The moms in my parenting community call Empowering Encouragement MAGIC.
Picture this: no matter what is going on in life, you have this well of unconditional belief, faith, and trust in yourself.
Empowering Encouragement builds that level of confidence in your discipline practices, and thus the inner voices of yourself and our children.
Empowering Encouragement is simply magic for what you believe will be.
Empowering Encouragement is one of my favorite Positive Discipline tools.
The sentence starter is:
"I believe/have faith/trust..."
For two children arguing: "I have faith you two can work this out."
For clean-up time: "I believe we can get everything put away."
For the teen in your life: "I trust you'll make the decision that's best for you."
The key to Empowering Encouragement?
Really believe it's true!
Remember your children are just little sponges off of your thoughts and feelings.
So you've used Empowering Encouragement, there's a few things that may follow:
1) Give space...
You trust your children can do this. Give them the space they need to make it happen. No micro-managing. Although peaking over your shoulder is allowed.
2) Offer a helping hand...
You have faith they can do it, but they still might need your help (modeling and doing the behavior with them) or you might need to break done into smaller, doable action steps.
3) Use Noticing Encouragement...
Say back what you see happening to give that positive feedback your children's brains need to grow.
Have fun with the magic of Empowering Encouragement!
"Look Mom! Look at me!"
"Dad, watch me! Watch!"
It can be so sweet, and so uh ... repetitive.
But there is brain science behind our children's need for us to watch and celebrate all the little moments of everyday life with them.
Concsious Discipline teaches us that our children's brains are wired to need our feedback to grow.
Dan Siegel talks about the concept of dyadic regulation.
Our children are like little sponges that literally grow their brains off of our brains.
Have you ever thought to yourself, "they should know this by now?!"
Well, maybe not.
Car companies don't rent to people until they are 25 for a reason.
A young person's brain isn't fully developed until age 25.
So, plan on repeating yourself a whole bunch--and using Noticing Encouragement--
until then to grow healthy brains.
Noticing is the best way to connect those dots for the little people in your life.
Conscious Discipline says the highest quality Noticing is:
Using Noticing often, immediately after the behavior, action or event happens, and having it be free of any value judgment of good or bad (often the hardest part) is the BEST quality feedback you can give your children to wire them for pro-social behavior.
In Positive Discipline, we use these sentence starters to facilitate Noticing Encouragement:
"I see/ I notice/ I understand..."
Here's some examples of Noticing Encouragement:
"You put the blocks away," for a child who is cleaning up.
"It's Wednesday afternoon," for the teen who forgets every Wednesday to take out the garbage.
"You took the ball out of his hands," to build awareness about taking turns.
"You're talking very loudly to me," for a child who is upset and yelling.
"You used lots of purples and blues in your painting," for a child showing you a lovely picture.
Get the idea of Noticing Encouragement?
Noticing reflects back neutrally what you see, like a mirror or a movie playback.
Noticing helps children connect the dots of life so they can auto-correct their own behavior.
Noticing helps keep you calm, and buys you time to figure out what to do next.
One mom in my parenting community tried out Noticing Encouragement at home when her son was running through the house with a broom in the air. She simply said, "the broom is in the air near the lamp." He immediately auto-corrected and put the broom down.
Another parent wisely said, "We all want to be seen and heard."
How true is that.
Give Noticing Encouragement a try at home and let us know how it goes.
Encouragement is radical, revolutionary, simple and true and a main tool in Positive Discipline.
It says you are good, amazing, awesome just for being you.
Under this umbrella of your goodness, you are going to mess up, make mistakes, and get upset with your children.
You are human, and your imperfections are part of your humanity.
Do you find it challenging to embrace your imperfections?
The first step is to stop beating yourself up for learning and growing as a human.
Your mistakes are how you learn, and grow.
This is as true for grown-ups, as it is for children.
In the old way of raising and educating children (that is definitely still a part of our educational system and parenting practices), the message is this:
If you behave well, you are a good girl/boy. And if you misbehave, you are bad.
Encouragement says that's hogwash.
People are going to mess up.
I's part of being human and learning and evolving as individuals, and collectively as a people.
You are a good person, who also messes up.
Isn't that liberating?
Making people feel bad or think they're bad people for their mistakes,
at the very least creates people with insecurities.
Worst case scenario, we create bad people. For real. This is serious business putting people down for their mistakes.
So what exactly is encouragement?
Encouragement is big work!
The first step to using Encouragement with your children
is to change your inner voice to Encouragement.
How do you talk to yourself when you make a mistake or have a reason to celebrate?
How can you change your inner voice to an Encouraging one?
Are you Encouraging to you?
Believe in you and your goodness, and everything else will be a-okay.
Ready for more Encouragement?
Learn about the two types of Encouragement: Noticing and Empowering.
