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Growth

Parenting Rage is Real—Here’s How to Manage It

Can you relate to this scenario?

You wake up and spend 30 minutes coaxing your kid to get dressed for school while you rush to get ready for work.

They fight with you over what they want to wear, insisting on the same blue shirt they’ve worn every day this week.

You finally make it to the kitchen table for breakfast, only to have them refuse to take a single bite of food.

You try hard to keep your voice from rising, asking them nicely over and over again to please eat their breakfast.

“Eww, Mom, the yolk’s too runny.”

Snap.

You’re not sure if this anger has been bubbling up inside you for a while now or if you just woke up extra irritable today. But something inside you has broken in two.

Your heart pounds and your hands shake as you let out a desperate yell in response:

“FINE, GO AHEAD AND STARVE!”

Alas, parenting rage has reared its ugly head.

Parenting Rage Is Real

What you’re experiencing is legitimate—and more common than you think.

Rage is the uncontrollable, monstrous sibling of anger. It’s an emotion we’re all prone to feeling—whether or not we like to admit it.

No one wants to be the scary mom shoving her cart down a grocery store aisle with a crying kid behind her. But when we feel rage, our families often bear the brunt of it.

As parents and caregivers, it’s our job to provide a safe and loving environment for our kids—not traumatize them with our uncontrollable meltdowns. And yet, we’re imperfect human beings who get tired and stressed and lose our tempers once in a while.

So, what now?

Managing the Fury You Feel

The good news is that parents and caregivers can take proactive steps to manage the fury we sometimes feel. Here are a few places to start:

Ask yourself, “what’s my unmet need?”

When we experience escalated feelings of stress, sadness, or anger, it’s because an unmet need has been continuously ignored or violated. It’s impossible to take care of your family’s needs when you yourself are drawing from an empty tank.

In the case of parental rage, sit with yourself for a moment and ask yourself what you really need. Are you stressed about work? Sleep deprived? Frustrated with your marriage? Perhaps you need your co-parent to step up and help out more with the kids.

Be aware of your triggers.

What behaviors send you careening over the edge? I suggest keeping a trigger journal to observe words or actions that set you into a rage.

If you notice that back talk always gets your temper flaring, do some inner work to find out why. Is there something from your own childhood that makes you react so strongly to your kids having a different opinion from you?

Being aware of our triggers helps us deal with the negative emotions associated with them—and hopefully react better next time we find ourselves in a triggering situation.

Forgive yourself.

Yelling at your kid doesn’t make you a bad parent. It just means you’re human. Forgive yourself for the times you’ve lost your temper—and let your child know how sorry you are for your outburst. Move forward and commit to doing better next time.

Parenting rage may be real, but so is our love for our children. When we work on our own issues, we can learn to respond with gentleness and compassion instead of anger.

Love and Blessings,

Katherine

P.S. If your rage has become unmanageable, please don’t hesitate to ask a professional for help. There’s no shame in needing additional support. The Conscious Parenting Revolution also has a network of supportive parents

Categories
Best Practices Growth Health and Wellness Leadership Personal Development

Feeling anxious? This Can Help.

Remember your child as a baby? When they accidentally hit their head on the side of the crib or get startled awake by a loud noise? Seconds tick by slowly as you wait for the sound of that gulp for air — usually followed by a piercing cry.

Breathing: it’s probably the most hard-wired, involuntary function we do as human beings. Every creature, great or small, breathes. Breathing gives us life, and we don’t even have to think about doing it — you inhale and exhale as reflexively as your heart beats in your chest.

But despite the fact that breath keeps us alive, we tend to take it for granted.

The Harvard Business Review and the Yale News both recently conducted studies revealing the effectiveness of SKY Breath Meditation, a breathing modality that engages the parasympathetic nervous system — the part of your brain that controls rational thinking, gives you a sense of calm and provides balance in stressful situations. Participants in both studies reported a better sense of well-being and mental health after just two days of practicing the methods.

As someone who has been trained in SKY Breath Meditation for 10 years, I can attest that breath does so much more than supply your body with oxygen. The way you breathe can have a big influence on how you feel and experience the world.

