When it comes to raising our kids, less may be more. Way more.

In fact, learning to selectively ignore our kids not only relieves parents from the joyless cycle of nagging, but helps our kids to learn.

That’s the premise behind a new book:Ignore It! How Selectively Looking the Other Way Can Decrease Behavioral Problems and Increase Parenting Satisfaction.

Author Catherine Pearlman, a family coach and assistant professor of social work at Brandman University in California, encourages parents to respond less often to petty everyday transgressions and save their energy — and breath — for the stuff that really matters.

The things we should pay less attention to: whining, complaining, negotiating, wiggling, nudging, fidgeting, annoying sounds and age-appropriate tantrums (that’s just what 2 and 3-year-old kids do, Pearlman says).

“Any attention we provide is just going to reinforce it and it’s just going to happen more often,” she says.

If, instead, we don’t enter into a negotiation about how many carrots get eaten at dinner or about delivering a forgotten science book, our kids learn both appropriate boundaries and natural consequences.

Plus, all the monitoring and managing we do these days isn’t exactly adding to the enjoyment of raising kids, Pearlman says.

“This society has created this very intense over-parenting and I honestly think it’s creating a situation where we’re not having a lot of fun. We’re just so busy on the job that we’re forgetting to actually enjoy our kids.”

I asked around and learned that quite a few of my parenting peers have learned to pick their battles.

– Brandie Weikle

Read More: Ignoring your kids may be the life hack your family needs

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