New Year’s Resolution Redux

IMG_2156Note:  I first published this post one year ago and re-reading on the first day of 2015, I find it still speaks to the heart of a parenting dilemma. How can we expect to become better parents when we’re so busy being hard on ourselves? I wanted to share it with you again and encourage you to take time to make the list I prescribe and share it with a friend!

What if this year you did something totally different with the whole New Year’s resolution thing?

Instead of setting the usual intentions for becoming a better version of yourself, you made a list of all the things you already do smashingly WELL, as a parent!

Don’t you feel guilty just thinking about it?

I do. It feels odd and unnatural.

For me it would be much easier to spend the next 500 words describing my shortcomings as a mom and all that I could do better.  (Read: more family dinners, more trips to the library, more game nights, more patience, more follow through on kid jobs, more communication with my 18 year old… more, more, more…you get the picture.)

Not going there.

This year I’m doing something RADICAL. I’m going to share with you a challenging exercise that I LOVE, inspired by Kelly Bartletts’s blog Parenting from Scratch.  It’s about turning away all of that “I’m not good enough” parenting stuff and welcoming the good that’s already there.

I’m asking you to acknowledge what you do well and linger in the good. I assure you, this is not a silly exercise in self-aggrandizement.

When we do this, our brains literally re-wire for positivity and well-being. It’s what Dr. Rick Hanson, author of Hardwiring Happiness and Buddha’s Brain, calls taking in the good. Hanson says that putting attention on good experiences helps build new connections in our brains  –

 It’s part of the growing body of research around Neuroplasticity. We have the ability to change our brains!!

So, what does Neuroplasticity have to do with parenting? When we put our minds to it, we can become happier, better parents. And now here’s what I’m asking you to do:

  1. Make your own parenting infomercial (i.e., I’m great and here’s how:)
  2. Stick with your list – share it – savor it
  3. Be on your own side – be aware of that sabotaging voice but don’t feed it

This was a tough exercise for me. I noticed my loud, qualifying gremlin voice saying things like “but you don’t do X enough” and “you’re a parenting educator, your list should be much longer!” etc.

What’s important is that I made the list anyway, noticed that critical voice along the way and kept going. Here’s my list: (and before you read it, promise me you’ll try making your own.)

Lisa’s “Things I Do Well as a Parent” List

  1. I make yummy soups
  2. My “from scratch” dessert traditions kick-butt
  3. I read stories aloud to my youngest before bed
  4. I pull out my goofy, silly side on a weekly basis, for everyone to see
  5. I exercise and eat well (modeling what I want for my children)
  6. I love reading great books for myself (ditto)
  7. I am a room parent for one of my kids’ classes
  8. I got those weekly family meetings going on
  9. I regularly snuggle with my seven and fourteen year-olds
  10. I take the time to pause and breathe before I react to my child’s fall, F on their report card, the blatant lie, and of course – the periodic tantrum.
  11. I’ve gotten very good at biting my tongue and boy is it an effective parenting tool! (Listen more, too)

There you have it.

Now, I insist that you do this exercise for yourself.

Remember, when we recognize our own strengths, we nurture our minds and our whole being.

Really let it sink in after you’ve made your list – take it one step further by sharing your list with a friend.  Then notice the visible and invisible ways your relationship with yourself and your children unfolds for the better.

Peace and Happy New Year!

CONSIDER⇔SHARE⇔ACT 

Consider your list, the mundane and extraordinary ways you parent. When you share what you’ve come up with below you  inspire us and remind us of things we’ve forgotten.

Some of you have told me you feel too shy to share in this forum – in that case email me your list. I’d love to cheer you on!

Get emails from me.
2x a month.

Want free tips on finding more joy in parenting… more connection with your child and … freedom from your inner critic? Sign up!

8

The gift that keeps on giving

Images are powerful. Today’s mail included a Lands’ End catalogue with a cover photo that caught my eye:  a mom lovingly sandwiched between her admiring tween daughter and four-year-old son, all three clad in their snuggly PJ’s.