If you’ve been stressed, depressed, or overwhelmed — by current events, the holiday season, or your kid’s insistence on listening to “Baby Shark” on repeat — you’re not alone.

Here are some tips to help you literally catch a breather (share them with your child too!):

  • Deeper inhales and longer exhales. What happens when your child cries? Their breaths turn to hiccups. The same thing happens when we feel stressed or sad. When you start breathing rapidly, consciously focus on taking deep inhales and long exhales. Count to 4 for inhales, 8 for exhales (or as close as you can comfortably get). The fog in your brain will clear up in seconds.
  • Do some quick, light stretching. Pressured by deadlines at work and the mounting pile of laundry at home? Take 5 minutes for a quick stretch break. Full-body activities like a yoga sun salutation get your blood flowing with good oxygen and help relieve stress.
  • Carve out time for meditation. Ten minutes is ample time for you to feel the positive effects of your breathing/meditation practice. Don’t have 10 minutes? Take 2 minutes, if that’s what you have. Find a quiet spot to sit in and breathe deeply. Check out our work with America Meditates by Art of Living.

Learning to control your breath can help rid your body of stress and flood you with positive energy. Not only will you feel more in control of yourself, but you’re also providing an excellent model for your children about the importance of self-care.

Supportive breathing is just one technique for becoming the parent you want to be. If you’re interested in true parenting transformation check out the 90 Day Parenting Reset Program.

Love and Blessings,
Katherine

PS To start 2023, we’re offering you 70% off of ANY of our supplemental parenting tools! That includes the Ultimate Parenting Toolbox, Applying Solutions Mini Course, and our Conscious Parenting Kickstart! Just go to our Conscious Parenting Revolution site and use the code TAKE ACTION at checkout. I’m so excited to dive deeper into this journey with you!

Categories
Culture Growth Health and Wellness Human Resources Leadership Personal Development

Is Your Teen Rebelling, Resisting, and Retaliating?

Is your teenager’s defiant behavior ruling your family life?

The teenage years are challenging, leaving many parents and caregivers at a loss. But in fact, there’s a perfectly legitimate explanation for their behavior. During adolescence, humans begin developing their prefrontal cortex—the part of the brain responsible for making judgments, weighing pros and cons, and managing emotional responses.

This critical part of the brain continues developing until the mid-20s, making it difficult for teenagers to think critically and manage their moods. Research even shows that teens often misread cues and facial expressions…and are more likely to interpret them as being shocked or angry.

Yikes! Combined with the flood of new hormones coursing through their bodies, it’s no wonder your teen walks around constantly sighing, rolling their eyes, and slamming doors!

17

Understanding the Three Rs

According to child psychologist Dr. Louise Porter, who I co-authored the Guidance Approach to Parenting with, 75% of family disruptions result from what Dr. Thomas Gordon called the Three Rs: Resistance, Rebellion, and Retaliation.

When your child refuses to walk beside you at the mall, they’re resisting. When they go to a party instead of doing their homework, they’re rebelling. When they’re aggressive with their siblings because they feel misunderstood, they’re retaliating.

Teens’ defiant behavior is a reaction to power and control being imposed over them and is the classic activation of those 3Rs mentioned above. The lack of control over their emotions and bodies, combined with their legitimate need for self-direction and autonomy that is thwarted by many parents, causes them to “act out.”

As parents, we owe it to our teenagers to practice empathy and do our best to understand where they’re coming from. To combat normal but challenging behaviors, we have to give them the autonomy they crave while still ensuring their safety and well-being

18

7 Practical Tips for Managing Your Teen’s Behavior

The 3Rs can be eliminated by using the Guidance Approach to Parenting.  The reason the 3Rs surface is that controlling discipline activates them. The way to prevent them from surfacing is to never activate them in the first place. My TEDx talk, “The Rebellion is Here: We Created It and We Can Solve It,” has more detail about how the process works.

These practical tips can make a world of difference: 

1. When tempers rise, disengage. If your teen is defensive or upset, postpone heavy conversations for a later time. Give them space to calm down and think things over. You’ll benefit from this space, too.

