How To Manage Difficult Toddler & Preschooler Behavior Without Resorting To Bribery Or Punishment

Practical strategies for stressed-out parents.

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An actionable mini-course designed to teach you to handle your kid's behavior with confidence and ease.


If you’re the parent of a little kid and you feel successful in most areas of life, but completely at a loss when it comes to parenting

You’ve already heard that using punishment and rewards isn’t that great for your kid.

Even if you know that bribing your kid with a packet of goldfish crackers to get them into the car in the morning isn’t the very best parenting approach, knowing what to do instead isn’t as obvious as it should be. (So, you’re probably doing stuff like this some of the time…’cause you don’t know what else to do!)

Here’s the truth no one told you about parenting:


You knew you’d have to learn to be patient, to get up in the middle of the night when you were already soooo sleep-deprived, and deal with gross things your childless self never dared to imagine…

But no one told you about the work you would have to do on yourself after becoming a parent.

No one mentioned the unexpected emotional triggers or all the ways your child would remind you of yourself (and not always your most glowing qualities!)

No one mentioned that, even after years of therapy and hundreds of self-help books, you’d suddenly be faced with emotions you hoped would never resurface. (Frustration, bewilderment, guilt, overwhelm, stress, confusion…)

After becoming successful in your career and navigating adulthood pretty well, it’s shocking to be unable to handle the strong emotions of a human - less than half your size. 

Somehow that sh*t is SO TRIGGERING!

You can handle yourself pretty well in most situations, but your child’s defiance makes you come undone. And you're back to bribing and punishing to try and gain back some control of the situation.

This is what family life can be like when you ditch the bribery and punishment and embrace a more conscious approach:


Ditch the yelling and the time-outs and your child is actually more likely to do what you want them to do, when you want them to do it!


When you get what you want (fewer tantrums, more cooperation) and your child gets what they want (the nicer, kinder, calmer version of you), everyone wins!


Do you feel like you’re constantly nagging and micro-managing your kid’s behavior? But then you feel like your relationship with your kid is all about enforcing the rules? It doesn’t have to be this way!


When you have the right tools to manage the difficult times (yanno, whining, tantrums, bedtime refusal), parenting will feel lighter and more fun. It probably doesn’t feel so fun right now – at least not when your kid is laying on the floor and shouting “I hate you” at the top of their lungs – but I promise, family life will feel more fun when you have the right tools in place.

Most parents think that if they can just get their kid’s behavior under control and stop the tantrums from happening, everything will be fine.


This simply isn’t true.

Already read a bunch of parenting books? Awesome.

There are a lot of great parenting books out there (IF you have any free time to read these days??) But, what the heck do you do next?

Parenting books are full of great theory and a lot of making you feel like you SHOULD be doing things a certain way. But HOW?!

The fact is most parents of young children don’t make it through to actually changing their own behavior!

We have been raised to believe that children are the problem. When you were growing up, maybe you were told that you were too loud, too wild, or too bossy.

When you “misbehaved,” you were sent to your room to “think about what you’ve done.” And even if you do not consciously believe this about children, it’s in your wiring because this is how you were parented.

And when your kid pushes your buttons, she’s pushing those way-down-deep-in-your-psyche buttons. Like, the ones you didn’t even know were there. The buttons touch the very core of who you are.

Here’s why that can be a massive problem:

When you don't get your own behavior under control, you end up parenting on auto-pilot - which usually means some form of rewards and consequences.

This approach is DIS-CONNECTING. And it totally ignores something really key: your child’s brain development!

You want MORE connection with your kid, not less, right?

You CAN manage your child’s difficult behavior without resorting to time-outs, yelling, cajoling, begging, pleading, or straight-up bribing them.

What if I told you it’s possible to get your kid to cooperate without EVER putting them in a time-out?

Wait, what?!

