Tuesday, January 18, 2011


My second oldest daughter called me to day. Her birthday is this week and her employer asked for an amusing vacation story for their newsletter. I knew exactly which one she would choose! It was the vacation to Canada in a borrowed motor home. While crossing a narrow bridge with no shoulders into Canada, a tire blew. With no where to pull over and a long line of traffic behind we had to ride 3 miles on a flat tire. On the other side we couldn't find anyone to fix the tire (and rim) on a Sunday evening so we had to "camp" in a parking lot only to find the septic tank was badly leaking the next morning. From start to finish it was a trip from hell. At the time I didn't realize the trip would later bring us laughter every time we talked about it.

Yesterday I had conversation with a client about her daughter's behavior. Seems the 5 year old blurted out in a quiet moment in church, "this place sucks". Mom was mortified and embarrassed beyond the limit. She couldn't think of a consequence harsh enough!!!! So we talked about perspective---- Did the child hurt anyone? Was it a behavior typical of a child? Was she being deliberately defiant? All were 'no's. While the behavior was inappropriate, I bet it was one incident they will both laugh about in 20 years. Let's look at our children's behavior in perspective.....will that one incident mold who they are! Learn to laugh and love with your kids!!!

Monday, June 21, 2010


Yesterday I went strawberry picking with two of my daughters and granddaughters. Nothing compares to the taste of just picked berries! The sweetness and juiciness cannot be described. My youngest granddaughter (2 years old) had her first experience of finding and eating the berries and she loved them! As we worked our way down our assigned rows I listened to the nearby conversations. "I remember the strawberry pie Grandma used to make". "We always came to this farm when I was little. I loved eating the fresh strawberries". "Honey, how many berries do you think we'll need for a double batch of jam?". The dialogs centered around home, families and memories. Everyone had a memory of picking strawberries and of past family members contributions to the harvest. My own daughters remembered my disappointment when, at the end of the berry picking outing, they had only a few berries in the their basket. Their bellies, however, were very full! They have wonderful memories of this activity and I am happy to say ---are passing those memories and first hand experiences down to their children. What memories are you creating with your children?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

In their own time!

Last weekend my granddaughter turned 2! She is such a treasure to our family with her own very special personality---a blend of both her Mom and Dad. At her birthday party I had the chance to meet her best friend at day care, Reece. She talks about her all the time. They enjoy playing together both at day care and on playdates. So....I was surprised to see the developmental difference of the two girls at her birthday party last weekend. Jerynn, my granddaughter looks like she is more 3 than 2. She is tall and slim, always on the move! She talks in sentences, carrying a conversation with ease. Her curiosity is amazing. There is nothing that passes her notice. She is independent with a vibrancy to try everything. Reece on the other hand (4 months younger) is quiet and baby like. She stays close to adults and says only a few words. She toddles rather than running like Jerynn.

It got me to thinking about how individual development is. Both girls are in the normal range. Children come with their own inner time clock and blossom at their own time. Reeces's development is as normal as Jerynn's. As a parent we want so much for our children that it's only natural to want to push that clock. What a gift it is to be able to relax, enjoy our children and just marvel at the way the flower of their life unfolds. If we slow down and enjoy the process rather than racing to the finish line---life is so much sweeter. Understand that development is a non-linear and irregular process. Sometimes you wake up and it seems like they've grown 3 inches and have progressed 6 months developmentally overnight. Other times they seem to be savoring a particular stage. Either way there is a purpose and a timing to development. Your role as a parent is to provide all your child needs and respect the timing. Everything happens in it's own time!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Gardening with Kids

Gardening with kids is so fun! I just started a summer position as a Garden Educator for a community garden. The neighborhood folks have stopped by to tell me their gardening stories---stories of family plots, the food harvested and good times in the garden. I'm looking forward to teaching the children about dirt, plants, bugs, composting and just feeling the dirt between our fingers. I was happy to see that the Brain Institute found the quality and quantity of time children spend in nature directly effects the physical health of the brain. No pun intended but---that's a no-brainer! All the things children need to grow an active brain are in nature---movement, curiousity stimulation, free thinking, peacefulness added to the fresh air! How could this not be good? Now add a relaxed adult with you for conversation and companionship..... you have a perfect activity! I'll be sharing nature with all the children I come in contact with this summer. I hope you do the same!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Defusing an argument

While walking through the grocery store yesterday I observed a power struggle/argument between a boy, maybe 6 or 7, and his mother over his slowness of movement. What started as a "Let's go. I'm in a hurry" soon escalated to a shouting match between the two. She finally literally dragged him out of the store so mad the veins in her head where protruding. She was so angry that I'm sure if I had not been there, a physical altracation would have occured.