2. Set age-appropriate guidelines. Give your teenagers the independence they crave, setting age-appropriate guidelines. What’s reasonable for a 13-year-old is probably too restrictive for a 16-year-old, so use your judgment and be open to feedback. Create solutions together, seeking clarity so everyone’s on the same page: “So are you saying you would feel better if I let you do your own thing from 2-5 pm on Saturdays, as long as you tell me where you’re going and with whom?”

3. Find common ground. Connect with your child by finding activities you both enjoy. Watch a movie together, go get ice cream, or play a favorite sport. Engaging in shared interests fosters a positive environment for meaningful connection. If your teen starts opening up about their life, listen and invite them to tell you more! Be careful not to use the 12 roadblocks to communication or will go awry!

Is Your Teen Rebelling, Resisting, and Retaliating

4. Respond, don’t react. When your teenager confides in you for the first time about, say, a boy they’re interested in, resist the urge to freak out! Drop the “my baby” perspective and be as objective as you can. Give advice like you would to a friend, assuring your teen that they can talk to you about anything—even the uncomfortable stuff.

5. Avoid phrases like “You never” and “You always.” Nothing sparks defensiveness more than the words “never” and “always.” Reframe your language to be non-accusatory. Instead of, “You’re always late for school!” say “I’ve received some reports about lateness from your school; is everything okay?”

6. Respect their privacy. With so much happening in their minds and bodies, teens can be extremely self-conscious about, well, everything. Respect their budding sense of self. That means no snooping in bedrooms, phones, laptops, or social media. Build trust with your teen, and they’ll feel empowered to tell you what’s going on.

7. Help them understand the changes in their body. Teens are better equipped at handling physiological changes when they’re fully aware of what’s happening. If they don’t want to talk to you about these changes, enlist the help of a trusted family member, friend, or counselor.

As your teenager navigates this complex period in their lives, it’s critical for parents to provide the support they desperately need.

Still feeling daunted? Parents need support, too! Our private FB community can help you chart these churning waters. Join us inside the Facebook Group for Tuesday Tips for Parents, Tuesdays at 6:10 pm PST. Our team of coaches streams in live every week to answer all your parenting questions.

Categories
Leadership

Should parents always present a united front?

Did you ever catch that children’s program, Bananas in Pajamas? The main characters are two bananas, B1 and B2, who are identical in every way. They walk the same, talk the same, and very often think the same! B1 and B2 are always aligned, and they live in the kind of harmonious home that could ONLY exist on a kid’s TV show.

The Banana family is unknowingly helping to perpetuate the myth of the united front. I’ve worked with thousands of parents in the last 20 years, and most of them believe that parents should be in total agreement when it comes to making decisions about their kids. Like identical twin bananas, they strive to feel, think, and react the same way to their children.

Child: Can I go to a friend’s house this weekend?
Parents: (In unison) Yes!

Child: Can I eat this block of chocolate for dinner?
Parents: (United) No!

Child: Can you teach me to square dance?
Parents: (At the same time) Maybe later.

 

You get my point.

The problem is that the united front isn’t real! You and your parenting partner are two distinct human beings. You each have your own history, upbringing, and unique set of experiences. You’re probably unconsciously passing down behaviors and beliefs you learned as a child, long before you met your partner or became a parent. Your opinions may be influenced by deeply held beliefs about age, gender, propriety, and other factors. You might feel the way you do because of what you ate for breakfast.

In short, it’s I-M-P-O-S-S-I-B-L-E to agree with your partner on every single issue or question around raising your kids. Trying to present a united front is not only exhausting, it’s inauthentic.

At the same time, you don’t want to get into a pattern where your child runs from one parent to the other, only respecting the answer they want to hear. What’s a conscious parent to do?

