trust that he or she is doing the very best they possibly can under the circumstances. They are calling none of the shots. They have few rights and zero power. Not to mention their still-developing brains and emotional instability.

We need...

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Talking to My White Child About Race

(1) Comments | Posted August 29, 2014 | 2:20 PM

I still haven't figured out how to speak with my 6-year-old son about the violent, racial injustices that have recently occurred. I wrote this a couple of years ago and it offers a place to start for talking to your child about race. We must all keep doing this.

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An Open Letter to British Nanny Emma Jenner

(26) Comments | Posted July 17, 2014 | 11:32 AM

Dear Emma,

Congratulations on your successful article here on The Huffington Post. I know how thrilling it must have been to watch those likes just climb and climb. Over a million likes! That's really amazing. And sadly, it's not surprising. Adults, even those who are parents themselves, tend to...

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When Parenting Breaks Your Heart

(2) Comments | Posted June 2, 2014 | 6:11 PM

Once you are a parent, your pores open up and more of life's stuff gets inside you. You can't screen out the horror stories about what happens to little children because there is a little child on your lap now, and you can't help thinking, Oh my God, what if...

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Hört auf, eure Kinder herumzukommandieren!

(0) Comments | Posted May 24, 2014 | 10:37 AM

Bekommen Sie gerne gesagt, was Sie zu tun oder zu lassen haben? Ich habe noch keinen einzigen Menschen getroffen, der das gerne hört. Egal ob man vier oder 40 ist, dieser Satz ist bei niemandem ein Favorit. Ich weiß selbst, wie wichtig es ist, dass Kinder auf das hören, was...

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Stop Telling Kids to 'Do What You're Told!'

(13) Comments | Posted May 20, 2014 | 4:42 PM

Do you want to be told what to do? I haven't found a single person who likes it. Whether you're 4 or 40, it's generally not a favorite. I know you still need your kids to follow directions, I really do. But the old ways of getting kids to do...

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3 Things Parents Have to Actually Do (Not Just Talk About)

(0) Comments | Posted April 25, 2014 | 2:29 PM

Some things are best taught through example. We teach our kids 100 percent of the time through our actions; when your words and deeds don't match, they notice. Why not take advantage of the fact that young people watch and imitate our every move? Here are three areas where you...

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7 maneiras novas de contornar as birras de seu filho pequeno

(0) Comments | Posted April 1, 2014 | 9:19 AM

Quando seu filho pequeno olha diretamente para você e diz "não, não vou fazer isso", "odeio você!" ou "você não pode me obrigar", há algo nisso que desafia você até a alma.

Mas você não é o único a se sentir assim. Longe disso.

É possível lidar melhor com esse...

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Why Shame Sucks (Especially for Kids) and How You Can Stop It

(0) Comments | Posted February 12, 2014 | 1:04 PM

What is shame? You know, those awful feelings of not fitting in, not belonging, and being horribly wrong. If you are a human, I'm sure you know what I mean. Why does shame suck? Shame is a useless, no good feeling. Shame holds us back, keeps us small, and deters...

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How to Set Limits for Kids Without Harshness, Fear or Shame

(2) Comments | Posted January 22, 2014 | 4:43 PM

I am not a proponent of permissive parenting. Kids need boundaries and limits to feel safe. But setting and enforcing them is tricky, especially if you are trying to avoid coercion, threats and bribes. The "calm and firm limit" is a parenting muscle that has to be exercised and built...

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7 formas de manejar la actitud desafiante de tus hijos

(1) Comments | Posted January 19, 2014 | 8:53 AM

Cuando tu hijo te mira fijamente a los ojos y te dice: "No, no voy a hacerlo", "Te odio" o "No puedes obligarme", sientes que te está desafiando y no sabes cómo actuar.

Tranquila, no eres la única.

No obstante, puedes llevar mejor este comportamiento incómodo si tratas de que...

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7 New Ways to Navigate Defiance From Your Child

(61) Comments | Posted January 14, 2014 | 1:02 PM

There is something about your child looking you straight in the eye and saying, "No, I won't do that," "I hate you" or "You can't make me" that challenges you to the core.

You are so not alone.

However, you can handle this annoying behavior better when your...

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