From 1 to 18 years,
this tool will bring a smile
to your children's faces.
It's a sweet way
to go about your day with little ones.
For your tweens and teens
-- you'll surprise them,
make them laugh,
cause a a shake of their head,
or a "Oh, Mom/Dad."
Turn "it" into a song.
What's "it" ?
Why anything at all...
Anything you would say
to your children
can be turned into song.
Here's some ideas to get your
cooperation-song ideas flowing.
Sung Lullaby Style:
"Oh my baby,
it's almost time for sleep.
We'll finish eating,
put jammies on,
and read our story.
It's almost time for sleep."
Sung like a rock or pop song:
"Hey there, I said
Be nice to your sister.
Did you hear me?
I said be nice to your sister.
You know what I mean,
you don't want to be mean.
Be nice to your sister."
Sung like the blues or a musical:
"Clothes! Clothes! Clothes!
and tooooooyyyyyssss too.
They're all over your floor
What'cha gonna do?"
Get the idea?
Anything you would speak
is more fun to sing.
Singing will help keep you cool.
Make the kids laugh,
or at least you.
Singing is a stress reliever.
It will connect you
with your children.
Humor = Connection
Connection = Cooperation
Make sure you aren't making fun.
And if your children really don't like it,
to stop right away.
don't worry about
what you sound like---
have fun unlocking
you inner diva or rocker
to connect with your children
and get some cooperation!
Check out this real-life
example of how a mom
from our community,
who is a singer,
puts this tool to use
in a most amazing
and efficient way.
Cathy's song to get her children out the door!
Have fun bringing
the sound of music
alive in your home
connection = cooperation!
You got this,
When you are in Connection with your highest self and your Positive Intent,
you are an awesome + amazing parent.
But, hey life is stressful.
We lose it sometimes.
Here's some ways you can build your muscle of Connection.
So you can stay connected to the power and strength of you
during more moments of everyday life
--especially those stressful ones.
Notice when you are losing it as a parent.
What your triggers are
and how it feels in your body when you lose it
or you are about to lose it.
Develop Your Regathering Plan
Think Move it Through.
Parents yell at their children as a way to release stress.
You can train your brain to learn another way to release stress.
This is called developing your regathering plan.
Most parents need to do something physical.
Jump jacks, run in place, so some squats.
Doing something physical helps you to move the stress through,
in a positive way.
This modeling is one of the greatest gifts you can give your children.
Many parents also say they need to take a break.
Modeling a Positive Time Out is one option,
which means you give yourself time for you to feel better.
Simply stepping outside or into another room can help.
You know how much distance and the amount of time away
that is safe to take for your children's developmental needs
Most likely, you will have 1 to 3 minutes for your break
in another room or stepping out the front door.
Maximizing this time with deep breaths and movements
can be the way to go.
What regathering plan would work best for you and your children?
Developing Your Reconnection Plan
Your Reconnection Plan is whatever affirms your connection with your highest self.
I think of you Reconnection Plan as the glue to hold you together with your best place.
We want you to stay connected to the power and strength of you,
so you can figure out what to do in this stressful moment of parenting.
Here's some ideas that have worked for other parents:
* Positive Talking to You:
"Ok, things are stressful, but you got this."
"It's all ok."
"You're doing great. Just relax for a moment and you'll know what to do next."
* Taking 5 Deep Belly Breaths
* Hand Over Heart
If you have time...
* Playing music
What do you do to feel better in life? What help you feel at your best?
Your Regathering and Reconnection Plan is designed to bring you back to the essence of YOU.
Powerful and loving you, in your best place to transform the stress and challenges you face,
and the misbehavior in your home.
Let me know what works best for you!
You got this,
Connection is the foundation of a parenting and life, and a natural extension of your Positive Intent.
When you are in a place of Connection, you are connected to your best self, your highest place, and your goodness as a parent, and as a person.
With children, "Connection = Cooperation" as Jane Nelsen founder of Positive Discipline says.
The reality is disconnect happens. Overwhelm, grief, anger, depression, and anxiety resulting from the crazy stress of modern life, as well as originating from negative experiences from one's childhood, happen.
These "ruptures in connection" as Dr. Dan Siegel, Interpersonal Neurobiologist, calls these misunderstandings, arguments, and other breakdowns in communication with our children, are a part of life. Life is not perfect, but hopefully it is not overly traumatic or stressful either.
Very often, the rupture in connection begins within oneself, and trickles out to those around you.
While this disconnect from your highest self
--from your place of wisdom, strength, and goodness, is a reality,
the goal is to recognize when it's happening, honor your experiences, and ultimately learn how reconnect with your place of power and strength to transform the disconnect.
The field of Interpersonal Neurobiology explains the brain science behind disconnections, and why people "flip their lid," or lose it as parents.
