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Getting Started with Hand in Hand Parenting

If parenting feels tough right now, you've come to the right place. If your child's behavior leaves you frustrated and feeling out of control, you've come to the right place. If you are stuck with how to stop your child hitting or acting aggressively, continually whining or wanting to cling to you all day, you've come to the right place. If you are tired of yelling, or tired of feeling exhausted, you've come to the right place.

Hand in Hand Parenting is a warm community where you can share your parenting challenges and get practical tools to help that are simple to grasp and to apply. This parenting approach is founded in empathy and connection – for you and your child.

Parents across the globe use this approach use five tools over and over to help overcome behavior challenges. These tools are fantastic when other mainstream parenting advice has not worked in your family. Parents whose children are strong-willed, sensitive, have a history of trauma or defiance find these connecting tools make all the difference.

If you are just getting started with Hand in Hand Parenting, use this post as a guide to getting to know us and all you can do to get support and lead your family to new breakthroughs.

We've been supporting parents for three decades, and we're so glad you found us.

What is Hand in Hand Parenting?

Hand in Hand Parenting is a non-profit founded to help parents with the difficult work of raising children. Despite being the most important work that many of us will do in our lives, parenting remains ignored and under-supported. We help when parents are confused and frustrated about their child's behaviors. On days they feel stuck, yell more,

The Hand in Hand approach is based on brain-science and takes full consideration of a child's emotional world. Our tools help parents build a stronger connection with their children, in a positive, nurturing approach.

Which Behaviors Does Hand in Hand Parenting Help With?

Supporting Parents…

Parents use our tools everyday to help with:

  • Child aggression and defiance
  • Tantrums, upsets, and meltdowns
  • Whining and attention-seeking behaviors
  • Sleep, eating, and toileting challenges
  • Improving low confidence and anxiety
  • Sibling rivalry
  • Separation anxiety
  • Overcoming trauma
  • We also have parents who use the tools with children with autism.

As a parent can expect to feel more relaxed and confident in your parenting as you learn how to apply the tools and start solving your parenting challenges.

Support For Professionals Working With Children

Hand in Hand Parenting tools are also used by therapists in practice, doctors and nurses in medical settings, and by teachers and carers in nurseries, daycares, kindergartens, and schools. We are now working on a curriculum that will support early preschool educators bring connecting tools into classrooms. You can read all about the research project here.

If you are a professional who works with children and you want more connecting strategies to use this page has many resources.

How Did Hand In Hand Parenting Begin?

Hand in Hand Parenting is a parenting approach founded by Patty Wipfler. The approach is informed by latest brain science, and we three decades' experience working with parents and carers of children.

Today, we are a global non-profit, with certified instructors trained in the Hand in Hand approach working with families across the globe.

All sales from our books and classes are used to create more resources, run parenting workshops with underserved communities, and on scholarships for parents who want to take Hand in Hand Parenting classes and can't otherwise afford to.

What Parenting Style Is Hand In Hand Parenting?

We are an authoritative parenting approach, that is child centered, warm and nurturing. Children raised using Hand in Hand Parenting's five tools are emotionally-healthy, resilient kids, with a strong parent-child bond.

What Child Ages Does Hand in Hand Parenting Work With?

Any age! Whether your child is 3 months, 3 years, 13 years or older and if you live or work with a child, these tools work. Many parents find us when their children are just emerging from babyhood and becoming a person with a voice – and will – of their own, and we also regularly see breakthroughs with children of all ages.

It is never too late to adopt the tools and turn around challenging behavior.

How Does the Approach Work?

Hand in Hand Parenting centers on five tools that you can use every day in your parenting, including those really challenging moments. The tools help you understand your child's emotional processes, their difficult behaviors, and give you practical and supportive ways to respond to helps them co-regulate, cooperate and build confidence.

How Often Should I Use the Tools?

You'll see big boosts in the relationship that you share with your children when you use each of the tools regularly and in tandem. Children become more playful, resilient and confident. They'll be more cooperative, ready to share and try new things.

