Is that my Teen?

April 20th, 2019

Do we as parents embrace our teen's adolescent years? Do we control them? Do we tolerate them? None of the above. When your child enters her teenage years, the best you can do is endure them. Moods? Attitude? Disrespect? Challenges? All of the above. A German psychologist talked about the "sturm ung drang" of adolescence, the "storm and stress." If you use heavy-handed parenting, your teen will either comply or rebel further, both responses at the expense of healthy relationship. Instead, appeal to their better side with observation. "Wow! This isn't like you, Ben. What else is going on here?" If Ben doesn't answer the essay question, make it multiple choice. You know your teen well enough that you'll likely hit on something bugging him. Then follow with active listening to help lower his emotional fever. Yep. That is your teen. Endure the journey.

Power Dude, Doormat, or Servant?

April 18th, 2019

Parents come in all types. Some of us are power dudes. My way or the highway. You get results, but our of fear, not relationship. Other parents treat their children like cut crystal. Don't set boundaries or challenge them, or they will break into tiny pieces. Such a doormat parent yields entitled children who grow up not being able to do for themselves. Servant parents seek to understand their child's needs and feelings with active listening and, with permission, helps them grow in the ways of the Lord. Servant parents encourage individuality, but with respect for others, and community, to help build healthy relationships. If you have the choice of being the power dude, doormat, or servant, choose servant.

Getting through to your Child

April 16th, 2019

Which gets through to your child better---talking or listening? That's a trick question. The answer depends on how your child's doing. If he is having problems, listening is better, specifically active listening. Active listening helps your child know their feelings, lower their emotional fever, and bring all their resources to bear on working things out. If he is not having problems and life is just moving along, talking is better. You can instruct, direct, and share your wisdom. You use "check-in" comments to gauge how he's doing, and then bask in the opportunities for teachable moments. Listening opens your child's heart up to figure problems out. Talking gives your child opportunity to expand his knowledge base hanging out with you.

Heart or Head? Let it Come from your Heart

April 14th, 2019

Active listening is your go-to communication tool when your child is having difficulty. You are sharing with her what you hear her feeling. That comes from your heart. If you try to fix her problem, judge or criticize her, or guilt her into behaving, you will be correcting her, but it comes from your head. Will she really learn anything, other than to do what she is told? If you share what you hear her feeling, she feels heard, valued, and perhaps able to try again. When her emotional fever subsides, ask her permission to help her. If what you share is not what she is feeling, your words still spur her on to identify what she is feeling. With active listening, you are right when you are right and your are right when you are wrong. Let your parenting come from your heart.

Win-Win Parenting

April 12th, 2019

When parents choose to come from their head, they run the risk of getting all power-oriented with their child. This can lead to distance, dejection, and dismissal. Trying to figure out your child's feelings in the moment is the way to come from your heart. And, it's a win-win situation. If you say what you think she is feeling, she feels affirmed, her emotional fever goes down, and she becomes re-energized to move past her upset. If you miss the mark in what you think she is feeling, she will correct you. this gives her an opportunity to figure out what that is. With active listening, you are right when you are right and you are right when you are wrong. That's win-win parenting.

Are You Grateful? Do You Affirm?

April 10th, 2019

As parents, we correct, teach, encourage our children to do things right and the right way. That comes with the job of good parenting. However, can you be grateful and affirm as well? Your child will be uniquely himself. He may do or say things differently than you. That's okay. It gives him a chance to explore his creativity and explore who he is. Would you really want a mini-me? As you interact with your child, take time to express your gratitude and affirmation of who he is becoming. It's a teachable moment and he will glow from your words.

Just Ask!

April 8th, 2019

When you want something, do you just take it? Or do you ask? Most folks will ask, out of respect for the giver. You know what? Our kids deserve the same respect we would naturally give an adult. When your child has shown an emotional fever, and you have used active listening to calm her down, now's the time to offer suggestions and help. The key is to ask her permission, regardless of her age. "You know, sweetheart, you've had such a rough go of it. I have some thoughts about what's going on and how to handle it. Do you want to hear them?" Just plowing on risks your relationship with your child. They may feel judged, inadequate, not smart enough to figure it out. By asking permission to speak, you are conveying respect, and your words matter more. If she says "no," don't continue anyway. Simply let her know that you will wait until she is ready for your comments. Just ask!

Too Hard? Too soft? Just Right.

April 6th, 2019

You parenting style determines how your child will turn out. Too hard? He becomes timid to you, but passive-aggressive, possibly a bully or juvenile delinquent. Too soft? He becomes anxious and fearful because he really does not want to be in charge. Self-serving and entitled are his trademarks. Just right? He gets it. Life is cooperation and compromise. He becomes an independent, responsible, community-minded adult. Get your child on the right path. Be a just right parent.

Be On The Same Page with your Child

April 4th, 2019

You want a relationship with your child. Then communicate. You can't, don't, don't want to communicate? An old saying is that children should be seen but not heard. Good luck with that. Without communication, all you are left with is your power. Power does not make for a good relationship. Active listening and emotional intimacy make for good relationships. In all families, communication is relationship. In healthy families, that communication focuses on emotional intimacy, not on power. With emotional intimacy, you can use your earned authority to execute effective, and appropriate power. Communicate, both verbally and nonverbally, with your child. Be congruent with what you say and do. Use active listening to "get" your child. Be on the same page with your child.

Practice Makes Perfect

April 2nd, 2019

After breaking up the bedlam between your children, how do you sort it out? Who started it? How did each contribute? Who gets consequences? What ever you do, don't start with these questions. After separating the combatants, use your active listening to lower emotional fevers, ask permission to make suggestions, and by all means include each in the problem-solving process. The basic question is, "What can each of you do to avoid these bad things with each other in the future?" Family history will plan a part, and you won't get it right the first time, or the tenth time :( However, make sure your kids know you are trying and that getting along is the goal. With time, practice will make prefect.

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