Gentle Discipline | Expert Sarah Ockwell-Smith

Atomic Moms Podcast | Host Ellie Knaus | Parenting Podcast |, biting, hitting, kicking, or screaming. What to do and how to discipline? Author, expert, and mom of 4, Sarah Ockwell-Smith is here to help. Y'all, the newborn honeymoon stage is wearing off - you can hear the edge in my voice - and we’re figuring out how to be this new and improved version of our family. I'm exhausted and a tad overwhelmed. Almost 4 year-old Big Sis is incredibly loving towards and crazy patient with her baby sister's needs and colic wails. (Seriously. She's crushing it). But I’m having a hard time mustering up the energy to parent my eldest as patiently as I have in the past. Parent coach, author, and mother of 4 Sarah Ockwell-Smith gives me an expectations reality check and some skills to make home life easier, along with other advice from her brand new book GENTLE DISCIPLINE: Using Emotional Connection – Not Punishment – to Raise Confident, Capable Kids (August 29, 2017). After listening to this episode, you better believe I'm marking my calendar for 2030. Listen to the episode to find out why.

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In this interview, we discuss:

  1. min 2:38 - What does discipline actually mean? And what are the differences between authoritative, permissive, and gentle discipline?
  2. min 5:38 - When on Earth will all this gentle discipline with my preschooler finally pay off? lol
  3. min 10:o2 - What if you don't naturally gravitate towards an earth mama vibe? Can you still learn this parenting style?
  4. min 11:20 - Sarah gives a whole new meaning to "potty time".
  5. min 15:30 - Sarah explains her WHY HOW WHAT method.
  6. min 18:15: - How to gently handle when your child tries to hit, kick, or bite you (nobody else has ever had that happen, right?)
  7. min 23:40 - Sarah helps us make S.E.N.S.E. of tantrums at any age.
  8. min 28:49 - What to do if my child doesn't seem to care about hurting other kids' feelings.
  9. min 34:10 - Tips for raising naturally assertive daughters.
  10. min 36:21 - How to be a champion for our kids.
  11. min 37:31 Sarah gives Ellie a reality check about the life of a 3 year-old.

Ellie's Post Show Ah Ha! 

I've always known that I can't try to reason with my child when she's in flight or fight mode. BUT after this conversation, I realized how my big struggle has been wanting her to process through those feelings more quickly. Like I want to acknowledge her feelings, and then have her just get over them already. That's about my need to control. I'm now working on my patience in letting her get everything out of her system (in a safe and respectful way) before attempting to reason or give alternatives.


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About Our Podcast Guest:

Sarah Ockwell-Smith is the mother of four children and a highly regarded parenting expert whose work and expertise has been featured in major media including BBC News Magazine, WebMD, Buzzfeed, as well as national television and radio. She has a BSc in Psychology and has also undertaken training in Hypnotherapy and Psychotherapy. A member of the British Sleep Society, Sarah specializes in gentle parenting methods as well as the science and psychology of parenting. She is co-founder of the GentleParenting website and writes a popular parenting blog at

Additional Naptime Reading by Sarah Ockwell-Smith:
Podcast Pairing:
If you like our latest episode, also check out our archived episode with Susan Stiffelman: "Parenting Without Power Struggles". In this podcast, we ask the big questions, like: How can we be the calm and loving leaders our children deserve? What % of interactions with our children are about getting them to do what we want? How can we strengthen our relationship with our sons and daughters at any age? How can we stop nagging and have our kids listen? And what the heck should we do if we are in a power struggle with an extended relative or in-law?
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Atomic Moms Podcast | Host Ellie Knaus | Motherhood |