"Brain in the Palm of Your Hand" confirms what is happening on that "low road" when parents yell, lose it, or "flip their lid."
Yesterday, I taught one of my Positive PlayTime classes at a local library. I asked 12 parents, does anyone here NOT get upset, yell, or lose it with their children?
No one raised their hand. Most parents get upset or lose their tempers with their children because parents today are stressed out!
I help parents get over their parenting shame. We need to talk about parenting mistakes.
You seeing clearly what you are working on and developing compassion for the challenges you face is the foundation for positive change in your life.
(And knowing you are not alone. All parents face challenges, lose is sometimes, and make mistakes. You have a supportive community behind you!)
Parents lose their tempers because of high stress levels and unresolved negative and/or traumatic life experiences.
When you're getting upset, or you have lost it, the stress response system is dominating your brain and ruling your actions.
In this sense, your brain is reading your child's misbehavior the same way it would react if a bear broke through your window and was in your living room. Your instinct would be to run away, fight the bear, or freeze- like a deer in headlights.
If you are losing it as parent, your body and brain is reading your children's behavior like a bear in the room. Your brain is saying "Danger! Stress! Fear!" when your children misbehave
-- and yelling (or shutting down) is the way you are coping to this stress.
Compassion for yourself is absolutely essential. Your losing it as a parent is a coping mechanism to the stress you face.
The amazing thing about the brain is its "neural plasticity," or ability to change throughout your entire life.
You can teach yourself to strengthen your muscles of connection, so you can meet your needs for calm and safety within yourself.
You can teach your brain a different response, or coping mechanism, to your children's misbehavior.
While this rewiring of your brain is 100% possible-- you are always teaching yourself new things---it does take time, dedication, and practice-- just the type of understanding and support you'd give yourself if you were learning a new language.
Your birthright is to live in Connection with yourself through all the moments of life, both the easy and hard ones.
Furthermore, your Connection with you will help you get through and transform the challenges and stress you face.
To get started on this road to Connection:
1. Simply notice when you are triggered as a parent-- when you lose it, yell, get upset, or "flip your lid."
2. Bring your awareness to how it feels in your body when you've lost it, and before and and after you get upset.
Some parents say they feel a clench in their jaw, an explosion in their stomach, or that "angry mom/dad" scowl on their face.
This Awareness is the first agent of positive change, as Dr. Becky Bailey of Conscious Discipline says.
But awareness must be followed for compassion for you, and the stress your face and the negative experiences in your life.
3. Be compassionate to YOU.
Your yelling is a coping mechanism to the stress you face.
You can teach yourself to not read your children's misbehavior as danger and a trigger to your stress response system.
So your children's misbehavior is not like a wild bear to your brain!
Your connection to your highest, best self if your birthright,
and your children's birthright.
Let's support you to staying in connection with this power and strength of you,
help you utilize your power and strength to transform the stress you face
By developing your plan for Regathering and Reconnecting.
More soon. Stay tuned.
You got this,
p.s. Please take care of you. If bringing awareness to your triggers is retraumatizing for you, please talk to someone: a friend, family member, elder, or a professional. This is big work you are doing and support is there for you.
Children are in their own world
most of the time.
And they should be.
Their job is to play, learn, and explore.
It's an adult agenda to...
get places on time,
take turn with toys,
and clean up.
Children can "be" most of the time.
Parents need to get stuff done.
While we may recognize that children
have different responsibilities than us,
it can still drive us crazy
when we are talking
about something important,
something that needs to happen,
and there is no response from our children.
Here's one little tool that is really working
for me and my son,
to transform those moments
when _____ needs to happen
and my son is in his own world.
"Can I get a yes mom!"
Here's how to use it.
You've said something important.
No response from your little one.
In coach-cheerleader style,
say in an upbeat or silly voice,
"Can I get a yes mom/dad!"
Your child will either repeat,
"Yes mom/dad" back to you.
Or they will look at you like, "huh?"
Then you'll know they really didn't hear you.
Then you can repeat what needs to happen
as simply and positively as possibly
and follow it with,
"Can I get a yes mom!"
Keep your cool.
Engage your coach self
to transform potentially stressful moments.
And get what needs to be done
in life done
with cooperation and respect.
You and your positive intent are like the sun.
You're always there. Always shining.
But sometimes the clouds of life--challenges, stress, and misbehavior--
cover you up.
Positive Intent is a concept I learned about from Becky Bailey of Conscious Discipline that says,
This skill encourages us to look for the best in people and situations and focuses on viewing oppositional behavior or conflict as opportunities for teaching moments.
I say that Positive Intent is knowing in your heart that you and your children are good people.
And part of being good people is being human.
You and your children will make mistakes.
In fact, that is the way you learn.
