Arrow pointing left
Babies and toddlers

I’m having trouble with my baby (or toddler).

I explain what I need, but the baby just cries and won’t do what I want.

Have you read the stories about how parents work things out with their babies?

They say what they need, and the baby understands and cooperates? Have you tried the same thing and explained things, but it doesn’t work the same?

If you want to work things out, it’s important not only to tell your little one about your needs but also to listen to hers and learn to understand them. She may not share them in words, but she is communicating with you in a number of ways.

You might not understand yet, although you’re trying your best, and you feel frustrated that your little one doesn’t understand you or is ignoring you. You wonder where you’re going wrong when she cries constantly instead of recognizing that you don’t want to spend hours soothing her to sleep or to get up 15 times a night. Or that you don’t want her getting into your kitchen cabinets all the time. 

That’s why we put together a brand new Expansion for Little Ones for those of you whose children aren’t talking (much) yet. 

We’ll help you understand your little one better and avoid common mistakes and frustration from thinking Unparenting doesn’t work on your child, that your baby is too young or just doesn’t get it. We’ll help you both understand each other better.

In the new Expansion for Little Ones, you will find:

How to start listening to your little one if they aren’t responding to your requests — so you can figure out what’s going on and come to a solution together instead of working against each other.

Tips on how to understand the ways your little one is communicating (crying or protesting), how to answer, and how to find out what your little one wants.

Examples of working things out with a young child who can’t talk yet, and how to do the same with your little one, step by step — including explanations of when working it out isn’t really working it out and why it doesn’t work. 

Recommendations for when you shouldn’t push too hard for a solution and what to focus on instead to bring you and your child more in tune with each other and better able to communicate. 

A simple technique that will help you find out how your child is feeling in any given situation (crying during diaper changes, refusing to put on a coat). It will help you recognize what your little one needs and how you should respond in order to handle the situation together.

How to work things out with your little one when they aren’t allowed to do something (like digging around in the dog’s food bowl) or have to do something (like get their fingernails trimmed or have their temperature taken). Finally they’ll be able to really work with you, and the tearful scenes will be fewer and farther between.

What parents have to say after finishing the course:

My husband says that since we’ve been communicating with our 1-year-old according to Unparenting “instructions,” our son’s been more perceptive and somehow smarter. :) And the atmosphere is much more relaxed around here. We’re expecting our second now, so we feel confident this is going to last.

My 10-month-old daughter had something in her mouth. We have a ton of small toys around the house, like my 6-year-old son’s LEGO bricks, and sometimes something ends up on the floor. I was just wondering how to figure out what she had in her mouth without forcing it out. So I started talking in a calm voice, saying I’d like to have a look at what she had in her mouth to make sure it wasn’t something she could swallow, that I was worried about it and that if it was something small, I would take it. And wonder of wonders, I couldn’t believe my eyes, but she crawled over to me and let me take a board game piece out of her mouth. Then she went off to play again.

Hi, thanks so much to everybody at Unparenting! I don’t know how it happened, but I managed to work things out with my 9-month-old daughter so she’s not afraid of the nasal aspirator anymore. When I was talking to her, she was playing with a book that made music and seemed like she wasn’t paying attention to me at all. I explained everything just like you describe, and she just looked at me with those huge blue eyes and waited for me to use the nasal aspirator on her. The next time was the same — as soon as she saw the nasal aspirator, she looked at me, and I knew she was giving me permission. It’s an incredible feeling to understand and be able to communicate. Thanks for what you do!!!

When I changed my mindset and started asking my 1-year-old daughter more often what she needs, she started using her finger to point at what she wants. She never did that before. Unparenting has opened my eyes to see that even a 1-year-old can “talk.”

I’ve been with Unparenting for five weeks, and I couldn’t be more impressed. I’ve realized so many things I’ve been doing wrong, and yet it’s so simple. My 15-month-old speaks her own language and nobody understands her, but now I’m the happiest mom in the world. What a change from a month ago, when I was totally down because I didn’t know what to do with my little one and felt like I needed a break.

She was constantly throwing fits and screaming, constantly wanting something from me. She wouldn’t let me sleep at night, she got up about four times a night, and I was constantly sleep deprived and thinking things couldn’t go on this way and something had to give. Then I remembered one of my husband’s friends had told him about Unparenting and what a great relationship he had with his daughter. And I was thinking that I want that, too, and what was he doing differently that worked so well? So I went for it. And I’m so glad I did.

I started communicating with my little girl and asking what she wanted, and it really worked, so now diaper changes and feedings are no problem. And all I had to do was give her space. She’s calmer; I’m calmer. She only wakes up once a night at 5 a.m. for milk, and then we go back to sleep until about 8. I’m so glad I found this.

We’ve done the first week of the course and the crash course and some of the blog audios, and I’m still standing here in disbelief at my luck in finding this course and finally achieving the ideals I didn’t know how to achieve before. I have a 1-year-old boy and another on the way, and while I thought the course wouldn’t be particularly helpful with such a young child but that it would be useful to me later, it’s actually quite the opposite. I want to say a big thank you and support you in carrying on the incredible work you do. I’d like to close with a story about how I found the Unparenting course and our first breakthrough and change, thanks to Unparenting. Hope you don’t mind that it’s long:

My name is Alena, and I have a 1-year-old boy named Gael. A few months ago, we started having to tell Gael “no” sometimes, like if he was grabbing for the electrical socket. I’m a typical Police parent (since I grew up in a Teacher family, and it did quite a bit of damage to me, so I knew I wanted to do things differently, but I didn’t know how to be different other than being an authoritarian parent who tried to communicate more with the kids and balance out those authoritarian moments with plenty of love so they would know Mommy loves them even if she yells or is hard on them sometimes … I didn’t really get that this might not be a very successful combination).

