About

kloppenmum is me, Karyn Van Der Zwet, mother of three and ex-teacher. One day I woke up and realised that, by following common parenting advice, we had created a sad and tantrum-y boy, I spent more than seven years reading everything I could about the human condition : neurology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, history, physical health… I became really ANGRY with most of the parenting advice around. (Have none of the ‘experts’ and medical people read the science?)  We changed what we were doing, all through trial and error with many mistakes and now – all is well.

I have written two books: WHY PEOPLE DRIVE YOU CRAZY, A FRESH LOOK AT TEMPERAMENT, which is a short and fun interpretation of some complicated science with practical ideas for interacting with one another; and ALL ABOUT TANTRUMS, WHY WE HAVE THEM, HOW TO PREVENT THEM, WHAT TO DO WHEN THEY HAPPEN, which also explains some complex biological reactions in (reasonably) simple terms, includes more than 30 possible tantruming situations with practical prevention/management strategies and most importantly (I think anyway) WHY they work!

I sometimes write for World Moms Blog and have had articles printed in both: British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (Children and Young People) Journal and the US parenting magazine, Pathways to Family Wellness.

Boring bits: I’m a New Zealander born and raised – born in Hastings, grew up in rural Hawke’s Bay, now live on a life-style block (more block than lifestyle) just out of Napier, I was a primary teacher for mumble years; I travelled for four years in a typically round peg way; taught some more; met my husband and eventually had three children; and I’m f.i.n.a.l.l.y. starting to feel like myself again – after 12 years or so of pregnancies, babies and toddlers.

You can follow me on facebook, kloppenmum, or on Twitter, @kloppenmum, also now pinterest, Karyn At Kloppenmuym.

Thanks to Mr Hare for taking the photo. Cheers, son: xxxx.

66 Responses to About

  1. Just visiting…so it sounds like you have 3 younger kids. I miss those days, kind of. With regards to you researching the best way to parent your children and then paying it forward with what you’ve learned through your new blog…well good for you!

    That said…try reading this post..I have an inkling as a mother you might appreciate.
    A Mother’s Declaration
    http://mariasrandomrants.wordpress.com/2010/11/23/a-mothers-advice/

    • kloppenmum says:

      Thanks for the comment. We have an almost nine year old, a five and half year old and a 15 month old, so yes younger than yours, I think. Will definitely look at your post.

  2. mccleary24 says:

    Thank you for your comment. I look forward to reading your Blog and learning from you.
    If you have the time I would appreciate any more comments you may have about my blog in the future.

  3. Ashley says:

    Thank you for your sweet comment, Karyn! Being a new mom I’m trying to soak up all I can about alternative parenting, so I’ll be checking out your posts. I hope you’ll continue to stop by.

  4. Mama Bee says:

    Hello,

    I love your blog! I read through all your entries. Going to include it in my links page. Your philosophy is like mine but you implement it much much better than I do!

    • kloppenmum says:

      Pleased you liked the blog. I love finding like minded people from around the world. All my tricks have been learned the hard way, so I’m happy to pass them on.

  5. Nice blog!
    I agree with your philosophy wholeheartedly! My oldest just turned 18 and even with a crazy mom like me, she turned out to be an amazing young lady. I used the “treat your kid like a person” method.
    Your header is precious!

  6. Thanks for commenting on my blog! I’ll be back to read more here, lots of interesting things to think about. I’m sure I could be a better parent, and lots of the info and advice you have here makes a lot of sense.

    • kloppenmum says:

      Thanks, Kate.
      All my information is based in biology and what really happens…not what we wish would happen.
      No problems commenting on your blog. I love to see what other people are up to!

  7. M says:

    Definitely interested in checking out your advice especially as my almost 4 year old starts pushing the boundaries more and more!

  8. Sangitha says:

    Oh my god! Where were you my last 7 years? Shall be reading your posts from now on and definitely digesting the ones in the archives. Thank you!

    • kloppenmum says:

      Pleased you enjoyed what you have read. Feel free to pass on to anyone else who you think would be interested – I could have done with me nine years ago, too!

  9. mindslam says:

    Thanks again for stopping by my blog & adding your input. I have added you to my blog roll!

  10. melissa mint says:

    I can relate to your writing ALOT!!!!!!My parenting experience thus far has consisted of alot of struggles, and alot of “experts”, and alot of tantrums and power struggles. But finally when I realized that my emotions are rubbing off on my child, I have been making changes!! Consistency has helped immensely. I am interested in reading more of your blog, I might learn a few things!!! 😉 And thanks for stopping by my page, I appreciate it!!!