In Positive Intent, you embrace your imperfections as what connects you to the rest of humanity, what makes you uniquely you. In this context, your mistakes are your greatest teachers and what helps you to grow and become more fully you.
Positive Intent is reality and truth. But let's face it, sometimes life feels negative.
Often, when you go to see the positive, all we can think of is what we don’t want.
The fighting, power struggles, whining, the messes, the stress, the no's, the fights...
the list may seem endlessly of the daily challenges you face.
And yet, as Conscious Discipline says, "what you focus on you get more of." This idea is also captured by this quote:
The reality is: easier said than done. It's hard to focus on the positive. The negative can certainly over-take us, or feel that way. In fact, the human brain has a negativity bias, reacting more strongly to negativity. This mechanism is designed to help keep us safe. But when life is stressful, it can make it that much harder to just think positive, regardless of all the "we create our own reality" thinking that is common in New Age and self-help circles today. In fact, it can me sometimes want to through something at this type of thinking-- as it seems to place blame on people who are having a hard time, which I know is not the goal.
What people need are steps and processes to help you honor the role of the negative in our lives. The negative--stress, challenges, pain, and misbehavior-- aren't going away anytime soon.
Honoring the challenges and letting the negative teach you and lead you to what you DO want is the goal. It is these processes and steps that I share with parents in my coaching practice. So you can learn how to transform the hard stuff in life into one of your greatest blessings, and a place of strength. So you can live your sun everyday, even when life is stormy.
One of the top challenges parents face
in getting crafty with kids is over-thinking it.
We might want everything to be perfect.
And there can be sssooo many supplies,
it's hard to get going.
Art with kids can be wild
- in creativity, which asweome
but also in way over the top mess if we're not careful.
One of my core sayings for 2016 is "just do it."
So let's do this art with kids thing 2016.
For 3 years, I've seen people online talking about creating a yearly memory jar around New Years.
There is something so sweet emptying the contents of this jar on New Year's Eve.
Of taking the time to bring awareness to our favorite golden bits of life throughout a year.
Or maybe when we need a little pick-me-up, pulling a memory from the jar.
Finally, this year we did it: we made our very own gratitude memory jar.
Another theme for me in 2016 is "break it down into small steps."
Sometimes I want to push through with projects.
But for young children,
five minutes of blissful focus can be the best way to go.
in that case,
you can do this activity over the course of
If your family is the focused type,
you have older children,
or you'd rather make a gratitude memory jar in 1 day
So on Day 1 (Sept 1 if you're doing this activity in one day):
We got a pickle jar and wrapped some beautiful metallic paper my mom picked up on one of her last trip's to Oregon.
Day 2, we painted paper for the labels and to write our memories on. If you want to keep it simple. use post-its.
Day 3: We cut up the painted paper into small pieces to fit in the jar. We also cut up some old drawings-- which made me so happy as what does one do with all the kid art? This was a great way to give it sweet new life and purpose.
We then added our first memory.
Our gratitude memory jar to capture our happy moments we're thankful for throughout 2016.
Have a wonderful beginning to 2017,
and here's to lots of crafting with kids
breaking things down into small steps
in the year ahead!
Do you know those moments in life
when everything becomes crystal clear?
After I work with a new group of parents,
I always feel such a strong sense
of renewal and hope for humanity.
The combo of community and
access to resources is powerful
---and what facilitates transformation
in our lives.
As I wrap up
Power to the Parents:
a 7 day positive parenting challenge
dedicated to jump-starting
and accelerating the power of parents
in the New Year,
I'm reminded how....
* The human mind is always growing
and has infinite possibilities
to create the life we want.
* Parents are amazing,
and everything is possible.
* But change
- even when it's positive -
isn't always easy.
That's why we need a supportive community
to sustain the change we are looking for in life.
And this is why I'm offering you
a special offering
so you can sustain positive change
in your life
this New Year.
Join my 4 week online class + community
beginning this week
for the early bird registration rate
that ends today!
Just $97 for positive change to last a lifetime.
The entire program can be done from home
at the time that works best for you.
Parents have said they would be lost
without these positive parenting tools
in their life.
And that my classes help them
"stay in shape" as a parent.
I want to support you in creating:
more respectful relationships;
and the life you know you're here to live.
For more information and to register, visit here.
your strength is always
Let's unlock your wisdom and power
Hi friends, I write from the heart to tell my life story, and the story of those in my neighborhood called life. Research shows that our children's emotional & mental health is contingent upon us parents being able to tell our life story, or "coherent narrative." This is my coherent narrative, my life story in the making, with some of what I love in life too. My goal is to share my life in a way that is real, uplifting & positive- sometimes serious, sometimes fun. In my practice, I inspire parents to empowerment through reclaiming our life stories and learning respectful discipline. My work is my offering to our children- our future. Wishing you all a happy family!