Archive for the ‘parent planning’ Category

Resolving to Get What You Want

January 4, 2012

Did you make a New Year’s resolution having to do with parenting?   Or, are you like me… a resolution-avoider?  Regardless,  I heard a great quote today.  Although it was used in the terms of healthy eating, it applies to much more, including parenting.  Here it is:

Don’t trade what you want most for what you want at this moment.

There is a lot to think about in that short little statement, but what first came to my mind was discipline.  Many of our courses talk about choosing discipline techniques that make sense in terms of brain development and building skills such as self-control, empathy, cause and effect thinking, ability to let go of control and impulse control.  While we get a lot of agreement that yes, pull close parenting types of discipline do manage the child’s behavior while building those skills, we find that for many of us (ourselves included at times!) what we want right now, in that moment, sometimes gets in the way.

Take the example of a younger child who is throwing a temper tantrum.  The science of brain development tells us that the ability to regulate one’s emotions is learned through someone else helping keep your emotions regulated.  We also know that we have to be present to help the child calm and regulate that mad feeling.  And yet, there is still a temptation to do something that makes them stop crying or throwing a fit right now!!!   …even if “making it all stop” works against what you really want… a child who will ultimately be able to handle their own angry feelings appropriately.

So, take a moment and ask yourself:

What are my goals for my child?
How do I get there?  Do I know how to get there?
What do I need to get there?

Heart of the Matter Seminars

Thermometer or Thermostat?

April 18, 2011

Here’s a question:  In your home, are you a thermometer or a thermostat?

Think about times of emotional stress in your home:

Do you heat up in measure to the intensity of the behavior, emotion, situation?

Or, do you take stock of how "hot it is" and then actively do something to "lower the heat" in your home?

We all want to be thermostats!  Do you know how to be one?  We’d love to share some of our ideas with you through our courses and webinars.  We would love to hear back from you, too.

What is your best tip for being a thermostat instead of a thermometer?  Visit our Facebook page to share your best idea and to see what others are saying.

Heart of the Matter Seminars Facebook Page

The Best Way to Struggle

March 21, 2011

Parents and professionals often refer to a child “struggling”.  It might be struggling with anger, whining, depression, behavior, peers, falling asleep, etc…..

It occurred to me the other day that ideally it’s not just our child struggling with [fill in the blank] but that we are struggling together.

Are you parenting in ways that allow you to struggle with your child?  If not, chances are you’re struggling against them.

“Pull Close Parenting” Your Teenager

December 30, 2010

Experiencing each age and stage of my three children’s lives teaches me something new each time about parenting.   It proves that parenting is not an exact science and that, at least for most of us, we are “building the ship as we sail it.”  I know I am.  Oh don’t get me wrong.   You have to have a plan.  (You know I love parenting plans!)  But part of the parenting learning curve is experiential.  During the last few months my 15 year old accidentally taught me more about pull close parenting for teenagers. (more…)

Does feeling follow behavior or behavior follow feeling?

June 27, 2010

My parenting plan often operates with the idea that feeling will follow behavior.  In other words instead of sitting around waiting for everyone to feel great about something I often encourage behavior that suggests that feeling.   Yes it is a bit of “fake it till you make it” theory but sometimes that can result in some  positives.

I woke up on Saturday with a mission in mind.  Our house was a disaster area.  Things were out of place, laundry was undone, everything needed to be vacuumed and dusted.  I knew that when I announced the plan to clean as a family my 14 year old and 11 year old would not be thrilled.  I knew my husband would agree with me but likely respond badly once the kids started complaining.  Still, I persevered.

I gathered everyone in the family room/kitchen area and announced we were going to clean as a family because we all liked it when the house was neat and tidy.  (I threw the “because” part in there since  a book I had just read on persuasion gave compelling research findings that “because” statements  improve cooperation.)  I laid only one ground rule and that was that we had to all remain in each room until it was completely done.  In this way we would all be together and helping each other.

There was mild grumbling and sighing as we got started but again I persevered.  I became the cleaning cheerleader.  I helped the 11 year old get started taking everything out of the family room that didn’t belong there.  (Sounds easy but this included everything from an unmatched flip flop to a staple gun.)  I exclaimed “Perfect!” as my 14 year old started emptying the dishwasher.  I conversed obviously with my husband who was mining for lost items in the sectional “Honey, working as a family team is so much more fun and fast!  Don’t you think?”  My wink and smile to him got him in the spirit and before you knew it we were all four cleaning and chatting away.