    • kloppenmum says:

      Thankyou! For the support and the thumbs up. Parenting information can be such a touchy subject for many people…my thoughts are the proof is in the pudding, and the changes we’ve made have been so successful – I just wanted to share…

  11. Richard says:

    Excellent and a much needed perspective. Why the mainstream hasn’t/can’t see what you’ve seen is beyond understanding. You’re probably not your kids “best friend” and they are lucky to have (and will appreciate more) the MOM that they have.

    • kloppenmum says:

      Thank-you. Yes, I certainly prefer to be a Mum to our children, than a friend. It’s a position that no-one else can ever have…Thank-you for commenting.

  12. arunals says:

    I have 3 sons and after reading your blog it wides my opinion to be a good friend to my sons….

  13. Sendie-Lou says:

    I enjoy your blog, I subscribe! Please keep writting. 🙂

  14. Kitty says:

    Hi,

    Lovely to meet another New Zealander, it’s in my blood as my mum ironically was born in Hawkes Bay and a primary school teacher! I’m a Teachers Aid (Teaching Assistant over here) I have dual nationality with England.
    Actually both my parents are over your way at the moment, they pop back every year for a few months to miss the harsh winter seasons over here. More importantly for mum to catch up with umpteen cousins, a sister and family along with friends that appear every where.
    I took my two children over a couple of years ago, young teenagers now. Although a rushed visit squeezed in our two week Christmas break it was worth every penny.
    I believe it’s good to explain to children/teenagers circumstances that arise but at their level.
    Looking forward to reading more of your blog.
    Thanks 🙂

    • kloppenmum says:

      Hi there,
      Great to hear from someone who knows Hawkes Bay! I can imagine your parents will be pleased to be here, if the news we’re getting of your weather is anything to go by. I think it’s important to keep those family ties – and not easy long-distance.
      Pleased you’re enjoying the blog: thanks for leaving a comment.

  15. thank you for commenting, your blog is awesome lots of great advice! and beautiful pictures!! 🙂

  16. Thanks for your kind comments on my blog: 1000babysteps.com

    We’re thinking of visiting New Zealand for our next vacation!

    • kloppenmum says:

      No problem, I like what you’re saying.
      Great idea about coming here for vacation. If you want fairly reliable warm weather and short queues come in Feb/early March (the kids are back at school after summer holidays). The distances between cities and towns are reasonably large, so factor in lots of travelling time, and forget about public transport – it’s largely non-existent. Pop back and ask if you think I can help in any other way.

  17. megamulliny says:

    Hey, I forgot to tell you that I did start a blog about parenting 🙂 If you want to check it out, it’s http://cultofthemodernparent.wordpress.com/

    Cheers!

  18. Josias says:

    Lovely to meet another New Zealander, it’s in my blood as my mum ironically was born in Hawkes Bay and a primary school teacher! I’m a Teachers Aid (Teaching Assistant over here) I have dual nationality with England.Actually both my parents are over your way at the moment, they pop back every year for a few months to miss the harsh winter seasons over here. More importantly for mum to catch up with umpteen cousins, a sister and family along with friends that appear every where.I took my two children over a couple of years ago, young teenagers now. Although a rushed visit squeezed in our two week Christmas break it was worth every penny.I believe it’s good to explain to children/teenagers circumstances that arise but at their level.Looking forward to reading more of your blog.Thanks
    +1

    • kloppenmum says:

      Hi there Josias,
      Great to ‘hear’ from you! It was the constant cloud cover that I couldn’t deal with when I lived in England – so I certainly understand your parents wanting to find some sunshine during these long months. The interesting thing for me, with regards explaining things to children, is the differences between parents as to what they think is appropriate for any given age level! Pleased you’ve enjoyed what you’ve seen so far. 🙂

      • @kloppenmum – “It was the constant cloud cover that I couldn’t deal with when I lived in England” – I so hear you. Though I’ve not been to the U.K., I’ve heard that London weather is very similar to this area’s (western Washington state). I’ve lived in all sorts of climates and none has been the death of me like the dearth of sunshine, constant gray and cold dampness. Life in London (or anywhere with this climate) tops the Don’t Do List!

  19. suzlipman says:

    Hi Karyn! I’ve enjoyed discovering your blog and greatly appreciate you visiting and commenting on mine. I added you to my blogroll as well, and look forward to keeping up with you and what you’re doing and thinking. I enjoy your common-sense wisdom. Cheers!

