7 Steps to Master Any Parenting Situation Like A Boss

It’s been a long day.

You’ve been up since 5am. You spilled coffee on your favorite blouse, your 9am meeting went until noon, you’ve got a splitting headache, and you have no idea what’s for dinner. The kids are screaming, and you lose it.

Take a deep breath. There’s a way to deal with your frustrating day that doesn’t involve yelling, shouting, or a huge glass of wine.


For over a decade, Dr. Stephanie O’Leary has been providing parents with a no-nonsense approach to navigating the daily grind while preparing kids for the challenges they’ll face in the real world. In her new book, Parenting in the Real World, Dr. O’Leary offers spot on parenting advice with a side of humor.

The clinical psychologist and mom of two shares her tips for listening, respect, setting boundaries, having fun and self-care for parents.

Before you lose it, check out Dr. O’Leary’s 7 steps to master any parenting situation.

Master ANY Parenting Situation Like A Boss-check out these 7 tips! #momlife Click To Tweet

1. Listen.

Pause and listen to your child before springing into action or firing back a response. This means zipping your lip, biting your tongue, and accepting that a little parental silence can go a long way.

2. Let your child know you “get it.” 
Validate your child by repeating back a bit of what he or she said, even if you disagree or know they’re completely off base! This will open your child’s ears so your great suggestions are actually heard.

3. Be respectful.
Talk to your child the same way you would to a friend or to someone else’s child. Use this rule of thumb: If, in the future, it wouldn’t be okay for your child’s significant other to say it, you shouldn’t say it either.

4. Set limits and boundaries.

Choose limits that you’re willing to keep based on the situation at hand, not what happened yesterday or last year. This teaches your child that limits and boundaries are flexible, necessary, and that he or she can handle them.

5. Take responsibility.
Own your successes and apologize for your mistakes. Give yourself a do-over if you need it. Know that genuinely apologizing to your child is one of the most powerful things you can do, and the best way to teach your child to be accountable.

6. Have fun!

When things get busy, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the routine and overlook the fact that your kids are fun. Don’t be afraid to stop the daily grind to laugh or get silly. Take time to notice the little things your child does or says that bring you joy.

7. Practice self-care.
Take great care of yourself so you can take great care of your kids. Know that even the best parenting plan or strategy won’t work well if you’re always exhausted or depleted. Make self-care a priority and do it unapologetically—your kids are counting on you!

Which step do you think will make the most difference in your parenting?

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Tiffani is the wife and mom behind MyMommyVents, co-creator of The Mommy Conference, and co-founder of the digital collective Sisterhued. Her writing and parenting tips have been seen on The Washington Post, Mommy Noire, Yahoo Parenting, and Fit Pregnancy.
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  1. February 8, 2017 / 4:38 pm

    These are all really great tips it’s hard to pick just one favorite. I believe that listening, having respect, and having fun are important for our family.

    • February 9, 2017 / 7:24 pm

      Listening and respect are a huge part of any relationship! It’s great that they’re important to your family.

  2. February 8, 2017 / 9:41 pm

    Listen, you are giving some great tips here. I’m trying to see how I’m going to bookmark this and remember to check it out when I have kids. I love the let them know you get it!

    • February 9, 2017 / 6:47 pm

      Parenting isn’t easy! It’s always great to get tips now so that you can use them later.

  3. February 8, 2017 / 10:14 pm

    Self care is most important for me.. when I neglect myself everyone else tends to suffer as well! ha!

    • February 9, 2017 / 6:43 pm

      You know what they say, Lauren–if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!

  4. February 9, 2017 / 12:10 am

    I have a really hard time with the fun sometimes. I am very busy, and my kids are still very little. They truly don’t understand when mommy is typing away or listening to training stuff, that it is my work and I NEED to do it. I need to make a priority to have more fun in our lives. Thanks for sharing <3
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    • February 9, 2017 / 6:39 pm

      Definitely! A big part of learning is play–are there any parts of the day where you can involve them in your work? If you’re typing, can they type along on their play computers?

    • February 9, 2017 / 6:36 pm

      Blended families can be challenging! Dr. O’Leary’s book goes into more detail about how you can form a stronger relationship with your stepchildren.

  5. February 9, 2017 / 4:06 pm

    All great tips. Taking mental notes for when and if I have kids of my own.

    • February 9, 2017 / 6:34 pm

      Dr. O’Leary’s book has tons of great tips for parents and parents to be!

  6. CourtneyLynne
    February 9, 2017 / 8:54 pm

    These are some great tips!!!! I need to have more fun!! Both my hubby and I are workaholics so taking some time to have fun is something we need to work on

  7. February 9, 2017 / 9:30 pm

    This made me laugh! Listening is such a huge part of everything. That was something l learned as a pharmacist working all those years. You can pick up so much more. Thanks for the laugh 🙂

  8. February 10, 2017 / 6:50 am

    I give it to all the parents out there because there’s no challenging job than parenting. These tips are practical and will definitely make parenting easier.

  9. February 10, 2017 / 7:00 am

    I love the have fun tip. I know being a parent can be stressful…it can be hard to have fun and not be serious but I think it will make things slightly easier and lift the mood. Great tip!

  10. Elle, CleverlyChanging
    February 10, 2017 / 12:18 pm

    Totally winning advice. Our relationship with our kids need to be like any other good relationship so it requires patience and communication.

  11. February 10, 2017 / 8:20 pm

    These tips will definitely come in handy as Greysongets older. Right now he pretty much runs the show, but he’s a pretty good and happy baby ☺

    Old World New

  12. February 15, 2017 / 3:47 am

    I don’t have children but as a person whom worked with children of different ages #3 goes a long way. Parents and adults alike, we should respect children because often times they will let us know what they want which can help relieve some stress off the parent.

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