Mom  had an eggnog-induced, post-nap afterglow that made me wonder if she wasn’t the kids’ free-spirited Aunt Uma visiting from New Mexico who’d had a little extra something something just before the photo shoot.photo

I admit it, I want some of that “look” and the feeling of holiday contentment it implies.

So I wonder, is “relaxed Mom” available in a size large with express shipping?

It’s our tradition to celebrate Christmas and the truth is, what I really want more than anything, is to know that the holidays have been meaningful to my family beyond the gift-giving. I want to feel THAT kind of relaxed (and sure, a little bit of the other stuff wouldn’t be so bad either.)

Lands’ End promises that their pajamas will give you,  “the Magical Moments of Christmas Mornings all Winter Long.” That seems like a tall order for a PJ and slipper set.

Instead, I’m going to offer two tips for a more enduring “Mom Glow”, and it won’t cost a dime. One tip pops you into action while the other invites you into presence.

Lisa’s “Holiday Glow” Tip #1: Discuss ‘together time’ with your family

This might sound like you’re adding more activities to your already packed schedule. But fear not. It’s about peeling away obligations and busy-ness to find experiences that are meaningful to your family.

Sometime in the next week pull your family together (e.g., during a car ride when everyone is captive) – and ask these two questions:

“What’s one thing you want to do with the family, during this holiday time?”

“What’s one thing you want to do alone or with friends during this holiday time?

This creates an intention for the time you have together so by the end of the holiday break you’ll feel less like “I don’t know where the time went” and more “Yes!….. that was just the holiday I desired … ! In other words, less frantic and more fulfilled.

I am not suggesting you agree to satisfy everyone’s wishes. But simply asking these questions shows your family you care and are interested in their desires. Even if the trip to Disneyland isn’t in the cards, deciding to go to the park together with hot cocoa and a blanket might be.

That’s a lot of potential activity to anticipate and coordinate, which leads me to my second holiday tip.

Lisa’s “Holiday Glow” Tip #2: Accept your imperfections

If you’re like many parents I know you catch yourself saying “what’s wrong with my kids – what’s wrong with me? My kids aren’t behaving and don’t listen to me.”  Parenting is hard AND I know we make it harder on ourselves when we listen to our critical self-talk (about our kids and ourselves).

I’m asking you to do this:

Next time you catch yourself criticizing or comparing, take a step back, watch the berating and be both curious and gentle with yourself. In other words, notice your critical voice, but treat yourself as you would an admired friend, with openness and compassion.

So dear REAL parent, here’s my recipe for a relaxed holiday season:

Tip #1: Talk with your family about together time (beyond the shopping) and write ideas into the family calendar

Tip #2: Be kind to yourself/ Accept your imperfections

…and when in doubt, put on your (old, mismatched) PJs (in my case a soft t-shirt and sweats), gather your kids on the couch and hide the to-do list.

Who knows, maybe Aunt Uma will stop by after all.

CONSIDERSHAREACT

What’s one thing you want to do with your family in the next few weeks?

What supports you to feel greater acceptance of yourself as a parent?

Get emails from me.
2x a month.

Want free tips on finding more joy in parenting… more connection with your child and … freedom from your inner critic? Sign up!

1

The Message of Love

IMG_1440Over dinner recently, my dear friend Katie, a graduate of one of my very first parenting classes, shared her biggest take away from the series:  THE MESSAGE OF LOVE. I asked “What effect does this concept have on your parenting today?” She answered,

“For me, the message of love means continually focusing on the big picture with my kids and letting them know that I love them. I apologize for my behavior when I lose it with them. They’re used to that. Even though I make plenty of mistakes and am not a perfect mother, I’m certain they know how much I love them. Every day I’m aware of the value of communicating that love, even in the smallest interactions.”

Today’s message is simple.

How do you show your love within and beyond the many daily acts of caring — the chauffeuring, cooking, laundering…?

Ironically, the hectic pace of Thanksgiving, with all of the preparations, attendant traveling, cooking, and socializing, can distract us from a grounded connection with our kids.

Remember for a moment, someone from your own childhood who you knew cared about you. How did you know? What did they do?

Maybe they spend time with you, listened to you, taught you a skill or game.

