Successfully and Effectively Parent from the Heart

I believe that intentions are the best predictors of our immediate future. People, and of course, parents, do what they PLAN to do all things remaining equal. I realize that this may seem like a ridiculously simple point but I believe it has tremendous implications in our parenting journey.

Be clear on what you ultimate want to see happen. Be intentional. By claiming the life you want to have as a family you will be moving in the direction of that dream as a traveler with a map moves to his dream destination!

Listen to Your Child

I know this sounds obvious, but I am always amazed how easy that goes out the window in the middle
of every day chaos. I also know that one of the deepest needs we all have as human beings is to be
heard, seen and understood. You are already know what YOU know.

One of the most important things you can do to fully be present with your children is to listen to them with your exclusive and undivided attention.

I know you are thinking: "You haven't been to my house," "you don't know what is like”"or "yeah, but what do I do when I have a million other things I have to do?”. Well, I think we can all agree that this is a simple tip, yet not an easy one to accomplish. We can all sit around with a glass of wine (or water!) and give each other all the "yeah buts" that get on the way of our ability to listen to our kids.

For many of us, the challenge is not our lack of interest, but our inability to stay in the moment. I know how easy it is sometimes for me to be multi-tasking and thinking about all the things I
need to do once I can get away from having to listen to my child.

The painful truth is that if you're not present with your children, they know it. I had a rude
awakening when my 6-year-old turn my face toward hers and said to me: "I am more important than that" referring to a check I was writing while she was trying to tell me something about a friend from school. Ouch!

I realized that the message I was unintentionally conveying to her was that even though I tell her all the time I love her more than anything, she really isn't a priority if I can't take 5 minutes to listen.

Stop. Look. Listen

Stop. That means stop what you're doing, stop watching the T.V., stop reading the paper, stop thinking about other things.

Look. Look into their eyes; you're less likely to be distracted when you're looking into their eyes.

Listen. Don't let that voice in your head drown them out. Sometimes to make sure I'm listening, I will repeat in my head what they're saying.

Control Your Emotions

When things get heated up at home, I do my best to remind myself that one of the most important things I can teach my kid is how to handle stress and conflict. I am blessed with a very intense, challenging, strong willed child who gives me plenty of opportunities to stretch my patience muscles!

I always tell the moms I support that it is crucial that no matter what is going on, we keep our cool. Our children are counting on us keeping are heads on straight, even at times when that is much easier said than done! As a family, we're building a foundation one brick at a time. I know I have been guilty of been less than calm at times. None of us is perfect.

One of the most important things I have learned from coaching parents and from my own parenting is to be honest about "where" we are coming from when we parent our children. Parenting from knee-jerk reactions, passed down family mindsets or society's opinions can be limiting, unproductive and conducive to guilt. Our parenting opportunity is one that requires us to be conscious about everything we say and do when interacting with our children.

As one client told me the other night: "Conscious parenting is a lot of freaking work!" And you know what? She's absolutely right!

If we manage to calm our own anxieties, acknowledge our own past hurts and recognize our own "buttons," we will "respond" to our children instead of reacting to them. Remember: Only one of us can be having a meltdown at a time!

Reward the Behavior You Want to See

I know it sounds a bit contradictory and against what we hear most out there. What we focus on grows, right?