Parenting Struggles and Personal Development for Kids

Dr. Andrea Pennington
Thrive Global
Published in
6 min readAug 28, 2018


Ask the Author Series

Signe Rhode is a bestselling Danish author and a mother of two. With a master’s degree in communications, writing is a tool she now uses to help other parents and their kids with those everyday struggles; from bedtime routines to handling less tangible problems, such as frustration and anger.

Inspired by her own experiences as a mother, Signe is now taking her brand of personal development for children global, as she published her first kid’s book in English.

If you’ve ever struggled with getting your child to brush their teeth before bed, then later felt horrible guilt for arguing with them, you are going to love Signe’s work.

Signe Rhode, author

Dr. Andrea — We are talking today about your first kid’s book, now in English, titled Why do I have to sleep?

It’s a big step to take your work off around the world. So tell me a little about what got you started as an author of children’s books?

Signe — My main inspiration was becoming a mother. I experienced all those struggles you have as a parent; such as getting your child to fall asleep, or brush his teeth, or deal with his frustration at everyday things. Those challenges we all have with growing up.

I kept thinking that I wanted to find a way not to struggle so much. I didn’t want to be in conflict with my children, forcing them to do stuff. So I kept wondering if there was a better way to handle these things. I wondered about how I could inspire my son to want to have his teeth brushed, and to want to go to sleep at night. So from this, the idea for the book came to me.

Dr. Andrea — I love that. I needed these books when my daughter was young! I felt that same thing, that frustration, and like you I didn’t want to force her to do things. I was thinking that down the line I would be setting her up to resent doing these things, or to resent me! You so want to set your child up to be happy and healthy, and not to struggle so much.

There are 4 books in the series you’ve written, and the first one is Why do I have to sleep? I’d love to talk about each of the books, because you really took an interesting approach to writing the stories. But also you worked with some experts to weave in some really important messages and strategies. So tell me about that.

Signe — I really wanted to make a tool that would have deep, lasting effects. So I wrote these books in cooperation with a neuroscientist and a child psychologist, so that I could call on their many years of experience and knowledge, and make sure I was using the right techniques to get the messages to work for the kids.

Writing the books gave me a physical tool to communicate with my son, and to take the focus off of me telling him what he had to be doing.

Dr. Andrea — People can read this story as their child gets into bed. And the illustrations are beautiful, which again makes it more natural for the child to want the story — it’s not another thing you ‘have’ to do at bedtime. And there are meditations in there too?

Signe — Yes, I feel that these really work on a deep level, when you can get those positive affirmations or intentions to integrate for them.

Dr. Andrea — So as we said, there are 4 books. After Why do I have to sleep? — what comes next?

Signe — The next one is Why do I have to brush my teeth? This was a problem I had with my son, so I really wanted to motivate him to do it; not to have to hold him and make him do it.

Dr. Andrea — You brought in another expert to inform your writing for this book, right?

Signe — I spoke to a dental hygienist for children, who could give me advice for the parents. Then for the 3rd book, Why do I have to eat my veggies? I spoke to a nutritionist.

I wrote this one because kids often don’t want to taste anything new. My son didn’t have a big appetite, so again it was about inspiring him to want to try new things, rather than trying to force him.

I wanted my son and I to work together on these things, rather than against each other.

Dr. Andrea — I love that. And the last one, just the title alone I find really inspiring. Why do I have to learn to say never mind?

Signe — Again, all of the books were written from my own struggle. As my son grew up a bit he ran into typical stuff that all human beings do. He needed to learn how to handle frustration, anger and disappointment. I didn’t just want to watch him struggle, I wanted to give him tools that he could use for the rest of his life. The idea is sort of personal development for children.

My aim for these books is really two key things. One is that I really want to create an understanding within the child. And two is to help them reflect and find their own solutions. So it’s not all coming from the parent, but from within themselves. This empowers the child; that’s the overall goal.

Dr. Andrea — Because these books have already been published in Danish, you’ve already heard from parents who have read these books with their kids. You’ve even heard from children themselves. So tell me a little about the feedback you’ve had so far.

Signe — Getting feedback really motivates me to keep going, and I’ve had some beautiful comments from people. What really makes an impression on me is when parents tell me their children want to read more of my books. Then I feel like I succeeded in getting through to the child, past any resistance to the subject they might have had.

One mother told me that she struggled so much with getting her son’s teeth brushed that she would have to physically hold him to brush his teeth. And I told her I had been there too, and so I knew it wasn’t fun! But since using the book as a tool, they now make brushing his teeth into a game. I’m very happy with feedback like this.

Dr. Andrea — I know that for me, if I had tried to make my daughter do something, and I’d ended up saying, “Because I said so!”
Later on I would just feel so bad about that. So I think all these tools that you are giving us parents, and the way you are empowering children, is so beautiful. So congratulations!

I’m curious as the last time we spoke there were maybe 6 other books in the pipeline. How is that going?

Signe — There are definitely lots more self development children’s books coming. I am working on 6 right now. They are very much in the pipeline; and more of them will be bringing in neuroscience-inspired tips.

You can download a copy of the meditation from Why do I have to sleep? From Signe’s website,, or find the book on Amazon here.

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Originally published at on August 28, 2018.