Review of When Your Kids Push Your Buttons, by Bonnie Harris

Although acceptance is a fundamental human need, many parents struggle to accept their children as they are. In Raise the Child You’ve Got—Not the One You Want, I offer the parents’ path to acceptance:

  1. Start with the child you’ve got.
  2. Accept who your child is.
  3. Separate who your child is from what your child does, and
  4. Understand your CoreSelf and your behavior.

Step 4 is where parents need to turn the focus inward and look inside themselves to understand how they are contributing to the hotspots between them and their child. This is often where parents get stuck, because for many, the idea of looking inside themselves for answers is foreign and overwhelming.

Although I give general suggestions in the book about getting the needed help, I recently found a wonderful resource to recommend. Bonnie Harris, of Connective Parenting has an approach that gets to the heart of the matter efficiently and in a non-threatening way. I first came across Bonnie’s work on her Facebook page, drawn to it because everything she posts sounds so wise, so practical, and just plain helpful. So I was curious about her book, When Your Kids Push Your Buttons: And What You Can Do About It. Sure enough, it is the perfect next step for parents who want to lead with acceptance, and realize that they have some work to do on their own stuff.

As a family counselor and parent educator, Bonnie has been in the trenches helping parents defuse their hotspots so they can parent with patience and understanding instead of anger and old agendas. She lays out her proven, easy-to-follow approach that helps parents tune into their reactions and get to the root of the problem. The fill-in-the-blank exercises in each chapter are a godsend for parents who are too overwhelmed to start journaling or searching on their own for methods to become more mindful (basically, all parents!). By filling in the guided, Mad Libs-style paragraphs, you stay focused as you systematically move towards your truth…and understanding your truth is what helps you make changes!

Here is an excerpt from her exercise for understanding what your underlying agenda might be in a conflict situation with your child:

Bonnie Harris exercise

With this wonderful book that lays it out so clearly and guides your every step, you’ll be well on your way to leading with acceptance and creating a thriving family.


Bonnie and I believe in each other’s work so much that we are making a dual offer. You can win a copy of Bonnie’s book, When Your Kids Push Your Buttons, by simply commenting below. Tell us what kind of support you need to help look inside yourself for answers. Sunday night, June 15th, I will choose a comment using a random tool.

At the same time and in the same way, Bonnie will be giving away a copy of my book, Raise the Child You’ve Got—Not the One You Want, so you can comment here for a chance to win it. Raise the Child You’ve Got helps parents understand the importance of acceptance…and Buttons delves into the layers in the parent where unacceptance may have its roots. We both agree that the combination of our work offers a parent a full in-depth path to unconditional acceptance of our children.

Bonnie Harris’ Contact Information:
Buttons cover High Res





  • Maura says:

    I have recently become acquainted with Bonnie’s work and I just love it! My daughters are grown and are wonderful women now (they were wonderful when they were little, too 🙂 . I have really enjoyed learning that there are authors out there like Bonnie and Nancy that can help parents learn compassionate ways to raise their children. It gives me hope for future generations! I would love to read Bonnie’s book!

  • Nardene says:

    For me, I have learnt so much watching my husband interact with our children. He is really good at keeping his voice calm even when the children might be yelling and upset. I’ve found that if I remain calm too, it’s much less stressful for everyone! Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and you can see how things could have been better, so being able to sense when something might be a trigger for me would be really great to explore further. Thank you.

  • Sabine Friedrich says:

    I am a great supporter of Bonnie Harris and completed two workshops (Buttons Part 1 and Buttons Part 2) with her just over a year ago. The workshops provided lots of valuable information and perspectives that are real eye opens to what is happening when one’s button is pushed. Thanks Bonnie!!!

  • Melanie says:

    Ever since I heard Bonnie speak about this topic at a local conference for parents, it resonated with me. I realized my oldest daughter had been pushing my very hot buttons, that went back to my own childhood, things I had never dealt with. I used some of the info from the conference, and have been reading her awesome newsletters. My children are getting older, but finding my 13 yo daughter can also push some of those buttons. I have brothers w young children who seem to have some buttons at times themselves. I am planing to share with them….!

    • Nancy Rose says:

      Melanie, how great that Bonnie’s work has helped you so much. I’m so thrilled to spread the word to my readers.

    • Hi Melanie – I’m glad that you got some help from the talk. Painful as the process can be, it is so important to stop ignoring the past, push through what is important to look at and find the source of the reactions we hate. There is no better investment of time for our children to grow unencumbered by our baggage.

