Monday, July 2, 2012

Award-winning Author and Guest Blogger - Sarah McLaughlin

Please welcome award-winning author and guest blogger, Sarah McLaughlin as she chat about Hope for the Future: Why I Believe Better Parenting Can Save the World!

Welcome Sarah! I'm in the midst of reading your book and can't wait to write my book review and share with others. 

Hope for the Future
Why I Believe Better Parenting Can Save the World
By Sarah MacLaughlin, Award-winning Author of What Not To Say: 
Tools for Talking with Young Children

My obsession with parenting actually began as fascination with babies. From the time I was old enough to hold one, I LOVED babies. I was captured by their innocence and joyful delight. I ended up being the oldest of seven. I was labeled a “little mother” from my preschool days. I am a caretaker from way back—always wanting to grow up fast so I could do a better job of it.

But, maybe growing up fast wasn’t the best plan. No one’s childhood is perfect, and I had my share of chaos and hardship. I also had plenty of laughter and fun. My parents failed and succeeded—overall doing a good-enough job. Yes, I turned out okay, but this doesn’t mean I received the best guidance. I’m fairly sure that we are still working on figuring out what kind of parenting might create an environment for optimal human development. I know we’re getting closer!

I was interested to see several writers on this blog tour take note of the epigraph in my book, a home-hitting quote from fellow parenting educator and friend, Pam Leo: “Let’s raise kids who don’t have to recover from their childhoods.” It strikes a chord, doesn’t it? Why do so many of us feel we have to “recover” from the upbringing we’ve received? Maybe some things should change? The “old story” tells us that we must teach children, through unpleasant experiences, or through losing something they desire, how to behave well. But this is faulty thinking because children always learn from example. They learn by watching us: what we do and what we say. We don’t need to always instruct them how to behave, because we are always showing them with our own behavior. I am extremely encouraged to see so many other advocates of this shift in parenting. We can move from a place of coercion to one of collaboration.

Part of the evolution of parenting is amazing new brain research that we can draw on. New scientific findings about how babies develop, and how children grow and learn are fascinating additions to the general theories of parenting. There are many voices (Carrie at Early Parenting, Rebecca at Consciously Parenting, and Annie and PhD in Parenting come to mind) growing louder about this paradigm shift in parenting. That change from a controlling, authority-based, behavioral approach to a cooperative, relationship-based approach can only help humankind—this is why I persevere in my quest to support parents in discovering their true heart in parenting.

In our broader world, we are also (hopefully) moving from an individualistic viewpoint that holds financial success and material wealth in the highest regard, to a community-minded view that reveres cooperation and emotionally honest problem-solving. This change is slow-going, but it is worth the effort. Small people deserve mindful parenting. They deserve to be treated with kindness and respect.

To paraphrase Genevieve at The Way of the Peaceful Parent: she suggests that we approach problems from the perspective that there is a conflict because one or more people are upset. From this place we trust a child’s inherent goodness. We believe that through honest, authentic, but sensitive sharing of feelings, difficulties can be resolved. The aim is to sort it out together.

And so I imagine that someday children will be honored and parents will be supported. No one will be labeling behavior “bad,” or insisting that children be “taught a lesson.” Parental leave will be standard, parenting education plentiful. Lack of resources for families will not be tolerated. I envision two people talking: “Remember when people didn’t really respect children or realize they need to be listened to? Remember spanking and time-outs? Remember when people lost their jobs unless they went back to work when their children were babies?—Wasn’t that insane?”

I remain ever hopeful because educated people once believed the earth was flat.

Resources Mentioned in This Post

I'd love to hear what you think about the evolution of parenting and parenting education!

Special Giveaway!
Please comment on this post about what makes you hopeful about the evolution of parenting and parenting education. Your comment enters you in the eBook Giveaway -- to win an ebook copy of What Not to Say: Tools for Talking with Young Children, in the format of your choice: PDF, epub, or Kindle format. Sarah will be giving away one copy at each blog stop and will announce it on the comments of this post tomorrow. Be sure to leave your email so we can contact you in case you're the winner!