4 Reasons Most Parents of Little Kids Generally Fail To Parent Effectively (and then feel discouraged and disconnected):


➜ They tell their child to “use your words

Sorry, parents! This does not work. Your child isn’t being defiant when they refuse to tell you what’s wrong or when they hit their friend instead of asking nicely.

The truth is, when children are emotionally upset, they are literally incapable of finding the words to say how they are feeling or to ask for something they want. THEY CAN’T DO IT. Parents continually set their kids up for failure when they do this…and then the parent feels like a failure because they can’t get their kid to act like a civilized human being!

➜ They try to negotiate or talk to a child in the midst of a tantrum.

Parents, seriously - NO TALKING during a tantrum!

This is not the time to negotiate, talk about feelings, or problem-solve! When a kid is in full-on nuclear tantrum mode, they cannot hear or process what you are saying. Even that really verbal toddler who speaks in full sentences (even throws in a few SAT words)…your lips are moving but they cannot understand you!


➜ They think they HAVE TO impose a “consequence” when their child breaks the rules.

I know this will come as a great surprise to you, but you do not ever have to give your kid a consequence. Little children are not breaking the rules on purpose. They are not acting this way on purpose to p*ss you off. When they break a rule or do something they “know” they’re not supposed to do, like pull the cat’s tail or climb up on the dining room table, remove their diaper, and start doing the chicken dance, it’s because THEY CAN’T HELP IT. I’m serious. If they were capable of following the rules and controlling their behavior at all times, they totally would because they want nothing more in life than to please you.

Your child depends on you for their very survival. It’s not in their biological best interest to p*ss you off. If we were cave people, we would thrust them out of the cave and they would die. (Luckily, we are more evolved than that.)

➜ They think their child’s behavior is a reflection of their parenting (and therefore an indication of their self-worth).

It’s not.

Little kids are doing the best they can. YOU are doing the best you can with the information you have (from books, your own parents and all those parenting blogs, Facebook groups, and Instagram accounts you follow).

But at the end of the day, kids act the way they act because they are stressed or tired and their little developing brains just can’t handle it all. NOT because you’re a bad parent.


How To Manage Difficult Toddler & Preschooler Behavior Without Resorting To Bribery Or Punishment

The Complete A-Z Course for busy, overwhelmed parents of little kids that will take you from being a yelling, cajoling rule-enforcer to the calm, confident, Rockstar Parent you were always meant to be.

I've taken some of the best strategies I've learned from my clinical training as a social worker and my doctoral research as a PhD candidate (yep, I’m actually getting a PhD in this stuff!) and distilled it down into a manageable, actionable mini-course.

This mini course is delivered in bite-sized modules. You don’t have a lot of uninterrupted time, so I’ve created videos that are short and manageable, so you can watch them during that 20-minute nap the kid is now taking. (whhhyyyy?? What happened to the nice 2-hour nap he used to take?)

Karen, mom of a 4-year-old

Katherine’s course was just absolutely amazing and helping us figure out what our four-year-old can and cannot process based on where she's at emotionally when she's having a meltdown like is she in her, you know, her reptilian brain can she not even process the things that were asking her to do while she's having a meltdown

Brittany, mom of a 3-year-old

After all the gentle parenting books I'd read, I was honestly shocked how much I learned from Katherine! One of the most helpful things being that she gave me the language to explain to my husband why our toddler has meltdowns and how to support him better. Since then, we've been able to sidestep tantrums WAY more often!

How to Manage Difficult Toddler and Preschooler Behavior without Resorting to Bribery or Punishment

is the first course of its kind that…

  • Teaches you concrete strategies that really work

Real strategies that real people have used and feel good about. I would not teach you anything I myself have not tried.

  • Is based on research, but isn't all "just theory"

I'm a researcher, so it's important to me that what I teach have some theoretical backing behind it. BUT I know that you're taking this mini-course because you're a parent and you just need some help with WHAT TO DO (not how to think about it, what other people think about it, what school of thought it emerged from...)