Below is a list of ideas, with concrete examples, for communicating the message of love. This list is a beginning. Please share your ideas in the comment section below!

Shared experiences

• Play a game together (we’re into Sorry right now – especially the 14 year old!)
• Cook together (favorites: eggs, lemon squares, help with prepping anything)
• Learn to do something together (friendship bracelets)
• Work together on a project (put together an Ikea desk, replay chess champion game moves, garden)
• Wrestle and rough house
• Walk the dog or take a hike

Empathetic communication

• Deeply listen to your child – no devices, no interruptions.
• Use phrases that convey empathy, such as:

  • You seem__________.
  • You look___________.
  • You sound__________.
  • You are____________.

Body language/tone of voice/alignment of internal and external energy

Be aware of how loving you feel on the inside. Notice how this is reflected on the outside by your facial expressions and body language. When these match you’ll come across with

  • Soft face & open heart
  • Warm, relaxed tone of voice
  • Sincerity and empathy
  • With an older child closet listening is a great option.

Katie reminded me – THE MESSAGE OF LOVE is powerful!

Take the time to BE with your children and communicate the message of love in your own, imperfect way. (Maybe it’s about not sweating the small stuff).

Take a moment to share in the comment section below how the MESSAGE OF LOVE is communicated in your family!

Get emails from me.
2x a month.

Want free tips on finding more joy in parenting… more connection with your child and … freedom from your inner critic? Sign up!

8

Kind-and-Firm: a Positive Parenting Fundamental

Kind & Firm

Kind & Firm

In Positive Discipline a fundamental concept for teaching our children confidence and self-reliance is to be kind-and-firm at the same time.

Kind-and-Firm is one of the first concepts we explore in my Positive Discipline Series.

Let’s visualize for a moment the extreme version of “kind” parenting. What comes to mind?

“Over-indulgence”, “spoiled”, “kids rule”, “anything goes”, “chaos”, “freedom”

Now let’s imagine the opposite of that – extreme “firmness”:

“Mean”, “control”, “yelling”, “tight”, “order”, “no freedom”, “on-schedule”

What happens for most of us is that we oscillate between these two extremes trying to find that ever elusive balance. I’m here to buck the trend and say stop looking for balance! 

LETS GO FOR KINDNESS AND FIRMNESS AT THE SAME TIME.

Okay, nice idea, but how do I do that and what does it look like?

Here’s a real-life example that I hope will bring kind-and-firm AT THE SAME TIME to life:

Putting my four-year-old son to bed had become a predictable and exhausting routine. We’d read two stories and just when I was giving him one last kiss he’d say,“Mommy, lay with me for a tiny – just lay with me for a tiny, please?”

On kind nights I’d say, “Okay honey, tonight I will.” I’d lay with him, but feel annoyed with myself. I was a sucker, yes, but for that moment felt relieved that I had the patience to hang in there until he fell asleep.

On firm nights, I’d feel highly annoyed with him.  My tone of voice and body language would push him away saying, “No, I’m done tonight. You’ve had your stories and mommy needs time alone.”

What matters here is how I felt: angry and worried – I’d created this person who’d become a bottomless pit of need or maybe he’d become a spoiled monster. (Transforming the little moments blog).

Kind or mean, oh, I mean firm… deep down I felt out of control.

In neither situation did I feel neutral, peaceful or good about my parenting.

This pattern continued until one evening, after I’d attended a Positive Discipline training, I came home to put my little guy to bed with a renewed perspective – a PD shot in the arm.

I had an image in my mind of how I could actually be kind-and-firm AT THE SAME TIME during our bedtime routine.

I read him two stories. When it was time for me to leave he made his usual plea for a “tiny.” I took a deep, calm, affirming breath, looked at him and said, “Honey, I have complete faith in you to fall asleep on your own.”

Without a word he rolled over in bed, pulled up his covers and proceeded to go to sleep. Shocking but true!

I will always remember that moment: I felt kind, conveying love through my tone of voice, and firm, conveying genuine, soft confidence (without that mean edge). My guess is that my son absorbed how I felt and in turn trusted my actions and himself. This interaction of love and grounding became his security blanket. His need for prolonged engagement dissolved.