  20. Pingback: Being is not a Behavior | "A Beautiful Place of the World"

  21. I have to ask what Kloppenmum means. I looked it up and it says “to beat as if with a hammer.” LOL That doesn’t seem to be your parenting advice, so I am curious what it means. 🙂

    • LOL
      Yes, the name…Well, I tried about 20 different names when I joined wordpress and they had all been taken, the Hare and I were in fits of laughter thinking that I was never going to find one that I liked…he picked up the Dutch dictionary and said, how about kloppen…it means knock on the door…we both said, kloppenmum! and there you have it. Although there are certainly some parents I would love to (metaphorically) beat with a hammer I’m pleased the blog doesn’t come across that way!!

  22. IfByYes says:

    Good for you for continuing to try different things until you figured out what worked. As a dog trainer, I am totally baffled by people (be they dog owners or parents) who continue to try the same thing again and again, even though it obviously isn’t working…

    • It bothers me too. Surely if things aren’t turning out how you intended them to – you find what’s wrong and at least try to change it? I guess that’s partly why I started all this – to help people who *were* looking for decent information. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  23. boobjuice says:

    Thanks for commenting on my silly advice — looks like yours is the real deal. I am glad to have your blog for reference.

    • Always enjoy commenting on other people’s blogs (I am *very* opinionated!). Glad to be a reference point. All tried and tested advice – nothing I haven’t used with our kids.

  24. Laura Weldon says:

    Karyn, can’t seem to find a way to send you a note. I have signed up for Twitter (I’m @earnestdrollery) without actually doing much with it (so much for connecting with people!) but I simply wanted to recommend a blog I think you’d like. A recent post seemed to have something to do with one of your posts about trauma (I couldn’t find “trauma” in your list of subjects). The blog is Priviledge of Parenting and the post is
    http://privilegeofparenting.com/2011/06/01/waiting-for-the-end-of-the-world-on-the-couch/#more-5877

  25. Yulia Yudith says:

    hi Karyn, it would be very busy but the best moment raising three kids.. I have two boys and it is really a blessed for me to have this opportunity to raise both of them. Thankfully I find your blog so that I can learn so many thing in parenting. I am a new blogger. I really hope you are willing to visit my blog
    http://www.mylifeismyrainbow.wordpress.com

  26. Yulia Yudith says:

    hi Karyn, it would be very busy but the best moment raising three kids.. I have two boys and it is really a blessed for me to have this opportunity to raise both of them. Thankfully I find your blog so that I can learn so many thing in parenting. I am a new blogger. I really hope you are willing to visit my blog
    http://www.mylifeismyrainbow.wordpress.com

  27. Vee says:

    Karyn, although I honestly looove reading your posts…. I have to admit I get sad sometimes because I realize some of the mistakes I’ve made in parenting– especially with my eldest of the three, who is 8 years old. Goodness, where have you been the past 8 years??? I keep thinking of how you repaired the situation with your son being unhappy, and wonder if we can ever repair our situation considering my daughter is much older than your son was at the time of your nurturing turn-around. (I have been a rather strict and authoritative parent with her as my first, while I am learning to relax now with my other two, she’s not quite trusting the change).
    I also wanted to know how you define the terms you use for each of your children: Hare, Owl, Butterfly, etc…. If you have a post explaining this, I must have missed it, so I am curious to know the details behind associations. Thank you!

    • Hi Vee,
      Thanks for your comment and support: I feel your pain with your daughter, we are still ironing out things we did wrong with our oldest son and I keep regressing when I am stressed or not concentrating – it’s been like fumbling in the dark for us, and the reason why I choose to blog to help others along the way. All I can say is: luckily human brains are open to change and children really do want to feel connected to us.:) Specific Ideas? Bed-sharing is great, if that’s an option for you – when the kicking stops (after around 4 – 6 months) you know you’re really making progress. My Mr Hare says this is the most important thing for him, and I still often sleep with him even though he is 10. Warm eye-contact is a really powerful connector and one that I hadn’t even realised I’d missed in the early days. Once children can hold warm eye-contact with their Mothers – it means they are less stressed. Boring Cuddles are magical. Tickle sessions, as per my latest post are useful as they are a chance to bond and disperse stress hormones. The key might be to tell your daughter her day story (in the Autobiography post)every night for a few months or so – in the end, it’s the child’s ability to make sense of things which is most important. I also tell our son that we listened to bad advice, and that I’m sorry and that if we’d known different, we’d have done things differently. It did take our boy a while to get used to the changes – we’re almost seven years along the journey now and I do remember him being rather nervous about this ‘new’ mother when we first started. The only caution I have is not to throw the baby out with the bath water with regards to boundaries – have kept my expectation of good manners and completing reasonable tasks and there are times when I ask for the boys’ thoughts or suggestions, tell them I am considering them (I am) and then make the final decision – sometimes as they would like and sometimes not. Children can become quite lost and very naughty if there are no edges to their world.
      With regards the terms I use with the children, I am in the process of working with Amazon on a booklet about temperament which will explain these in detail. Hopefully this will be out in June/July. I’ll post when it’s available. Sorry, long reply – but hopefully there is something here for you to begin with. I have kept reminding myself that children want desparately to feel our love and want to do what pleases us, and that has kept me going… all the best. Karyn