  1. Be honest. If you disagree with your partner on certain issues when it comes to your kids, be transparent with them about your feelings. Ignoring your differences will cause more trouble later on. Discuss your own childhoods and how your experiences have shaped you to react differently.
  2. Show your support. You can have a different opinion than your partner without undermining them. For example, “I’d love to play music right now, but Daddy needs to work” is a better explanation for your child than “Your Dad says we can’t play music right now. He’s no fun.”
  3. Forget good cop, bad cop. No one’s “good” or “bad” for feeling one way or another. Learn to honor your individuality in front of your children while respecting your partner’s feelings (and your child’s). It will teach them to do the same.

I hope you’re ready to lay the myth of the united front to rest!

If you’d like to join a community of parents who don’t always agree but still support one another, check out the Conscious Parenting Revolution Facebook group!

Categories
Culture Growth Health and Wellness Human Resources Leadership

Ask Katherine: How do I get my kids to read?

 

  1. Pick a genre they’re interested in. Is your child into animals and insects? Try recommending “Charlotte’s Web” or “Babe.” Do they love a good adventure? “Chronicles of Narnia” might be right up their alley! Capture their attention with topics and genres they already enjoy.
  2. Create a cozy reading nook. Whether it’s a small tent in the living room or a pile of pillows in the bedroom, create a space dedicated to reading. Children love having their own space to enjoy. Make one rule, though: in order to use the reading nook, they actually have to read.
  3. Surround them with reading material. If a kid grows up surrounded by candy, chances are high that they’ll like candy. The same rhetoric applies to reading: when your children have easy access to books, they’ll be more likely to pick one up.

[eut_single_image image_type=”image-link” image_mode=”medium” image=”32023″ link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fc-suitenetwork.com%2Fexecutive-membership|||”] 4.Make reading a family habit. Children model their parent’s behavior, so make reading a shared activity for the entire family (yes, that includes Mom and Dad). Schedule an hour or two on the weekends just for books. You can even join your kids in their reading nook!

5.Read aloud. Reading aloud can make a story more engaging. Take turns reading chapters or assign a specific character to each family member. You can also try audiobooks, many of which have fun voice narration to captivate even the most distractible audiences.

6.Make reading fun. Create fun activities centered around reading. For your outdoorsy boys, a bike ride to the library might do the trick! Older children may enjoy starting a book club with their friends or cousins. They can even host their “club meetings” out on the lawn or over Zoom!

[eut_single_image image_type=”image-link” image_mode=”medium” image=”32020″ link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fc-suitenetwork.com%2Fexecutive-membership|||”]

Categories
Culture Growth Health and Wellness Human Resources Leadership

Is Your Teen Rebelling, Resisting, and Retaliating?

Is your teenager’s defiant behavior ruling your family life?

The teenage years are challenging, leaving many parents and caregivers at a loss. But in fact, there’s a perfectly legitimate explanation for their behavior. During adolescence, humans begin developing their prefrontal cortex—the part of the brain responsible for making judgments, weighing pros and cons, and managing emotional responses.

This critical part of the brain continues developing until the mid-20s, making it difficult for teenagers to think critically and manage their moods. Research even shows that teens often misread cues and facial expressions…and are more likely to interpret them as being shocked or angry.

Yikes! Combined with the flood of new hormones coursing through their bodies, it’s no wonder your teen walks around constantly sighing, rolling their eyes, and slamming doors!

17

Understanding the Three Rs

According to child psychologist Dr. Louise Porter, who I co-authored the Guidance Approach to Parenting with, 75% of family disruptions result from what Dr. Thomas Gordon called the Three Rs: Resistance, Rebellion, and Retaliation.

When your child refuses to walk beside you at the mall, they’re resisting. When they go to a party instead of doing their homework, they’re rebelling. When they’re aggressive with their siblings because they feel misunderstood, they’re retaliating.

Teens’ defiant behavior is a reaction to power and control being imposed over them and is the classic activation of those 3Rs mentioned above. The lack of control over their emotions and bodies, combined with their legitimate need for self-direction and autonomy that is thwarted by many parents, causes them to “act out.”