Kind-and-firm parenting can feel slippery – hard to put your finger on. Keep taking small steps in the direction you want to go and when you hit that kind and firm zone – you’ll know it. Take time to acknowledge yourself – remember how it felt for you and how your child responded. Write it down – replay it in your mind and tell your friends and family! Most importantly, sit and relish it for yourself.

When we linger on our successes, no matter how small they may seem to us, we change our brains and we increase the likelihood of repeating such successes! (Buddha’s Brain.)

CONSIDERSHAREACT

Have you had that “Aha” moment with being kind and firm at the same time? Celebrate it by sharing it with us here!

Bonus: What does parenting with kindness and firmness have in common with a tree?

Are you interested in learning more about kindness and firmness?  Here’s an article and podcast from Jane Nelsen and another real life example from Kelly Bartlett.

Get emails from me.
2x a month.

Want free tips on finding more joy in parenting… more connection with your child and … freedom from your inner critic? Sign up!

0

Power Struggle Turn Around!

IMG_1846 - Version 3Let’s face it, we can’t do it alone.

Have you had that experience where you find yourself in a tight parenting situation and low and behold a friend, stranger, or even your child pops up at the perfect moment to remind you of what’s important and then, voila!…crisis averted?

Sheena, a graduate from my parenting course, Parenting with Positive Discipline,  tells this story:

At a local pool this summer my daughter and I were changing in the locker room when I realized I’d forgotten to pack her swimsuit. Oh no! She was not happy. I checked to see if I could buy her a swimsuit. …nope. Maybe our friends had one I could borrow?…Nope.  Luckily I found a swimsuit in the lost-and-found, a little worn out, but wearable.

Back in the locker room I showed my daughter the lost-and-found suit. She was still unhappy.  At first I was a really nice mommy: I apologized for my forgetfulness and told her we wouldn’t be able to retrieve her swimsuit from home. The look on my daughter’s face said that wasn’t working either. Next, I tried bribing her with cookies, and ice cream from the snack shop. She did not budge.

Now I was starting to get mad. How was I going to get her to wear this swimsuit?! I walked out to the pool to tell our friends we were leaving.

Then I saw Lisa. Having taken her parenting class, I prayed she would have some advice for me.

I quickly told her the story and she gave me some words of compassion She held up the swimsuit and said, “what a gorgeous suit!” and “that pattern is so pretty!” (She glanced over the mildew stains on the butt…). It took me a second to realize what she was doing…I wanted a hard and fast answer to my problem and she was admiring the swimsuit?

Then I caught on…ah ha. I headed back to the locker room and my waiting daughter. This time I was a lot calmer and less determined to get her to “wear the suit or else!” I sat down next to her on the bench, offered her one of the cookies, and said lets eat these while we think of what to do next. I then held up the swimsuit and did exactly what Lisa had just done. I started to admire the swimsuit. Within a minute my daughter had changed into the suit and was ready to go swimming. It worked! It worked!

Thank you, Lisa. Your calm and thoughtful approach to parenting is an inspiration.”

What shifted this situation?

Sheenas’ experience is one we all know too well.  Our patience gets tested, we get emotionally charged, and our minds become less flexible. My hunch is that our chance encounter gave Sheena a touchstone to her open, creative mind AND a renewed sense of faith in her child and herself. During this ah ha moment, she was able to beam out from the weeds and the trees to see the entire forest.

Our little ones pick up on our mental shifts. When a child senses her parents urgency, she will dig in. (Aha! here is a game I can play and maybe even win!)

Take urgency out of the equation, and there’s nothing to resist or engage. When we let the air out of that balloon, we all get a chance to relax.

That day at the pool when Sheena bumped into me, it wasn’t my advice or expert knowledge that helped. Rather, I offered a reminder of what she already knew. Afterwards, Sheena relaxed and let go of her goal to get her daughter in the suit. Sensing this shift, her 6-year old similarly let go and decided that swimming would be more fun than continuing with a deflated power struggle.