  • dawn says:

    These books are wonderful resources.
    During difficult times, I need to separate the child from the behavior and be able to step back to see things clearly. Then I can try to deal with situations and try to understand why they are happening.

    • Nancy Rose says:

      Thanks, Dawn. Bonnie and I are both so passionate about helping parents in the trenches. You are not alone!

  • Ellen Warsaw says:

    If Bonnie’s book is even half as good as yours, Nancy, it is sure to make a difference in the quality of life of so many children and the people that love them

    I am grateful for the continuing support and information that you provide for all of us out there. Keep it up!

  • Michelle says:

    I accept that my children are two totally different people, with different likes and dislikes, different personalities, and different temperments. The challenge is learning how to parent for that: one behaviorally challenging child, and one “easy” child. I am struggling to learn how to parent differently now for the younger, more challenging child. That child is the champion button pusher, so this book sounds like it is right up my alley!

    • Michelle – I have the exact configuration. Oldest was my piece of cake. Youngest and the girl was my button pusher. I call her my teacher. She is the reason I do the work that I do and my book has many stories about her. Yes, learning to parent two different types is a challenge but soooooo important. Tip: Never ask your easy child to compensate or give in to your button pusher, “Oh just let her have it”. That fuels sibling resentment.

  • Suzie Sikma says:

    What kind of support I need? For me the listening ear of another adult has been most valuable. I have a listening partnership with a woman that I might never get see besides through skype. But our weekly listening times help me immensly to be the mom I want to be and I am very grateful for that.

    • Nancy Rose says:

      Suzie, this sounds like Hand-in-Hand Parenting, correct? I love Patty Wipfler’s work. Listening partnerships sound amazing.

  • Linda Halpin says:

    Thanks for the recommendation…..just added it to my “must read” list. I’ve suggested your book to many friends and it’s been so well received so I will be sure to pass this on as well.

  • Kay Pollard says:

    I love the sound advice Bonnie gives in Exercise 2. Something we can use with anyone when our plates are full and frustrations are high. I think I need to pick this book up to learn and remind myself how to keep my buttons from being pushed. It is one of my weaknesses.

    I would agree with all the other comments that Nancy Rose’s book “Raise the Child You’ve Got, Not the One you Want” would be an excellent compliment.

    • Kay – a simple clarification. It’s not about preventing your buttons from being pushed, it’s about taking responsibility for them being yours when they do get pushed and learning a whole lot about yourself from looking at where and when they came from so that you can defuse them and not get quite so triggered when they do get pushed. I believe this Buttons work is the most powerful personal growth work we can ever do — and our children can lead the way!

      • Nancy Rose says:

        Bonnie, do you feel that as a person becomes more conscious of their buttons, it defuses the button? What has been your experience with the parents you teach?

  • David Rosenblum says:

    Sounds like this book, “When your kids push your Buttons” , is an excellent complement to Nancy Rose’s book, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

    • Nancy Rose says:

      Thanks, David, I think you’ll get a lot out of Buttons. I admire your desire to be a conscious parent.

  • Dorothy Smith says:

    isn’t it amazing when parents are able to check themselves for what is really going on?
    i would imagine that this behavior could very successfully apply to all of our relationships, not just the one with our child.
    while reading the agenda in Exercise 2, a question came up: how can i find the time to stop, think, and process when we are in a hurry and have to get somewhere? isn’t it natural to get angry and frustrated?

    • Dorothy – Absolutely this work applies to all relationships. And my suggestion is to do the work when you have the time so that when you don;t have the time, you won’t react in ways that you regret. It is natural to get angry and frustrated. But it is responsible to own those feelings and not blame them on our child. You will learn all about taking that kind of responsibility in Buttons.

  • Bobbie Klein says:

    This sounds like a great companion to Nancy’s wonderful book. It is now on my “to read” list.

  • Nancykaplan says:

    I loved Nancy’s book and will now check out Bonnie’s !!!!

  • Vicki Benham says:

    I have not yet read “when your kids push your buttons” but, from the title alone, I wish it had been in print a few years back. All of my stepchildren from two marriages and my own son are all grown now but I like to think I know a lottery now than I did then.

    I have read “raise the child you’ve got” and it really opened my eyes to acceptance in all parts if my life. Children, yes for sure but also acceptance of parents, friends, coworkers, etc. I would recommend this book for everyone, not just young parents.

    • Nancy Rose says:

      Great point, Vicki…leading with acceptance really does work magic on all relationships, including marriages 🙂

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