The family room /kitchen area hasn’t received so much attention since a remodel job a few years ago.  Cabinets and floors were polished and cleaned.  Countertops and appliances were scrubbed to a sparkling shine.  Dust and pet hair vanished and were replaced with that lemony clean smell.  It was wonderful.

But the best part happened later that day when I checked my Facebook account and found my daughter had updated her status.  Katie tells me you will all think I made this up so I’m adding a picture as proof:

Reading that was better than smelling the clean house!  All of the cheery teamwork behavior had led to cheery teamwork feelings.  Not rocket science I admit, but amazing and wonderful none the less.

My house cleaning story is really inconsequential in comparison to the effects that “fake it till you make it” can have in more important situations.  I was recently talking to a friend who adopted an older child several years ago.  The child  is now a teenager and their family is happy and thriving.  Even so, my friend reminisced with me about how hard the first year with her new son was.  She was often wracked with guilt because the difficult behaviors of her new son made it hard for her to feel the same way she did about her biological children especially in the early stages of the adoption.  When I asked her what had gotten her through she told me about a conversation that she had had with a mutual friend who is also a therapist.  The therapist’s words had helped this mom because they acknowledged for her that  a “love” feeling doesn’t always come immediately upon adopting a child.  The therapist reminded this mom that her commitment to the adoption and the process of becoming a family was most important  and that that commitment itself was a loving act.  She went on to tell the mom  that when she behaved like a loving nurturing mother it helped to move her “feelings” in the right direction.  This mom told me with teary happy eyes how true that statement really was, how much love she now feels for this child, how mutually this love is returned, and how important it had been for her to hear that important advice during that difficult time.

Give it a try.  Behave in the way you wish to feel today and encourage your family to do the same.  See if feelings really do follow behaviors for you too.

Heart of the Matter Seminars website

From Our In-Box

June 22, 2010

I just responded to an email that came to our general mailbox.  It brings up some great points about education vs. training vs. dispensing information:

I’m interested in purchasing the Because They Waited course.   My husband and I are adoptive parents;  our daughter (adopted from Ethiopia) joined our family last September at the age of 7 months.   We were careful to follow the attachment guidelines we’d read about and our daughter appears to have adjusted well and to be attaching well.   (more…)

Step 4: The final piece of “Ease” into Parent Planning

April 17, 2010

I started this series on parent planning before the shocking news of the Hansen adoption story broke.  Although we have all been understandably distracted by this story and the tragic consequences of it, I think it is even more important than ever that we highlight parent planning.  Sadly, the Hansen family had no parenting plan and either did not reach out for help or did not get the help they needed in creating an effective one.

That being said:  Here’s Step 4 in “Ease into Parent Planning” (more…)

Setting Long and Short Term Parenting Goals: Step 3 in “EASE” into Parent Planning

April 8, 2010

Goal setting is an important and serious step.  This is where I think a lot of us struggle.  We often do a lot of talking (and worrying)  about things that might be wrong or might potentially go wrong but then fall short when it comes to actually planning for them or addressing them . (more…)

“EASE” into Parent Planning Step 2

April 6, 2010

One of the things that my husband and I did early on in our parenting experience (16 years ago) was attend a seminar put on by parents of post institutionalized children and the professional community that serves them.  We actually did it on a whim, or maybe I should say a gut feeling.

At the time, we were just becoming adjusted to life on one income instead of two.  We had just adopted our then 6 year old daughter from an orphanage in Russia, and I had just left my teaching job to stay home with her.  Flying off for a weekend stay in a hotel and paying fees to attend a seminar were not easy choices, and yet I was hungry to educate myself about how my child’s beginning in life might be affecting her. (more…)

“EASE” into Parent Planning

April 4, 2010

Many families we talk to express interest in parent planning but find it difficult to get started.  One way to EASE into parent planning is to break down the task into four steps.

  • Educate yourself
  • Analyze your child’s needs
  • Set long and short term goals
  • Evaluate your progress and plan regularly

We’ll take time to address each of these 4 steps in upcoming blog posts, but for now we are going to focus simply on education. (more…)


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