CONSIDERSHAREACT

What helps you shift your perspective from struggle to connection?

What’s most important to you about your relationship with your child?

 

Get emails from me.
2x a month.

Want free tips on finding more joy in parenting… more connection with your child and … freedom from your inner critic? Sign up!

2

Free Parenting Workshop! Join Us!

I am so excited to team up with the inspiring Rev. Monte McClain to bring your an evening of Positive Discipline! In this two hour introductory workshop we’ll cover the core principles underlying PD in addition to 3 powerful tools you can start practicing right away.

Here are the details….

Date:  November 13, 2013

Time:  7 to 9 pm

Place:  College Avenue Presbyterian Church  5951 College Avenue, Oakland 94618

Cost:  Free

Registration: Email Kathyrn at capc1@sbcglobal.net to let her know you’re coming

Share this information with your friends!

 

Get emails from me.
2x a month.

Want free tips on finding more joy in parenting… more connection with your child and … freedom from your inner critic? Sign up!

0

A Sliding Door Moment

A favorite time of day for me is when my family has gone to bed. The children are all tucked in, I crawl into bed, and get to chose from my IMG_2902stack of great reads.

One recent evening, my 13-year old son came into our room. Just as I was settling into cozy contemplation, about to nod off, he asked “Mom can you come and lay with me while I go to sleep?”

I’d been reading Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly, a powerful book about relationships, parenting and life.  On the pages I’d just finished reading Brene referenced John Gottman’s “sliding door” moments. The sliding door moment is when we come face to face with a choice, exactly the moment I experienced with E standing next to me.

In this moment, we have the possibility of connection or turning away.

Of course it doesn’t boil down to one moment but rather the trend established over time. Gottman says that trust erodes very slowly if we continue to turn away.

Now let’s return to my moment. I so wanted to turn back to my book and the warmth of my cozy bed. However, in front of me was a clear choice. Did I choose to connect with E, or turn away from him? What would you do?

I realized my thirteen year old son was offering me a precious moment to build trust and share affection. I pulled myself out of bed (with some effort & audible moaning, I confess), and padded down the hall after him. I’d made my choice.

Next time you have a sliding door moment and your first instinct is to turn away, take a moment to observe yourself and see what happens when you choose to connect with your child.

CONSIDERSHAREACT

Notice when you say no and when you say yes to a sliding door moment.

What is a moment you are going to say yes to this week?

Share your thoughts here in the comments and pass this on to a friend.

Get emails from me.
2x a month.

Want free tips on finding more joy in parenting… more connection with your child and … freedom from your inner critic? Sign up!

3

Transforming the Little Moments to Bring in the Light

Wouldn’t it be great to have a “before” and “after” parenting show?

Last month I traveled on swanky Virgin America and enjoyed the guilty pleasure of watching “What Not to Wear”. Are you like me? Loving the transformation of the frumpy working gal into the self-confident put together chick? (Hint: I’m a great candidate – waiting to be nominated).

I’m drawn to the details of improvement – the way a crowded, gloomy living room, rearranged with better light, pillows, and plants becomes a welcoming space for activity and life. Powerful.

Let’s bring this analogy home to my role as parent. Here’s a situation I’m sure you’ll relate to. Notice the before and after scenes – I’m the same, loving mom in each. The difference is, in the second scene, I have a deeper understanding of Positive Discipline and with a few tweaks, the interaction with my daughter is transformed at the core.

photo

The scene: I’m putting my 6 year-old, S, to bed and have just finished reading her a bedtime story.

Before:

S: Mom, I’m afraid.

Me: What are you afraid of? (a bit annoyed and really thinking “what could you possibly be afraid of?!”)

S: I’m scared to go to bed.

Me: There’s nothing to be scared of – you’re in your cozy bed and your family is home with you. (My annoyance is building.)

S: I’m still afraid.

Me: That’s silly cause you are perfectly safe. (I’m determined to leave and stop this conversation.)

As I leave the room a jumble of thoughts go through my mind:

  • What have I done to make her so insecure?
  • What’s wrong with her that she can’t simply go to sleep?
  • What’s her fear going to become as she gets older?
  • It’s simple, she hasn’t had enough hardship in her life – if she’d had more trials, like me, then she’d know what fear really is!