  • Offers REAL alternatives to punishment

    ...not just punishment disguised as something else. I have seen so many parenting books that claim to teach something new when in reality, it's just lipstick on a pig. It's just punishment and consequences all dressed up as something different. Not here. You do not have to punish your child ever.

  • Shows you how to parent in a way that works for YOU

This is not some formulaic "technique." This mini-course teaches you a BUNCH of things you can try - as well as a new perspective on why your child is acting this way in the first place. Not every approach works for every parent, so I teach you some things to try, how to view your child's behavior in a new way, and YOU get to try it out and see what works for YOUR family.

The FULL How to Manage Difficult Toddler and Preschooler Behavior without Resorting to Bribery or Punishment Mini Course
(a $205 value)

You'll get access to: 

⭐ Module 1: Using Play to Elicit Cooperation

Play is the language of childhood! That might sound all unicorns-and-rainbows to you, but you can use this to your advantage! Play is a POWERFUL tool for getting your kid to do what you want, when you want.

In this module we cover:

  • Why bribery is not good for your relationship with your child.
  • Behavior as a form of communication.
  • Your role as a parent versus your relationship with your child.
  • How to use play and playfulness to elicit cooperation.

⭐ Module 2: Sports Casting

It’s time to get into the nitty-gritty and give you another concrete, actionable parenting tool you can start using right away!

In this module we cover:

  • We are not raising children, we are raising humans who happen to be in the developmental stage of childhood.
  • We imagined what kind of adult we want to raise - what qualities we hope to cultivate in this human we are raising.
  • What coercion and punishment really mean (manipulation) and why it's bad for your relationship with your child.
  • How to use the skill of "sportscasting" to elicit cooperation instead.

⭐ Module 3: Using Special Time with Your Child

Parents often complain that their child is doing something “just to get attention.” Well, guess what? Your child needs your attention! Humans are wired for connection, and little children thrive on our undivided attention.

In this module we cover:

  • Why rewards are (surprisingly!) not a good strategy for motivating your child.
  • How to view your child’ behavior differently
  • How to use "special time" to give your child the connection s/he is craving.

⭐ Module 4: Lower Your Expectations

Why do parents struggle so much to get their kids to cooperate? One of the main reasons is we set our expectations too high. We often ask our kids to do things they are simply incapable of doing.

In this module we cover:

  • Why you shouldn't say "use your words" to a young child (and what to do instead).
  • The importance of lowering your expectations.
  • How to use empathy as a tool for managing difficult behaviors.
  • The concept of the "second chicken."

And to Make Sure You're Supported Every Step Of The Way, You'll Also Get Access to:


These exclusive bonuses!

Alternatives to Punishment Cheat Sheet ($27 value)

This is your go-to, put-it-on-the-fridge cheat sheet for what to do instead of time-outs and “no more screentime if you’re going to act that way”!

Mindful Parenting Playbook ($47 value)

This is a fun one! Based on my research on mindful parenting (yep, that’s a thing!), I’ve put together this little workbook for you to reflect on how you can be more present and intentional with your parenting. Comes with quick-and-easy things you can do to keep yourself calm in the most stressful parenting moments.

Future-Casting Worksheet ($17 value)
Here’s the truth: you’re not raising a child. You’re raising a PERSON. An actual, real-live human who will become an adult someday (sooner than you think!). I love helping my clients think about what that “someday” will be like. Annnddd…then we pull it all back to today and generate some ideas for what you can do RIGHT NOW to help your child-turned-adult be the best human they can be.

How to RESPOND instead of REACT Worksheet ($17 value)

The reason you’re resorting to bribery and punishment is that you’re in reactive mode. You’re parenting on auto-pilot (I don’t blame you!) This worksheet will help you identify where your weak spots are (those especially button-pushing behaviors) and show you how you can make little tweaks so that you’re responding rather than reacting to those unsavory behaviors.