I wanted so much to pull her aside and give her some tips to defuse the fight and probably get him to do what she wanted. I didn't have a chance to tell her that this kind of interaction never solves anything. And the parent is always in control..... so she could've tried some other tactics before it became a full blown standoff. I'll save some of those ideas for another blog.

But her first move should've been---never engage with a fighting bull. No matter what you say will escalate the emotions. After a hurtful thing is said by the child, go blank. Don't say anything, just stand, smile and look into his eyes. Don't say a word. The silence tells the child you are not going to enter into battle with him. And then (in the grocery store situation) keep on moving. He will catch up. You have given him an opportunity to think about how he wants to behave instead of reacting! You've planted thinking seeds!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Learning to let it GO

As another Holiday season passes, I am reminded by my grown children of what is really important. All the hustle, bustle, have-to’s, shoulds and obligations sure can drag us down! It can be such an exhausting time of chore lists and creating a picture book holiday. We stretch ourselves so thin that we have no time to enjoy! I’ve lived through those years! I remember one year I was so stressed and tired that I actually said to my children on Christmas morning---“Hurry up and open these gifts so we can get this over”. As soon as it came out of my mouth---I knew it was wrong! But it was a huge wake-up call for me. This season is about joy and peace. How did I let it turn into this circus?

That was long ago and I have cut out many things that are not necessary at this time. I go to only the parties I really want to. I buy thoughtful gifts well enough in advance so they feel good inside not just another thing to cross off my list. I make time to be with people I love. I cook the things that bring me pleasure and buy or do without all the rest.

I am bringing this up because it is a lesson my daughters are also learning. Right before Christmas one of my daughters called me crying because she had so much to do and she hasn’t been able to get her decorations up (2 weeks before Christmas) and when will she find time to bake cookies and send cards and bake cookies and all the kids have Christmas programs at different time, of course and…… on and on. She remembered the good memories of Christmases when she was a child and just wanted to be sure her kids also had those fond memories. It made me laugh because I had those same stresses……. But I learned to let go of the things that don’t matter and suggested she do the same! Make a list a five things that are important to you at Christmas and don’t do anymore. For her decorations were so important as were the Christmas programs at school and church. Shopping was the hardest especially for extended family. Online shopping makes things so much easier today as well as gift cards. Give your children your primary focus. So….she asked… what about the cookie making. She wanted her kids to have the same plate full of every which kind on the table on Christmas Eve. She was shocked to hear that sometimes I bought them and maybe baked one kind just for the smell in the house.

Her memories of Christmas were the fun we had as a family not the hoopla that would wear a Mother out. Wouldn’t it be more heart warming to have and smiling, happy mother than 12 kinds of homemade cookies? She learning earlier than I did to let some of the stuff go….kids grown very fast without us if we stay busy! Spend 90% of your time on things that matter to you and 10% on the rest!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fearless Parenting

As I build my Parent Coaching practice I am constantly reminded of my experiences as a young mother. How I wish I knew then what I know now! The frustration and exhaustion from just every day life was sometimes overwhelming. For example, those every week shopping trips with 4 children less than 7 years were an exercise in sanity maintenance. If only I had some of the techniques I know now, it could have been a bonding experience. While there was a host of parenting information beginning to form, I was so busy with 4 young children that didn’t allow me time to read and learn new ways. This is the very reason I has created a new Fearless Parenting class for young children. It is the culmination of techniques from all of the best of parenting philosophies. I’ve taken the discipline from Love and Logic, relationship building from Positive Parenting and effective dialogue from Practical Parenting. All together they make parenting smooth and rewarding and grow responsible, respectful and loving people. Isn’t that the best we could all want?

And the best part of this class is the tele format. Parents can take the course with the least amount of inconvenience. They can stay in their nice warm house and take the class by phone. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
If I can give families one thing, it would be to enjoy each other, laugh and have fun. Email me if you'd like to join the class!