After (with a Positive Discipline approach):

S: Mom, I’m afraid.

Me: What are you afraid of?

S: I’m afraid to go to sleep. I’m afraid of all the normal stuff that people are afraid of.

Me: Where do you feel that in your body?

S: My heart. It’s like I have butterflies fluttering in my heart and frogs jumping in my stomach.

Me: Oh, that doesn’t sound good. (I place my hand on her heart).

S: Do you ever get scared?

Me: Yes. Remember last week when we were on the airplane and it was really bumpy and you were laughing and whooping it up? I was really afraid – I didn’t like how that felt AT ALL.

S: I was scared too but it was also fun and funny.

Me: People get scared of different things – I LOVE GOING TO BED.

I left the room, my daughter fell asleep. I wasn’t worried about her future. I felt close and connected to her.

Let’s look at some of the obvious differences in how I felt and acted in the two scenes.

BEFORE:

  • Worried
  • Fearful
  • Stuck in limited “role” of mom
  • Focus on how I’ve failed as a mom

AFTER:

  • Curious
  • Open
  • Interested in our shared human experience
  • Willing to share my vulnerability
  • In the present
  • Faith in my daughter to figure it out

While there’s no perfect way to parent, we can make small, subtle shifts that bring in the light to reveal our higher self. When we allow this to happen, we truly sparkle. The end result? An intimate moment of precious connection with our child. There’s nothing more beautiful than that.

We have much to learn from each other.

CONSIDERSHAREACT

In the comments below share what motivates you to go from scene 1 to 2? What helps you sparkle?

Next time you’re in that #1 scenario, stop, breath, connect, wait. Let us know what happens.

Contact me to learn more about parent and life coaching and future Parenting with Positive Discipline Classes.

 

Get emails from me.
2x a month.

Want free tips on finding more joy in parenting… more connection with your child and … freedom from your inner critic? Sign up!

8

The Self-Care Connection

I’ve come to realize something about me and food. The healthier I eat, the better I feel. Duh!

Here’s my confession. I’m a chocolate junkie. Every day at 4 o’clock…WHAM! I NEED my fix — I feel compelled, as if I have no choice in the matter, to reach into my coveted chocolate stash.

Yesterday, I did something different.

Crunchy Kale Salad (with egg & brussel sprouts)

Crunchy Kale Salad
(with egg & brussel sprouts) Click for recipe!

I started a cleanse…  (I can hear you now, “not another cleanse?!” but this one is awesome … I know because I’ve done it before.) Designed by food & body coach Jamie Greenwood (scroll down to hear an audio download of my recent conversation with Jamie), the cleanse is simple – eat lots of delicious food BUT… no dairy, wheat, soy, caffeine, alcohol OR SUGAR.

What? No sugar???

I’ve been an anti-depravation girl my whole life, convinced it’s better not to deny myself the foods I crave. The logic? The more I deprive myself, the more I’ll want. So with chocolate I’ve kept an open door policy, always allowing for one more bite, then maybe just another, … the bar’s gone.

For my birthday last year I decided to give myself a gift – the Jamie Living Freakin’ Rad Fall Cleanse. Cool right? NEVER in my life had I given up sugar before so I was scared. Scared that I’d fail and let myself down.

Viktor Frankl, the German psychotherapy pioneer, said

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response, lie our growth and our freedom.

Between my craving and my habitual eating there is space. Now I have to figure out what to do with that space.

Reframing this challenge as a gift to myself transformed my perceived depravation, into something positive.

The truth is during the first few days I felt down right ill. However, like morning fog in the Bay Area it lifted and ….wow, the FREEDOM I felt. Not la-dee-dah “I’m free”, but HOLY COW! – I’m FREE! I was free of my craving and even more, free of the constant preoccupation that came with it.

Vanilla Maple Granola Click for recipe!

Vanilla Maple Granola
Click for recipe!

 

I’m not suggesting you throw away your Hershey stash. It’s different for everyone. Look at what you might be eating, drinking, watching, or avoiding to deny yourself the space to grow and be free.

