The Art of Actively Listening


Communicating with our children can be a difficult task at times.  We feel like they’re not listening to us; they feel like we’re not listening to them – it is a crazy cycle.

Good listening and communications skills are essential to successful parenting.  Your child’s feelings, views and opinions have worth, and you should make sure you take the time to sit down and listen openly and discuss them honestly.

I shared a bit about the importance of open communication and finding the times during our busy days to connect with our kids in my Back 2 School Survival Guide.  We often miss opportunities which are right in front of our eyes just because we think we don’t have the time to stop or that it doesn’t matter.  Be intentional when it comes to grabbing those moments when your child wants to share with you.  This is even more critical as your children enter the tween/teen years!

You can learn a lot about our kids when we take the time to just ‘be’ with them and truly hear them, we just need to keep a few things in mind.

Respond – Not React

It seems to be a natural tendency to react rather than to respond.  This seems to be automatically how we are wired – especially for those of us who struggle with being inpatient and with the inability to pause in the midst of conflict. We pass judgment based on our own feelings and experiences.  However, responding means being receptive to our child’s feelings and emotions and allowing them to express themselves openly and honestly without fear of repercussion from us.  [Read more…]

5 Family Traditions to Start Today


The holiday season tends to be a time when we carry on some family traditions and perhaps take the time to create some new ones.  But you don’t have to wait for the holidays to mark special times together as a family – begin creating some unique memories everyday.  I am guest posting over at Frugal Living NW on 5 Family Traditions to Start Today.  Maybe you can pick up an idea and put it into action this weekend!

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When Martians Speak


By Lori Byerly

From my son’s first words, “sti” (stick) and “ra” (rock), I knew I was in for some challenging communication issues.  I love to play with words.  I love the subtle nuances of various words and how you can put them together to communicate ideas and concepts.  How was I going to live with this little person who made lots of “bbbppppttt!!!”  noises and whose greatest joy was taking things apart?

In time I did learn.  I had to enter his world of trucks and bugs.  I listened to endless stories about battle strategies between plastic soldiers.  Our house was littered with forts made of blankets and trails of Lego blocks (I don’t know of a single item that hurts more to step on than a Lego block).  Along the way I’ve learned a few tools and I’d like to share them with you. [Read more…]

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