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Dear Katherine: Why is My Granddaughter So Moody? — Conscious Parenting Revolution

Hello, Conscious Parent! Welcome to “Dear Katherine,” a monthly Q&A with real-life parents/caregivers. If you’d like to submit a question of your own, email me at katherine@consciousparentingrevolution.com.

Dear Katherine,

I have an 11-year-old granddaughter whose emotions are all over the place. Recently, she came home from school in an especially angry mood. I could tell something had happened, but when I asked her about it, she yelled that it was none of my business and slammed the door in my face.

What should I do? Should I give her space? I never know how to respond to her in situations like this.


Concerned Grams

Dear Concerned Grams,

First, I want to give you some good news: “bad” behavior at home means a child feels certain they’re loved no matter what.

Your granddaughter knows she can let her hair down and be difficult in front of you because you’ve created a safe place for her to fall apart. If she were to exhibit this kind of behavior at school, it would be a symptom of a much bigger problem.

But Concerned Grams, I know this assurance doesn’t fix the problem you’re having.

What you and your granddaughter are experiencing is a classic communication breakdown. Neither of you has the necessary tools to reach the other, so you’re caught in a rut of ill-expressed feelings, hurt, and unmet needs.

Here’s the thing to keep in mind: children don’t have the sophisticated vocabulary or the maturity to identify their unmet needs. So 99% of the time, a child’s default reaction to emotional discomfort is to fall apart crying, screaming, kicking-or all three!

As the adults in the room, it’s our job to teach kids to self-regulate their emotions and effectively express what they need. Here’s what I recommend:


No matter how personal your granddaughter’s behavior may feel to you, know that it’s not about you. Her yelling and slamming doors are symptoms of her own pain, and nothing else.

As Marshall Rosenberg once said, “Never listen to the words people say.” Your grandchild’s angry words will only trigger you. So when you feel emotions begin to rise, allow yourself self-empathy and self-compassion. Take a pause and step back. Once you’ve depersonalized, then you’ll be ready to re-engage.Once both you and your granddaughter have achieved a level of calmness, open a line of communication in a gentle, leading way.

Lead them out

Once both you and your granddaughter have achieved a level of calmness, open a line of communication in a gentle, leading way.

If you suspect the problem stems from friendships at school, for example, start with something like: “It seems like you’re feeling so distraught. You need to be seen as who you are, to be acknowledged and included, to have security in your relationships. Do you feel like one of your friends isn’t meeting these needs?”

Then listen to her response – with compassion and without judgment.

Help them name their unmet needs

Because children have trouble identifying their unmet needs, they blame external factors for how they feel.

If they’re excluded from a party invitation, for example, they feel so overwhelmed with negative emotions that the underlying unmet need (i.e. the need for belonging and friendship) goes unresolved.

Help your granddaughter express, “I feel… because my needs aren’t being met,” instead of letting factors she can’t control dictate how she feels inside.

Concerned Grams, when a kid is hurt, sad, or distressed, they have no idea how to reconnect in a meaningful way with those around them. But your concern is the first step to helping your granddaughter through whatever difficulties she’s experiencing.

Love and Blessings,


P.S. Want more support to transform your family dynamics? Join us for the 5 Day Parenting Reboot, launching September 13th!

Originally published at https://www.consciousparentingrevolution.com on August 27, 2021.

Best Practices Culture Growth Leadership Personal Development

The Rule of 7: Testing Your Commitment to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

I have truly enjoyed engaging so many companies, schools, and individuals about pressing issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. I have found that most people are serious about challenging themselves on seeing where their biases lie and doing something about it. One challenge that I have seen, however, is that too often, people with whom I interact ask me what books they need to read or what terminology they need to adopt in order to not make a mistake and be called out for being racist, homophobic, etc. While the concern is understandable, this is not the way to achieve true diversity, equity, and inclusion and definitely not a way to become antiracist. It’s more of a way to check off a box saying “I did this so I’m good.” I would like to propose a simple, but more in-depth measure of seeing how serious you are on diversity, equity, and inclusion. I propose The Rule of 7.