➜ When your kid refuses to get into the bath, you take a deep breath and act silly and playful (instead of frustrated and angry). Your kid looks you right in the eye and runs straight to the bathroom and hops in the tub. You cannot even believe that it worked so well (and so fast!)

➜ When it’s time to pick up the toys, your kid starts whining, “I don’t waaaa-naaah!” and instead of saying “too bad, kid, you’re doing it anyway!” you get down on their level, look them in the eye and say, “I know, I get it. Sometimes I don’t wanna either, but right now we have to.” Then the kid gives you a hug and you do it together. 

 You knew exactly how to handle the next meltdown without cajoling, bribing, or losing your cool…because you knew EXACTLY what to say and how to respond.

That’s what we aim to achieve with this mini-course!

Yes, please!

This mini-course is for you if:

  • You really, REALLY want to be a good parent, but when your kid starts whining or melting down, you totally lose it and end up yelling
  • You often resort to taking away toys, sending the kid to time-out, or imposing other “consequences” (ahem, that’s code for “punishment”)
  • You’re doing that stuff ^ and don’t feel so great about it, but it’s all you can think of to do
  • You really need some new parenting strategies but you don’t have a lot of free time
  • You have a kid between the ages of 2 and 6 and you’re completely at your wit’s end

This mini-course may NOT be for you if:

  • You already use punishment (time-outs and that sorta thing) and it’s totally working for you and you feel GREAT about it!
  • You want to have a sh*tty relationship with your kid when they get older (manipulative, mutual disdain...)
  • You would rather stop saving for your kids’ college fund and start saving for their therapy fund instead
  • You just don't really feel like trying new things



Join the Mini Course and Get:

⭐ Module 1: Using Play to Elicit Cooperation

⭐ Module 2: Sports Casting

⭐ Module 3: Using Special Time with Your Child

⭐ Module 4: Lower Your Expectations


PLUS Exclusive Bonuses:

⭐️ BONUS: Alternatives to Punishment Cheat Sheet ($27 value)

⭐️ BONUS: Mindful Parents’ Playbook ($47 value)

⭐ BONUS: Future-casting Worksheet ($17 value)

⭐BONUS: How to RESPOND instead of REACT Worksheet ($17 value)

Just $27

Yes, please!

Maybe you’re wondering…

Meet Katherine, The Family Life Coach

I’m a  social worker, parenting educator, and coach, and a PhD candidate at the University of Maryland School of Social Work. My research focuses on parenting stress, mindfulness, self-compassion, and emotion regulation in parents of young children. 

But, more importantly, I am a mom of 3 and I know the challenges of trying to remain calm in the fact of tantrums, meltdowns, and daily life as a parent. If you'd told me 10 years ago that I would not only BE a mindful parent, but would be researching and teaching mindful parenting, I would never have believed you. I was exhausted, overwhelmed, and - yep! - I yelled at my kids a lot. 

Although I’ve had many years of therapy, parenting classes, and hours and hours of meditation, it’s the simple day-to-day practices I teach in this program that helped me be the calm, confident, emotionally regulated parent that I am today. Don’t get me wrong - I still have my moments and no parent is perfect, but I now have the tools to get back to emotional balance when I start to lose my sh*t!

I am so excited to share with you what I have learned as a researcher and as a parent!

Join the Mini Course and Get:

⭐ Module 1: Using Play to Elicit Cooperation

⭐ Module 2: Sports Casting

⭐ Module 3: Using Special Time with Your Child

⭐ Module 4: Lower Your Expectations


PLUS Exclusive Bonuses:

⭐️ BONUS: Alternatives to Punishment Cheat Sheet ($27 value)

⭐️ BONUS: Mindful Parents’ Playbook ($47 value)

⭐ BONUS: Future-casting Worksheet ($17 value)

⭐BONUS: How to RESPOND instead of REACT Worksheet ($17 value)

Just $27

Yes, please!