As parents, we owe it to our teenagers to practice empathy and do our best to understand where they’re coming from. To combat normal but challenging behaviors, we have to give them the autonomy they crave while still ensuring their safety and well-being

18

7 Practical Tips for Managing Your Teen’s Behavior

The 3Rs can be eliminated by using the Guidance Approach to Parenting.  The reason the 3Rs surface is that controlling discipline activates them. The way to prevent them from surfacing is to never activate them in the first place. My TEDx talk, “The Rebellion is Here: We Created It and We Can Solve It,” has more detail about how the process works.

These practical tips can make a world of difference: 

1. When tempers rise, disengage. If your teen is defensive or upset, postpone heavy conversations for a later time. Give them space to calm down and think things over. You’ll benefit from this space, too.

2. Set age-appropriate guidelines. Give your teenagers the independence they crave, setting age-appropriate guidelines. What’s reasonable for a 13-year-old is probably too restrictive for a 16-year-old, so use your judgment and be open to feedback. Create solutions together, seeking clarity so everyone’s on the same page: “So are you saying you would feel better if I let you do your own thing from 2-5 pm on Saturdays, as long as you tell me where you’re going and with whom?”

3. Find common ground. Connect with your child by finding activities you both enjoy. Watch a movie together, go get ice cream, or play a favorite sport. Engaging in shared interests fosters a positive environment for meaningful connection. If your teen starts opening up about their life, listen and invite them to tell you more! Be careful not to use the 12 roadblocks to communication or will go awry!

Is Your Teen Rebelling, Resisting, and Retaliating

4. Respond, don’t react. When your teenager confides in you for the first time about, say, a boy they’re interested in, resist the urge to freak out! Drop the “my baby” perspective and be as objective as you can. Give advice like you would to a friend, assuring your teen that they can talk to you about anything—even the uncomfortable stuff.

5. Avoid phrases like “You never” and “You always.” Nothing sparks defensiveness more than the words “never” and “always.” Reframe your language to be non-accusatory. Instead of, “You’re always late for school!” say “I’ve received some reports about lateness from your school; is everything okay?”

6. Respect their privacy. With so much happening in their minds and bodies, teens can be extremely self-conscious about, well, everything. Respect their budding sense of self. That means no snooping in bedrooms, phones, laptops, or social media. Build trust with your teen, and they’ll feel empowered to tell you what’s going on.

7. Help them understand the changes in their body. Teens are better equipped at handling physiological changes when they’re fully aware of what’s happening. If they don’t want to talk to you about these changes, enlist the help of a trusted family member, friend, or counselor.

As your teenager navigates this complex period in their lives, it’s critical for parents to provide the support they desperately need.

Still feeling daunted? Parents need support, too! Our private FB community can help you chart these churning waters. Join us inside the Facebook Group for Tuesday Tips for Parents, Tuesdays at 6:10 pm PST. Our team of coaches streams in live every week to answer all your parenting questions.

Categories
Culture Growth Health and Wellness Human Resources Leadership

Ask Katherine: My kids won’t stand up for themselves

Dear Katherine,

My children are the targets of bullying on social media. These bullies make up rumors and spread lies about my kids, and I can see the effects of this cruelty weighing on them.

I have ideas for confronting the bullies, but my kids don’t want to talk about the situation at all.
I want to get through to them and offer guidance, but I’ve hit a real roadblock.
What can I do?

Sincerely,
On Their Side

Hey there, On Their Side.

My heart goes out to you–dealing with bullying is hard for kids and parents alike. I’m reading two primary concerns in your message: that you want your children to open up to you more and that they’re not standing up for themselves.

Let’s address each one:

  1. Getting your children to open up to you

First and foremost, you need to find a way to get through to your kids and address the bullying. The best way is to employ your active listening skills. If they’re still resisting your attempts to communicate, show them that you empathize with what they’re going through.

Acknowledge how hard these conversations are for them and that they’re in a crummy situation. Assure your kids that you understand their side — including their hesitancy to stand up for themselves.

After you’ve demonstrated that you’re an understanding parent, move on to a protective use of force. Your kids’ well-being and reputation are at stake, and they shouldn’t allow this problem to go on without trying to handle it. You can assert yourself without coming off as angry or demanding. Try saying something like. . .