So back to the electrical sockets. My response was always impulsive: “No, no, no,” then I would start yelling, and he wouldn’t stop, so I would take two steps toward him and smack him on the hand. He wouldn’t respond or would just smile and repeat, “No, no, no,” … so I would grab his hand, pull him away from the socket, and sit him in the middle of the room, at which point he would start crying or fussing. I felt like a bad mom and kept thinking about how I could be different and not hurt my son with the way I was raising him, and about how we could be happy and communicate even without words to avoid situations like this.

One day I read about something called Unparenting on one of my parenting groups. There was a link to some audios, and based on the name, I figured it would be some kind of liberal parenting without boundaries, where kids do whatever they want and don’t respect anything, and that’s not what I want at all, so I ignored it. But then the next day, I kept thinking maybe I could take some inspiration from it, so I searched “Unparenting” on Google and started the first audio. A few seconds later, my first impression (sorry) was of some annoying lady who reminds me of my first grade teacher, who had a sweet voice but was always warning, repeating, and moralizing at us (don’t worry, I changed my tune completely after listening more).

And then, after listening to the audio, the message, and the way you present things, I found myself thinking, “This is amazing!” I couldn’t stop listening to the audios and identifying with what you were saying, and I realized you had shown me the way to find what I was looking for but didn’t know how to achieve. I read through the whole website, signed up for the crash course, and listened to, like, every audio available online. And finally I started thinking about signing up for the full course, since the price seemed fair for what the course could give me. I didn’t see it as just another attempt at self-promotion and getting people’s money anymore.

So I shared my excitement with my friends and told them I’d like to try out the full course, and in response I got some “incredible” advice that made me feel like a terrible mother. Things like this: “Don’t even start; I know how to raise a child!” “I parent my kids the best I know how. Those people will do anything to fool people and get their money!” “Old-school parenting is best, but you just fall for anything!” “I’m a mom, and I don’t need a manual for that, but if you do … . ”

I felt awful, but I was still excited about everything I had heard in the audios and that it could be the way to get where I wanted to go, because the road I was currently on was making both me and my child unhappy! And that wasn’t what I wanted! I also felt exhausted from doing a million things at once and not managing any of them well, and I knew that my child’s happiness was my top priority and that we wanted to have another baby soon. I never had any siblings, and I knew I would need help to not mess up and to be a fair, loving mom.

So I signed up for the course after all. I’m done with the first week so far — no more problems with electrical sockets, and I feel much more balanced (even though I’m now pregnant again) and happy, and I can sense that my child is happier and that we understand each other better even without words. And all of this after just a week with communication, love, and the ability to work things out with or without words. And most of all, thanks to Unparenting. Thank you again! I hope that once I finish the course I’ll be able to keep up with new Unparenting activities, and most of all, I hope Unparenting gets the recognition it deserves. Good job! Keep doing what you’re doing, because you’re doing great.

PS: You should never dismiss something based on an initial impression, because it might end up being something (or someone) amazing!

The first success story with working things out! We managed to turn 30 minutes of falling asleep nursing to just five minutes. All I had to do was explain why it was bothering me and stand my ground. I put on a timer for five minutes and then tell my 6-month-old that the five minutes are up, and she turns and falls asleep. As an extra bonus, she’s even started falling asleep at night with just Daddy. :)

I had to spread the course out over more weeks to get as much as possible out of it. So our success stories from week “two” to week “four” with our 8-month-old son: We’ve started asking before sitting him on the potty. I was pleasantly surprised to find that an 8-month-old can understand, make a decision, and show what he wants. Now he doesn’t cry when he wants to play instead of sitting on the potty. It’s amazing to watch how he figures out that we’re getting the potty out, and he starts wiggling and babbling from when I ask the question to when he makes the decision and points to where he wants to go, and then he goes quiet and is fine.

I’m finishing up the course and finally getting around to doing this. Here are my success stories with my 10-month-old son: We can get dressed and undressed without a fuss, he took his meds like a champ when we were sick, he can wait when I explain that I need to finish cooking or eating my meal. He doesn’t kick up a fuss when it’s time to get out of the bath; we enjoy going out on walks, playing and reading books; and he’s starting to respond when he hurts me. When he finishes eating, he can fold the towel and hand it to me. Once I explained that he needs to drink water as well as Mommy’s milk, he started drinking from a cup.

And my own success — I let him explore the world as long as he’s not risking his life, and after watching him for a while, I have to say that babies are incredibly smart and very rarely try to hurt themselves by sticking something in their eyes or throat, for instance. Thank you, Unparenting, for your advice and reassurance that I chose from birth the right path for my little treasure. I wish you all plenty of joy with your little angels.

Thank you, Unparenting. I’m very pleased right now because this just makes sense to me. We have an almost 11-month-old son, so working things out with him is still in the early stages, BUT! Just yesterday I took some inspiration from the first audios in your course, and the change was really interesting! I went ahead and said out loud to my son what I needed right then and what I would like, and I asked him what he would need or want, and he just looked at me, calmed down and started laughing. :) Ever since then, I’ve been noticing more closely his needs and the signals he gives me. It’s great. Thank you!

We were at a restaurant with friends. We ordered a plate of fries, and just after they arrived, our son (12 months) reached for them. I was thinking: “Uh-oh, salty and greasy food, that’s not good.” But before I managed to react, he turned to me and started to feed me. We were all gobsmacked, and I was so grateful I hadn’t gotten onto him. We had a nice dinner together, and as we were leaving, we noticed our friends’ teether had fallen on the floor. I pointed it out and asked if my son could hand it to us. He thought for a moment, went under the table, and came back up with the teether. Every day I’m surprised anew at what all he understands.

What now?

Look at other topics you’re interested in and keep on exploring the course.