Mom's 'Rubber Band Method' of Positive Parenting Inspires Thousands

May 25, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. ET
Image: Aliyev Alexei Sergeevich/Blend Images/Getty Images

Angel Camden of Virginia was struggling — big time — with parenting her 4-year-old son, whose behavior had taken a turn for the worse. (Pretty sure we can all relate.)

The problem: Angel could feel her behavior taking a turn for the worse too. Worried that her frustration and anger with her son would affect him negatively in the long-term, she searched for help online. And she found an idea that really hit home for her.

On her Facebook page, she posted, “Today, I tried something new. Something that required me to exercise patience with my oh so testy 4 year old. I wore 5 rubber bands on my wrist from the time I got up, to the time I tucked him in just now.”


She explained that the five bands represent her anger. Each time Camden expresses a negative reaction, she shifts one band to the opposite wrist.

To earn the band's return to the "good" wrist, Camden said she must "do 5 kind/positive things" with her son: "dance party, singing a song together, reading together, etc."

More: Could you be a toxic parent — and not even know it?

Camden stated on Facebook that she was intrigued by the experiment because she'd read that every poor reaction from a parent requires five positive ones to rebalance the relationship — and the importance of positive everyday interactions with kids in their early brain development has been proven again and again in scientific studies.

Although the rubber band method of positive parenting is nothing new, Camden's personal experiment received a huge response. Her Facebook post was shared more than 43,000 times — underscoring how many of us parents struggle to keep our temper in check with our kids.

Camden doesn't plan to remove the elastic bands anytime soon.

"I'm going to be using this method until it becomes a habit and basically turns into an auto pilot ritual," she said. "I've found myself so incredibly stressed out, I beat my head against the wall daily because I don't understand why my 4 year old insists on being disrespectful and a non listener."

More: I don't want to be an angry mom

She continued, "I was to the point of crying at least every other day. I have finished the day with all 5 bands on the original wrist. I'm very proud of myself for exercising patience with him. I know it's only day 1 but I'm hopeful this will help our communication skills and our relationship."