In my Parenting Class, beginning September 26th, we spend only half of one session talking about self-care. The fact is self-care runs through every principle and tool, every discussion, every single class. Self-care is foundational. Self-care creates spaciousness.

Children do better when they feel better,” says Positive Discipline expert Jane Nelsen. This applies to us parents too.

I’m taking the next 10 days to make space, notice it and breathe in the life I need to thrive and be the best parent I can be. Here on day 2 I’m a bit foggy but experience tells me I’ll be soaring soon 🙂

To hear my conversation with Jamie Greenwood and learn more about living a healthier, spacious life click below. Email Jamie at info@jamieliving.com to sign up for her free Body on Board call on Oct. 2.

.

Now it’s your turn! Remember, your comments remind us that we’re not alone, that we’re part of a community in the toughest job of all.

CONSIDERSHAREACT

What keeps you from slowing down and acknowledging the space to choose how you live?

What happens in those moments when you do have space?

How do your habits impact parenting?

 

 

 

Get emails from me.
2x a month.

Want free tips on finding more joy in parenting… more connection with your child and … freedom from your inner critic? Sign up!

2

Weekly family meetings – your lifeboat!

Have your kids plunged into the sea of school yet? Do the homework, sports, music lessons…. all feel like huge waves crashing onto the shores of your once calm, summer life?

Today’s blog is a lifeboat to help you stay afloat. Maybe after you read this you’ll be inspired to ride those narly waves and find some grace and connection with your kids.

The lifeboat I’m talking about is a weekly family meeting. Yes, the family meeting is THE single, most powerful Positive Discipline tool.

During parent coaching and classes, I’m often asked, “How old should children be for family meetings?” The answer is, as young as 3 and as old as 30! Seriously. I know someone who started family meetings after all of their kids were grown and married. The meetings transformed the dynamic of their family and created the space for profound love and healing.

Truth be told, my kids don’t exactly clamor for family meetings. Sometimes my kids complain, resist or try to rush through them.  So the meetings are imperfect and messy . But that is precisely the point. The impact is felt by our commitment to make the meeting happen, not by their being done right (whatever that means).

Family MeetingNow let’s get this baby started. As you read this, make a commitment to try one small family meeting for starters. You can do it. Here’s the low-down:

What:  Call it a family meeting, forum, council, rendezvous, whatever suits you. Have your kids make up a name for this special time (10 to 40 minutes, depending on what’s on the docket and what comes up in the moment).

When:  Once a week. Pick Sunday evenings and make it part of the routine. If you miss a week or two, don’t throw in the towel. Simply start up again.

Where:  Usually at home but my family has held them in the car during road trips or even while out to dinner.

Why:  This is an opportunity to teach and practice Positive Discipline parenting, such as routines, encouragement, follow through, responsibility, leadership, communication, listening, empathy, patience, problem solving and SO MUCH MORE. Each family member feels an increased sense of significance and belonging within the family. In the long-term, family meetings create connection and unity.

How:  Always start with a round of compliments given by all, to all (don’t forget to include yourself!). Other topics could be problem solving, meal, trip or family fun planning. Be flexible but always include appreciations.

See? It’s not so bad! In fact, it’s awesome!

For more on Family Meetings sign up here to get a free download of my super duper parenting tip sheet, “Unlock the Power of Family Meetings”.

The waves of life will keep on coming but now you are prepared. Inflate the family meeting routine and start floating with intentional, scheduled connection. Family meetings are simple, uniting and powerful.  Join me in taking this small but courageous step toward lasting and profound change in your family relationships.

Your kids will thank you for it!

Now it’s your turn! Remember, your comments remind us that we’re not alone, that we’re part of a community in the toughest job of all.

Feel free to ask questions in the comments section below.

CONSIDERSHAREACT

What difference have family meetings made in your life?

What gets in the way of holding family meetings?

Commit to holding 1 this week!

Get emails from me.
2x a month.

Want free tips on finding more joy in parenting… more connection with your child and … freedom from your inner critic? Sign up!

2