How Do I Use These Five Tools?

It's up to you! Although the tools work in almost every parenting challenge – including anger and aggression, eating and sleeping issues, sibling rivalry, and sharing, tantrums, and clinginess – we don't prescribe a one-size-fits-all approach. Why? You know your family far better than us!

The tools will help you identify why a child acts how they do and when, and then you can choose which tool will work most effectively for you

What Are The Hand In Hand Tools and How Do They Work?

Special Time – Special Time is a tool you can use daily to build trust and connection with your child, and will help boost their resilience and confidence.

Setting Limits – Our three-step approach to setting limits is calm, warm and firm, giving your child a solid expectation framework in which to thrive.

Staylistening – Provides you with a way to anchor your child through their big upsets and practices co-regulation.

Playlistening – Shows you how to respond to your child in their language – using the therapeutic superpower – play!

Listening Partnerships – Helps you manage all the worry, frustration, stress and sadness that you can feel as a parent, and return to your family reenergised and repowered.

How Is It Possible To Parent Without Punishment?

Hand in Hand Parenting's approach is based on connection and informed by brain-science. We know that when connection breaks, it triggers a child's upsets.

They may signal the upset too us by crying or tantruming, whining, or acting aggressively. Punishments like time-outs, bribing with consequences or rewards further accelerate the feeling of disconnection, and so the behavior continues and often worsens.

The Hand in Hand Parenting tools focus on rebuilding the connection so that the behavior stops. This gives you a supportive and non-punitive way to respond that helps a child co-regulate.

How Can I Get Started With Hand in Hand Parenting?

Our tools give you an empathetic way to parent that for many of us feels new and different – and it can take time to learn and adjust. Our mission as a non-profit is giving you as much support as possible, with places where you can learn, ask questions and find community. You deserve the same warmth and connection you give to your child.

You'll find lots of free support and resources, right here on our website. Click on specific topics or use the search bar to view our articles, blog posts, podcasts, support groups, and classes.

Our best advice is to make use of all the tools. See your parenting as a practice. Some days will be harder than others. But you will see big breakthroughs, and you will gain a deep understanding of your child's habits, emotions, triggers and delights.

One of the best things we hear from parents is that when they use these tools they experience more laughter and play with their kids, and more joy as a parent.

How Do I Start Using The Five Tools?

Start by reading these introductory posts, or join our Refresh class. In Refresh you'll get a step by step guide to using each tool in the Hand in Hand Parenting approach, with videos, action steps and printables. You can choose what you want to pay to take this class.

Also jump right into our parent support group on Facebook, where you can ask any questions as you start using the tools in your family.

If you have a child over 10, this group for tweens and teens is just for you.

Get These Three Free Guides

If you are new here, read these three free guides:

How Children's Emotions work: Free guide

Free Guide to Children's Anger: Reaching For Your Angry Child

Turn 5 Minutes A Day Into Connection Time: Free Guide to Special Time

Read The Book

Read the book Listen, by founder Patty Wipfler. The book gives a thorough introduction of each tool, with hundreds of examples from real families who use them. It's available in paperback, ebook and audio and every penny made from book sales goes back to Hand in Hand Parenting. We use those funds to create more resources and run community programs. You can buy via Amazon, audible or direct from us.

Take A Class

Next: Take a class. We have eight to choose from:

Get Regular Support

Parenting is a practice, and we have many ways for you to get regular support.

  • Join our Parent Club: Membership gives you daily contact with instructors and community, new resources, checklists and reminders, regular Q&A's with Patty Wipfler, and discounts on classes and other gatherings.

I'm at Breaking Point! What Can I Do?

If your child's behavior seems unworkable and you are at a loss for what to do, we offer personalised confidential one-on-one consultations. You can find out more here.

You Deserve Support

As a parent, you deserve a community where you can get inspired, support, encouragement and understanding for this demanding role. We hope this post gives you a good starting point for your Hand in Hand Parenting journey. If you have questions, please post them and we'll reply.

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