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…]

The Power of Consistency


This week on my audio blog I shared a principle from my Becoming a Calm, Cool and Confident Mom series that is often a turning point for many moms I work with – Empty Threats.  As Hal Runkel says in his book, “ScreamFree Parenting” – empty threats are really broken promises.

Let that sink in a minute – we normally think of promises as good things we will do or get from others – but in parenting, promises we make to our children are often how we handle disciplining them.

The problem comes when we as parents do not keep promises – any kind of promise.  When you tell your child that they will lose their TV privilege if they have not done their chores, yet you allow them to watch TV even when they have not completed their chores – you are breaking a promise.  It effects them just as deeply as if you had told them that when they turn 10 they will get to go to Disneyland.

This is where consistency comes into play in the parenting world.  It is the biggie, the one word that catches everyone’s attention, but often is the hardest to accomplish.  Being consistent in anything is hard – very hard – but the relationship with your child depends on building a trusting relationship with him/her and how can you do that if your child can not believe what you say? [Read more…]

We are the Star Role in our Child’s Relationship Production!


Post written by Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC of Imagine Hope Counseling Group

When we think of “role models” our mind often goes to teachers, coaches, or people in our community that showed us positive ways to develop into positive people. We are better for being taught by them.

As parents I think it is easy to forget that we are on stage all the time with our kids. We are being role models to them. They are little sponges that are soaking up everything. Little ones (and big ones, too) are trying to figure out their world and how to relate to everyone in it. [Read more…]