Finding a better way to get positive behaviors by acknowledging the real reasons for them. "It Was Never Your Fault"

These are some of the most powerful words I use in coaching parents.  "It was never your fault," carries a healing message to children that releases them from undeserved guilt.  When children are free of guilt, they're learning, listening, and functioning well.  

When parents are also freed from guilt, they, too, learn, listen and function well. That's my aim, to help you, as a parent release guilt that you never deserved.  

"How does that work?" you might wonder.  I offer parents forgiveness because I truly believe you/they have always been doing what you knew how to do. When my kids were young, I made a lot of mistakes. If I'd had a parent coach back then, I would have loved guidance and forgiveness from a trusted professional. I think it would have made all the difference. Now that that ship has sailed, I feel privileged to be able to lead parents through Present Moment Parenting in a way I never was. I feel honored to say, "You did your best. It was never your fault when things didn't go well."  

And for kids, it's the same. There's not a child in the world who doesn't want to be in close connection with their parents. After all, parents are their survival, so it makes sense that they would strive to maintain the bond. But their emotional state, undeveloped as it is, prevents them from making the bond stronger. They falter, they have meltdowns, they make their parents feel frustrated and angry. 

As the adults, it's our job to realize they never intended this disruption in the closeness with us. They just lacked the brain development to control their outbursts, their refusals, and their nasty words. Once we realize that undeveloped brains is the issue, and not bratty, controlling, impossible kid, we're miles ahead of the game of healing the break between ourselves and our children.  

So, what's the first step? Changing our automatic reaction to defiance from one of upset and consequences to one of understanding, calm, and listening to the underlying emotion. When we can do that, our kids feel seen, heard, felt, safe. And from there, we can gain their cooperation.  

Recently I heard a quote from a parent that went: "Once I dropped the parent role and focused on strengthening our relationship, everything got better."  That to me, is gold.  

What do kids need? A loving, accepting, guiding presence. This enables them to learn, follow, and emulate their parents' behavior, especially forgiveness.  

If you'd like more information on how parent coaching works, click here. I'd love to help you form that strong, healing bond with your children that reduces defiance, strengthens your relationship, and brings peace to your home. 

To read or listen to my book, click here: Present Moment Parenting; The Guide to a Peaceful Life with Your Intense Child

Feeling Panicky about Social Media, Video Games, Advertising?

Posted: July 6, 2019

Modern parents have a huge assignment, one that their parents didn't have to deal with: keeping their kids safe from input from electronic devices.  There's the ever-present phone, the child's quick vulnerability to quick addiction to games, and the land-mine of social media, where bullying can devastate your child's life.  

When  I posted on this topic on Parenting Mojo's Facebook page, I got a big response.  So I'm writing today to offer some tips, but more importantly, to offer some care and concern for you as a parent.  I look around at all the stressors involved with raising children, and it's often overwhelming to think how much is involved.  "When I was a kid" :-) we were raised on benign neglect, left to our own devices to navigate a much-less-scary world.  We were on our bikes until dark, playing "kick the can" after dark, and generally roaming free until we got hungry.  Our parents were drinking, smoking, playing cards - in their own world, and only making sure we showed up eventually.  We worked around the house as a matter of expectation, not "reward-oriented," and we did our homework alone.  In two short generations, the game is completely changed.  

I have to say that this type of childhood was great for growing into our confident selves.  We had to make a lot of decisions and test the world to find out what worked and what didn't, often with no input from adults.  We learned to count on ourselves, for better or worse.  

But the world has evolved to one where adult input seems much more pressing.  Too many horror stories are online for parents to read - about abductions, sex trafficking, child suicide from bullying, and game addictions that rob kids of their childhood.  We have to wonder if technology, with all its benefits to our lives, is really such a good thing in the big picture.  

So the tip I want to offer is a weekly screen-free family meeting.  These meetings can center you and your children on your values, and help you to make group decisions on screen time and content limits.  More importantly, the mere having of a meeting communicates loudly that "our family matters."  As a bonus, children learn that their input is respected and that they need to consider adults' perspective, too.  That's why it's vital to keep talking until you can all agree on the limits.  You want to raise thinkers, not order takers, so have these meetings to get your kids thinking about why there are limits on screen time.  Help them realize why adults have to  monitor their devices, which is that you are doing the modern parents' job of keeping them safe, not just trying to control them (a frequent mis-interpretation on their part.) 

If they say, "Other kids' parents don't do this!" be patient.  It's a fact that many others don't.  Your response can be that you don't have a role in other families' decision-making, but you do in yours and it's extremely important that you raise your children with your values.  They may balk at this, but underneath, know that they feel more secure in your love for them when limits are certain.  

And don't forget the present moment as your main parenting tool.  Maybe you've made some mistakes in the past about screen time and social media.  OK, time to forgive yourself.  Use your next present moment to make up for it by connecting with your child.  He doesn't need a perfect parent, just one who can admit mistakes and come up with new collaborative solutions.  That's being a caring modern day parent, both for your child and for yourself.  You matter, too.  

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