What’s Your Child’s Sign?

January 21st, 2019

We are all born with the IALAC sign. How it evolves over time depends on our life experiences and how we handle them. Your gift to your child is to use active listening and teachable moments to nurture them through difficulties, so that they maintain the IALAC sign they were born with.

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How You Say It Is Just As Important As What You Say

January 19th, 2019

Most of the time you and your child get each other. But, when you don't get each other, there's a disconnect. Disconnects usually occur when your verbal and nonverbal behavior don't match up. When your child has an emotional fever, active listen. Verbal, use feeling words. Nonverbal, look at him, get down on his level, lean in, all nonverbal behaviors that tell him you are listening and that he is the most important thing to you in the world at that moment. When your child's verbal and nonverbal don't match up, observe and confess. "Son, you are telling me to go away, but you are crying. I'm confused. I just want to help." If he runs into your arms, you got your answer. If he yells, "I said go away," then leave, for the moment. Follow with, "when you want to talk about it, I want to listen." Both you and your child say things with your actions as well as with your words. How you say something is just as important as what you say.

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Rules for Electronics in Your Home

January 17th, 2019

In this age of internet and social media, it's easy for the tail to wag the dog. That is, if you don't have family rules for use of the internet and social media in your home, it could easily get away from you. Mental health professionals are now treating internet and social media addiction. To circumvent such difficulties, start with a family meeting. Kids get an equal say in voicing their feelings and opinions. List the where's and how's that personal electronics are on in your home, and then talk about the impact of these devices on your family time and functioning. Come to agreement on how they can be used without interfering with personal and family function. This podcast concludes with examples of three frequent rules for electronics use in your home.

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Have a Problem? Be creative.

January 15th, 2019

As parents, we all have lots going on. When our child has a problem, it's always easier to just solve the problem for him. After all, we are bigger, smarter, more experienced in the world. Just solve it, right? If expedience is your goal, then sure. But do you want expedience with your child? Or, do you want relationship and teachable moments. When Joey shows words and actions that he has an emotional fever, use your active listening to calm his feelings. Then, tell him, "You know, Joey, I have some thoughts about what you are going through. Do you want to hear them?"  If Joey declines your offer of help, don't force your solution. Let him choose. If he wants your help, help him think through all the options, evaluate them, and plan a solution. This is relationship-oriented, healthy, creative problem-solving, and a great teachable moment.

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Making the Most of The Homework Wars

January 13th, 2019

Unless your child is the one in a million who dives into homework each night with great joy and abandon, you experience the homework wars in your family. You know, they don't have to be awful. While you might active listen your child's reluctance to get started on their homework, doing it is not an option. They may have some say in how they do it, but getting it done each night is the goal. Think about how you can include your child in this problem-solving process, so that there are no casualties from your homework wars.

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How to be when things are going great!

January 11th, 2019

Isn't it great when things are going great? No fuss, no muss. Everybody's getting along. Things are getting done. There's a delightful playfulness in the air. Uh oh. What's wrong? Well, how about nothing? You are enjoying the fruits of your parental labor. Your relationships in your family are humming along. Remember, communication is relationship. How to be when things are going great? Be in the moment, Be mindful. Use the time with your family to instruct, to direct, to check in, and to find teachable moments. These things drive healthy parenting and family relationships.

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Stress? What stress!

January 7th, 2019

Stress comes in two forms, the bad struff, distress, and the good stuff, eustress. Each form, however, can generate symptoms that take you off task. Who wants to work with sleeplessness, muscle tension, or gastrointestinal upset? While we can't avoid stress altogether, we can do something about both our mindset and our symptoms. Turn your what ifs into I wonders, and adding a positive outcome to your I wonder, changes your mindset from worrying to being curious. Eating right, making time for sleep and physical workout addresses some of the symptoms of stress. Don't let stress shut down your progress. These kinds of stress management strategies keep you on track for creating and using teachable moments.

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Hearing and Listening are Very Different

December 25th, 2018

     At this holiday time of the year, what greater gift for your child than to really listen to her. Not just hear her words, but interact with your whole body, mind, and soul. That's the power of active listening. You are all there, all in. When your child knows she has your undivided attention, she feels free to really express herself and to let her into her world of needs, behaviors, and feelings. Give your children the gift of really listening, and spending time with them, this holiday season and every day of the hear. Happy Holidays!

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Are You Using Acquired or Earned Authority?

December 23rd, 2018

       Parents often parent according to what they have been used to, when they were kids in their growing up homes. That can be bad, or good. Most parents want to be just like their parents were with them when they were kids. Some parents want to be just opposite of the kind of parents they grew up with. When you focus only on acquired parenting, you are taking the job of parenting and ruling with an iron hand. My way of the highway. No relationship there, except one based on fear. When you focus on earned parenting, you make decisions based on the needs, feelings, and best interests of all involved. With earned parenting, you are choosing relationship over power. What you say still goes, but with sensitivity to all involved. Earn your authority over your kids by promoting healthy relationships.

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Are You About Power? Or Relationship?

December 21st, 2018

All children are defiant at times. It's their way of exploring their environment and developing their identity. How we respond to their defiance will set the tone of what kind of person your child will become. If you focus on their defiance and your upset, you are power-oriented. You miss a critical teachable moment. If you are relationship-oriented, you will draw closer together, as well as maintain your authority. After settling down with active listening, draw your child out with this critical question, "Honey, this isn't like you. What else is going on here?" If they don't respond to this essay question, make it a multiple choice question. You know your child well enough to figure out several possibilities of what might be going on. Once the air is cleared return to discussion about a reasonable consequence for their defiant behavior.

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