Rather than checking the box or reading an assigned book, The Rule of 7 is personal. Only you know the answers to these 7 questions and therefore only you know what you are supposed to do about it. The real question is do you have the will to actually do something about it or are you going to stay comfortable and not rock the boat? You can come up with your own list of 7 questions or you can do it as a group of friends or even at your job. The goal is not to come up with an easy list. This should be a list that challenges you to become better on this journey. The reason why The Rule of 7 can be powerful is because it speaks to what you’ve already done versus what you’re doing. The 7 questions could include:

  1. What do your 7 closest friends look like (or the 7 closest friends of your children)?
  2. Who are the authors of the last 7 books you read (or books bought for your children)?
  3. What do your 7 closest neighbors (in terms of proximity) look like?
  4. What did your last 7 teachers look like (or the current teachers of your children)?
  5. What does the cast of the last 7 shows and movies you’ve watched (or that your children watched) look like?
  6. What did your last 7 hires look like or what do the 7 closest members of your work team look like?
  7. What do the last 7 toys you bought for your kids look like?

I could go into more detail about each question but they are all self-explanatory. If, for example, you’re white and all the answers to all or most of your 7 is “white,” you have more work to do. If you are black and your answers are mostly “black,” you have work to do. I would also say that if you are a member of one group, say Latinx, and your responses to the most questions are mostly “white,” you also have some work to do. For those of you with children or students in your life, this is also important because you may be programming them in way that reinforces a narrative or superiority or inferiority in their minds in the same way you may have been programmed.

If this article is too vague for you, that is the point. The goal of this article is to challenge you to work on your own or with colleagues and friends to actively challenge your biases and do the work to diversify your experiences and practices. I can give you books, documentaries, glossaries, and TED talks for days. At the end of the day however, you have to do the work to challenge yourself on your thoughts and experiences with diversity, equity, and inclusion when nobody is watching. Lastly, if you want to go to a deeper level, spend time exploring why your neighbors and teachers all look the same or why you do not work with anyone who does not look (or think) like you. That is an entirely different reading list for you. Are you ready? Let’s go!

Growth Leadership Personal Development

Mastering Pressure as a Professional…The Olympic Way

Mastering Pressure as a Professional...The Olympic Way

There are an extraordinary number of lessons to be learned about the human psyche from this year’s Olympic Games. The first—and probably most important—is that even the world’s best have their limits. There was an excellent article in last week’s NYTimes acknowledging Simone for her courage to walk away. A path is first shown to her by Michael Phelps just before RIO 2016. But I want to talk about the lesson those moments have for all of us on a personal level.

When you yell at your kids, you know (too late) it’s not really them. When you misread a business situation or negotiation, you know (too late) you lost your inner control. When you judge (or pre-judge) a date or loved one, you know (too late) “it’s not them.” In our Mastery Under Pressure program, you master the tools and techniques to put aside those inner doubts, old demons, and unproductive thoughts that are getting in your way on a day-to-day level.  But no matter how good you get at self-control, we’re all human—and the ultimate mastery is to know when you’ve reached your limits.


Too Smart for His Own Good

One of our associates raced cars in his teens and 20s, and one day he just stopped. When he was asked why, he said, “I was too smart for my own good. While most of the time I could focus on the event, every once in a while I would think about what I was doing and what could happen. If you want to master anything, you can’t be thinking about what failure would mean.”


True Mastery Means Knowing Your Own Limits 

Everyone—from the CEO in the corner office to the tennis champion on the center court—comes up against their limits. So how do you know? First, you recognize those limits are coming from inside, not any external circumstances. Think about just a few of the ways we encounter obstacles or distractions. Mastery Under Pressure is about putting aside our inner doubts and handling the situation. But there are signs we give ourselves that should be a signal that we’re approaching (or exceeding) our limits:

  • lack of sleep
  • relationships suffering
  • kids being angry at you for not being there
  • colleagues being disappointed
  • physical ailments
  • addictions to food, drugs, alcohol
  • your mind doesn’t shut off
  • you’re not making good decisions
  • you lack confidence in the decisions you are making

Almost all of those are ways we and the world around us try to tell ourselves that we’re either reaching our limits or we’ve headed down the wrong path. That’s the moment when the ultimate expression of mastery has to come forward: You have to know when to stop. That’s the Olympic way.


Making Healthy Olympic-Like Choices

Again, I salute those athletes who’ve stepped up and stepped away, saying, “No mas!” Forty years ago, the boxer Roberto Duran uttered those words to the referee as he quit in the middle of his world championship bout with Sugar Ray Leonard. 40 years ago, the few voices that acknowledged what he did were drowned out by the scorn our culture and our society heaped upon Duran. We’ve come a long way. And we have further to go. It’s worth noting that every Olympic athlete who’s walked away (so far) has been competing as an individual athlete, not as a member of a team. There are probably a few of those who would like to stop but don’t want to let their teammates down. We hope the day will come when they will have the courage to do so…and all of us will acknowledge them, not judge them. 

Until then, I invite all of you to keep making Your Best, Better!


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