  28. thirdeyemom says:

    Hi Karyn: Congratulations again on your book! That is so wonderful! I don’t know if I ever mentioned this to you or not but I started my own book two years ago ( a fiction novel) but haven’t worked on it for over a year. I felt way too busy and that I was getting too deep into it to really spend the time on it. So I put it aside until I knew I would have clumps of time to devote to it. I’m not there yet. I’m thinking another year when Sophia is in school. Yet I really want to at least start on it slowly when i’m inspired. I have written five chapters of over 100 pages. All of it is in Word. What I’m wondering is, (1) what kind of software did you write your book in? (2) Is there a special kind of book publishing software out there? (3) do you know much about self-publishing? I’ve heard it is insanely hard to get a book published. For me, I’m thinking I’ll just do it myself and see what happens. What are you thoughts? You can always email me personally at : nmmelancon@yahoo.com. Thanks for your help and I’m so proud of you! Nicole

  29. Jacquie says:

    Hi Karyn,

    I’ve followed you here from Kirsten Doyle’s blog and facebook page. I think your views are fascinating, and I think many of your techniques may work with my 8 year old adopted son with RAD and autism far better than any mainstream interventions have managed in the past three years. Connection is what he needs, and you seem to have real understanding about how to make it. Thank you!

    Jacquie

  30. Judy says:

    I nominated you for the Liebster Award. I hope you’ll accept! http://myjourneysinsight.com/2013/02/25/liebster-award/

    • Thanks so much, Judy. I don’t know if it’s reticence or inertia, but I just haven’t ever taken up these awards (the lovly Kirsten Doyle from runningforautism also nominated me this year). I do appreciate the thought though and hope you keep reading. 😀

      • Judy says:

        Of course, I’ll keep reading. To be honest, I felt the same way about the energy involved and requirements. It’s actually like a “chain letter!” But when it came down to it, it was actually quite fun to write about myself and put some questions together. It was also nice to recognize my favorite bloggers, too. So if it strikes you down the road, know you can always do this later on. It’s just a fun diversion and can bring more traffic, too. You deserve the honor! Hope you’re well.

        • I’m in a really *interesting* space Judy! It’s all good, but some big shifts in consciousness and life have happened/are happening. Thanks again for thinking of me. xx

          • Judy says:

            Well, I’ll be thinking of you. Honestly, I can relate. So much happened to me since when I first began writing. I really found clarity as a result. I see clearly where I’m going now and have a few hurdles myself at the moment. But I have definitely evolved since being everyone’s caregiver to discovering my own life! ps. My children are doing quite well. My oldest son will be graduating from college this year. All of them are miracles and love has definitely worked wonders on them, too.

  31. I have a question for you… first of all, thank you for the insight you’ve provided here. my daughter dakotah is 3 1/2 and she’s been rather challenging at bedtime, i can never tell when she is tired and ready for rest. even at naptimes she often refuses to sleep and last night she simply did not sleep at all… the entire night! she wimpered and rolled around in frustration and when i’d approach her she was so confused and upset, unable to tell me what was going on in her little head that was keeping her up. ofcourse i searched for reasons immediately this morning and found this… it makes complete sense to me. i agree with everything you said but i kept asking myself “how can i possibly follow such a schedule for my child and ensure she’s getting enough rest if i work 40 hours a week?” we wake up at 6:30 usually, i drop she and her brother at pre-school, where they nap but probably not until late afternoon and then i pick them up in the evening after my long shift at work. by the time we have dinner and bathe and put on our pjs and read books, it’s already 8:30 pm. and that’s on a regular day, some days she’s with their dad who may not follow the same schedule… how do i work with her in such a situation? this whole not sleeping at night business is very troubling to me and i want her to be a well-rested, happy child. can you provide any insight on this matter? thank you again.

    • You can only do what you can do, Rachel, and other people’s schedules come into play in your situation. I would focus on each day/night as you can and be as warm and supportive of her emotional state as you can be…as I am sure you are being. The late nap stage will pass and sometimes that’s all we have to hang on to, as parents.

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