“I can tell this situation is really hard for you because you don’t even want to talk to me about it. But I can’t just leave it alone because your reputation and well-being are on the line. I love you too much to allow you to forsake those things because you want to avoid a difficult conversation.”

  1. Encouraging your children to be more assertive

Now we can move on to your next concern: How can you help your kids be more assertive? The answer is simple: Model the behavior you wish to see.

Young children can’t practice what they don’t observe. If your kids witness you standing up for yourself, they’ll be able to replicate that behavior.

Ask Katherine: My kids won’t stand up for themselves

Parent-child communication helps here, too. Talk to your children about the difference between assertiveness and aggressiveness. Explain that being assertive means using I-statements, like “I feel” and “I need.” In contrast, aggressive behavior is associated with you-statements, like “You’re mean.”

I wish you the best as you navigate this challenging time in your kids’ lives. You sound like a genuinely supportive parent. With your help, your children will be able to confront this issue and eventually overcome it.

Love and Blessings,

Katherine

 

 

Categories
Culture Growth Health and Wellness Human Resources Leadership

Practical Advice for Any Parenting Challenge

Parenting is a constant learning curve. Just when you’ve finally resolved one issue, your kids grow up! And another challenge arises.

No matter where you are in your parenting journey, we’re here to support you. To make things easy, we curated some of our most popular blog posts to help you through any difficult situation. 

Sit back, relax, and choose a topic that speaks to you to start creating a happier and healthier relationship with your kids.

 

Best of Pandemic Parenting

5 Reasons Your Family Needs a Daily Routine

5 Tips to Handle School From Home This Spring

How to Help Your Child Navigate a Not So Normal Holiday Season

”Boo!” Said a Ghost From 6 Feet Away

7 Ways to Help Your Child Through the Pandemic

Best of Conflict Resolution

Dear Katherine: My Two Girls Are in Competition Over Everything

What’s Fair About a Chocolate Bar?

Dear Katherine: My Son and His Stepfather Are No Longer Speaking

3 Steps to Defuse Any Fight With Your Kid

The Real Reason Your Child Doesn’t Listen to You 

 

Best of Monitoring Screen Time

How to Keep Your Kid’s Screen Time (and Your Sanity!) from Spiralling Out of Control

Worried About Your Child’s Video Game Habits?

 

Best of Parenting Myth Busters

Busting the “Bad Kid” Myth Once and For All

Are You Raising a Spoiled Child?

 

Best of Co-Parenting

Should Parents Always Present a United Front?

How to Become an Awesome Parenting Partner

 

Best of Stress Release

Are You Stressed? Your Kids Are Probably Feeling It Too

Feeling Anxious? This Can Help

 

If you need additional support, you’ve come to the right place. Join the Conscious Parenting Revolution private Facebook group for even more community!  And you can join Tuesday Tips for Parents every week on Tuesday at 6:10 pm Pacific time when Katherine, Lauren, and Nam stream into the private Facebook group live and offer Tuesday Tips for Parents.  Come and join us!  Ask your questions in the comments box and we will address them.

Categories
Culture Growth Health and Wellness

Ask Katherine: What If I’m Not Perfect?

Dear Katherine,

My husband and I are working on our parenting and have realized that many of the changes that need to occur in our family start with us. 

We have much to learn about our own needs and behaviors, but as we put in the work, how realistic is it for us to expect our children to manage their own emotions and needs?

Is it possible to raise children to stop the behaviors we don’t like, even if we sometimes exhibit them ourselves? 

Sincerely,

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Hi there, Do As I Say, Not As I Do, Great question! On some level, I believe every parent hopes that their children will be better versions of themselves.

Unfortunately, the reality is that children—especially young ones—can’t be what they don’t see. They have no frame of reference for it.

Pexels Mikhail Nilov 6964102

You’re right to recognize that much of the work of conscious parenting is more about parents than children. You need to do the work of untangling your ingrained beliefs around approaching conflict, dealing with emotions, and understanding trauma, so you can help your children do the same.

This work can—and should—take place concurrently. You don’t have to be a perfect parent to have a wonderful relationship with your kids!