Other stops and opportunities to win during this Blog Tour are listed on Sarah's blog here:

Also, you can enter at Sarah's site for the Grand Prize Giveaway: a Kindle Touch. Winner will be announced at the end of the tour after July 15th. Go here to enter:

Sarah MacLaughlin
About The Author
Sarah MacLaughlin has worked with children and families for over twenty years. With a background in early childhood education, she has previously been both a preschool teacher and nanny. Sarah is currently a licensed social worker at The Opportunity Alliance in South Portland, Maine, and works as the resource coordinator in therapeutic foster care. She serves on the board of Birth Roots, and writes the "Parenting Toolbox" column for a local parenting newspaper, Parent & Family. Sarah teaches classes and workshops locally, and consults with families everywhere. She considers it her life's work to to promote happy, well-adjusted people in the future by increasing awareness of how children are spoken to today. She is mom to a young son who gives her plenty of opportunities to take her own advice about What Not to Say. More information about Sarah and her work can be found at her site:

Sarah, thank you for visiting Write What Inspires You! Your article and insights are inspiring! Good luck and keep up the great work. 

Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval Recipient and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist


  1. Excellent interview with so much great information for parents or any caregiver! I, too, believe in a Brave New World for parents and children, and hope we can all find it...

    Thanks to you both for this post!

  2. Your right children do need to be listened to. I tried to always listen to my children and they are listening to theirs. Every child has a right to that privilege and many don't. Unfortunately, people are so busy now days that kids are coming up short. It's very sad.

    1. It's so true. Parenting is just not supported in our culture.

  3. What a great and powerful article Sarah. It is near and dear to my heart. I say, "children are God's gift to the Earth!" I have even written a poem titled that. Coincidentally, on my blog today there is a book titled One Large Peanut Butter Sandwich to Go. Ironically it is about this subject, a mother persuading her son to do the right thing by means of his own assumption. Great post Donna, Thanks!

  4. The "Children should be seen and not heard" parent philosophy has been retired in most families I know. Parents are learning a lot by listening to their children when they're still little. Seems that this practice also sets up a better system of communication for those teen years.

    Lovely interview.

    1. Yes, that's true. I think we've come a long way and it's probably something more along the lines of "seen and heard but following directions and not making a fuss." I know I am easily distracted from truly paying attention to my son. We live in a fast moving world!

  5. Great quote: Pam Leo: “Let’s raise kids who don’t have to recover from their childhoods.” That's what my book 101 SECRETS! is really about too! I also believe that poetry appreciation and writing can save the planet. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Sarah,

    It's a pleasure to host you as guest blogger today and I look forward to reading and reviewing your book.

    All the best,

  7. Thank you for the informative guest post, Sarah! This is certainly a most important book. I wish I'd read it when I first had my kids.

  8. Ditto! Very important information. Thanks for sharing it, Donna and Sarah.

    Nicole Weaver
    Trilingual Children's Author

  9. Interesting post, Sarah. I always thought it strange that we're taught how to do most everything, except how to be good parents. I think this is happening now for mothers and fathers of today and think it's a great idea.

    Congratulations on your book.

  10. Sarah! This is certainly a most important book. I wish I'd read it when I first had my kids.

  11. always use good parenting book thanks

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

  12. Such an important topic. I would love to win the ebook. I am constantly praying to God that I raise my daughter well and don't give her any reason to have to "recover" as you mentioned in your post. Thanks for putting stuff like this out in to the world!

    margo (at)

  13. I love you comment about approaching a conflict from the perspective that there is a conflict because one or more person is upset.

  14. Thanks, Donna & Sarah, for providing much needed information. "Parenting is the hardest job you'll ever have." You'll wish your baby came with a guidebook. You'll love, laugh, cry, throw your hands up in frustration. You'll wish you were better prepared and you had done a better job. I'm grateful for strong voices like Sarah's. Children are a precious gift. May God, and our children, forgive our missteps and mistakes. Lifelong learning is key. Thanks and blessings.

  15. Congratulations goes out to Margo Dill...she is the winner of Sarah's book. Margo, you will be contacted directly by either Beth or Sarah.


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