When you acknowledge that you’re exhibiting the same behaviors you’re guiding your kids away from, be honest with them about it and have a moment of reflection together. Try saying something like. . .

Pexels August De Richelieu 4262424 1

“I’m so sorry that you have to see me behaving like this. Sometimes despite my best efforts, I mess up. You’re allowed to mess up, too. But let’s talk about why it happened so we can both move on.”

Kids need you to be the best version of yourself to become the best version of themselves—and that process involves communication and accountability.

It’s a lot of pressure, but the good news is that you can get there as a family. Take the time you need to work on yourself. If it means carving out time just for you, that’s alright. Becoming a part of the Conscious Parenting Revolution is a phenomenal start.

I believe in your capacity to lead by example for your kids. Confident parenting is within your reach!

Love and Blessings,

Katherine

Categories
Culture Growth Health and Wellness Human Resources Leadership

Is It Time for a Parent-Teacher Conference About Your Parenting Style?

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a Conscious Parent eager to raise your kids using effective communication and active listening. Perhaps you’ve even joined us for the 90-Day Parenting Reset and are practicing the principles of the Guidance Approach to Parenting at home.

But what happens when your child steps outside their protected family bubble? How do you explain the Guidance Approach to Parenting to teachers, child care providers, and even grandparents?

The adult caregivers in your child’s life don’t need to subscribe to the same parenting method as you, but they do need to respect your decisions on how to raise your children.

Talking to Caregivers and Teachers About How to Treat Your Child

These proactive discussion points can help you effectively communicate your parenting style to adults who interact frequently with your kids:

  • “I treat my kids with the respect every human being, regardless of age, deserves.” At the core of the Guidance Approach to Parenting is the conviction that children are humans too—which means they deserve to be seen, heard, and respected. This fundamental value should lead any conversation you begin.
  • “We encourage self-direction instead of reward vs. punishment.” Explain to your child’s teachers that instead of a punitive approach to “bad” behavior, you prefer self-directed resolutions. If your child has an altercation with a classmate, ask their teacher to help identify the root of the problem. Was there an unmet need or a misunderstanding? Once both sides of the story have been heard, the conflicting parties should collaborate on a solution that makes everyone happy.
  • “We use acknowledgement rather than praise.” Praising a child’s looks or intelligence teaches them to measure their self-worth based on superficial traits and what other people think of them. It also brings the poison of measuring their self-worth from external factors.
    Acknowledgment connects a child to their own sense of accomplishment so they can more clearly see their own skills and competencies, and sense into how they feel about themselves.  After all, the cornerstone to solid self-esteem isn’t seeking others’ approval or praise.
    Assure grandparents that they can congratulate their grandkids for a job well done, but that they should emphasize hard work and self-discipline as opposed to empty praise for being “smart.” For example, “I admire how hard you worked on that.” “Congratulations!” “Did you know you could do that?” and “You seem proud of yourself.”
  • “I refrain from using negative adjectives to describe my kids (e.g. calling them “spoiled” or “bad”). There’s a big difference between pointing out that a child made a mess and making them feel like they are a mess. No one likes to be called names! Ask the adults in your children’s life to use non-blameful descriptions of behavior and to avoid names or labels that can undermine your kid’s confidence or sense of self.
  • “Our children know when we talk down to them.” When my daughter Pia was in elementary school, she came home one day absolutely indignant at how a friend’s mother had spoken to her. “Mom, she never would’ve talked to you that way,” she said. She was right. Adults assume that kids won’t catch the nuances in our communication, but they can tell when they’re being talked down to. It can’t possibly feel good to be marginalized and viewed as “less than” just because you’re a child. Caregivers should always be aware of how they’re talking to children.

Sharing your perspective with people who don’t hold the same beliefs isn’t always easy. And altering someone’s point of view won’t happen overnight. But you owe it to yourself and your kids to have these tough conversations.

If you need further guidance starting a dialogue with the adults in your children’s life, our private parenting Facebook group can offer support and help you build your confidence. We stream live every Tuesday at 6 pm PST. You can put your questions and concerns in the comment thread and get them addressed right then and there.

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