How to Have a Peaceful Family

“I just want peace and harmony,” Amy says sounding close to tears. “But my son hits and throws things. He grabs toys from the other kids at school. I want him to have friends but I don’t want to invite other kids over for playdates. What if he  hits them or grabs or doesn’t share or wants everything his way? When I tell him to stop, he doesn’t. I’ve tried talking to him instead of spanking and time outs, but nothing works. I’m so embarrassed.”

Amy has the typical cYoung Child Protect Safely in Mother's Loving Embrace on Beachomplaints of someone coming to me for parent coaching. She’s tried everything she can think of to get her child to stop doing the behavior that’s driving her crazy and to start doing the behavior she enjoys. She’s coming to me because she wants me to tell her what to do to get the peace she longs for. She’s expecting new words – something to say and the right time and inflection to say it to get her child to listen and obey cheerfully.

What Amy gets is something very different.

Peace is an internal experience. It comes from meeting what is with an open mind and an open heart. Welcoming the experience of the moment, the peaceful response is to allow the experience to change us, to affect us, to alter our version of reality and perhaps of ourselves.

Peace is different than calmness. Calmness depends on the outside circumstances. Calm is your child behaving, not talking back, and doing what you say.

Peace is not dependent on the external circumstances. It is an internal experience. Peace starts within the parent.

Parent coacpadre e figlio sul molohing is often 80% about the parent and 20% about the child.

Together, you and I will help you learn skills to create peace within you and to respond peacefully to your child. There are practical, practicable skills you will learn with me.

As you practice the skills from our parent coaching sessions, you’ll experience peace starting within you and flowing out to your child. You will feel how this is different than calmness – deeper, more steadfast, and dependable.

You will have moments of success and moments of forgetfulness. As we work together you will journey through unconscious incompetence, conscious incompetence, conscious competence, and unconscious competence. When you reach unconscious competence you have new habits fully ingrained and no longer even have to think about your response. It’s just become “natural”.

Curious to get started? Book a free consultation with me today.

45 minutes. Free. No strings attached. We get the feel of one another and decide if we enjoy working together so much that we want to do more of it. If so, then I’ll invite you to be  my client and you’ll be happy to say yes. Otherwise, we’ll just spend a pleasant 3/4 of an hour together focusing on you and your family, your goals and dreams, your challenges and what peace means to you.

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Teens and Online Privacy

Thanks to Amy Williams for her contribution. I’m delighted she sent me this article on Teens and Online Privacy (with the cool info graphic) to share with all of you.

Like Parent, Like Child

Lately, there has been chatter regarding our youth’s preoccupation with devices and how they are living a distracted life. Parents read stories about cyberbullying, Internet addiction, Smartphone obsessions, sexting, and the oversharing of personal information. Parents will eventually find themselves questioning a teen’s right to privacy in our hyper connected society.

However, we need to take a step back and consider our own relationship with devices. It is always easier to control our own behavior rather than correct a child’s. Ultimately, we want to carefully consider the message we are sending our children and teens.

8 Ways to Protect Your Kids from the Techno Trap

Here are 8 steps to approach technology that convey a positive relationship with our devices to our children:

Unplug during family time. It is important to power down during family meals, activities, and conversations. Give teens and children your whole attention and send the message that they are more valuable than a text message.

Avoid using your Smartphone while driving. We all know how dangerous it is to text or surf messages while behind the wheel. If you don’t follow your own advice, you can’t expect a child too.

Put down your phone and be active. Take a walk, pick up gardening, hobby or activity that doesn’t require battery life or data.

Limit the amount of time you are online. Display a healthy relationship with technology by shutting it down. Try to set aside time each day to relax or work without the soft glow of a screen.

Start open conversations about technology and Social Media issues. Ask questions and listen to your teen. If they notice you are not hiding concerns they might be willing to voice their opinions freely.

Avoid Social Media blowups. We all have “those” friends who have no filter and post anything they want. Often, a verbal fighting match erupts over taboo topics like politics, religion, homeschooling, and anti-vaccines. Lead by example and refrain from these types of posts.

Don’t expect your teen to avoid game apps, trendy apps, or online shopping if you frequent the sites. Lead by example and do as you say. Actions always speak louder than words.

Discuss and model Social Media etiquette. Be careful what you post online and make sure it’s always positive. Avoid racy or derogative comments. Above all, be mindful that your teen might see anything you post!

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The full content of Amy’s article is available here

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Conscious Parenting Interview

I love it when people in the media spotlight are encouraging parents to wake up to more self-aware parenting. Dr Shefali talks about the importance of radical self-responsibility in the parent. We teach our children if it’s OK to be themselves or if they need to shape and mold their authentic voice to be acceptable.

This is no easy task.

How do we find the middle road that allows our children to be respectful members of society while also allowing them to be their full, big, expressive, emotional selves? The good news is, it’s possible. The better news is, in order to do it for our kids we have to trust it’s possible for ourselves. And the very best news is you can’t do that with theoretical knowledge; you can only do it experientially. That means you have to trust yourself. I can show you how. Book a free consult with me today.

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Chores and Kids – How to Get the Help You Want Without Bribes or Arguments

Every parent I know would like their kids to be helpful, respectful, and responsible. And most parents are frustrated that their kids aren’t more of those things more of the time. In fact, I often hear lamentation that kids are self-centered and lazy.

Want to turn it around?
Want your kids to do more of the picking up around the house than you do?
Want your kids to value shared spaces and learn to care for not only their things but yours as well?

Then tune in to the free webinar Sunday 3/29 at 3pm Eastern, noon Pacific. We’ll talk about all this and more. Join us!

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Who Thinks About Bullies?

When we think of bullying, we most often think of victims. We think of the kids that are getting picked on and pushed around. We may feel helpless, sad, or rageful that it happens at all and that we don’t know how to stop it.

Next we might think of the bullies. We might shame or judge the people who are hurting others, thinking they need to be punished. Or we might pity them thinking that they’ve been mistreated and they are just passing on what they have learned.

Rarely do we think of the parents. When we do, we think that they should stop bullying. If we are the parents, we usually think we should stop it. We have all the responsibility and yet can feel such frustration that we don’t have the power to control our children or what happens to them. We can’t keep them safe. We can’t make them behave. bullying

Reactions to bullying are often intense. We’re usually sure who’s doing wrong (bully) and who’s being wronged (victim) and what we’re supposed to do (judge, punish, and stop it).

I’m going to suggest a different way. I’m going to suggest you fire yourself from the tiring and thankless jobs of being the judge, jury, and police (knowing what’s right and wrong, deciding on punishment, and enforcing your will).  I’m going to suggest that you take your desire for peace and fairness and do something that actually works.

Learn more at the free webinar on Tuesday, March 31 at 8pm Eastern, 5pm Pacific. Register for this awesomely informative action packed (or at least insightful) opportunity below.

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Want more ease and harmony? Do this Mediation for Compassion.

When my child or I am upset, I feel a strong urge to figure out what’s wrong and fix it. So great can this urge to assign blame and begin changing behavior be for me, that it takes a conscious effort to remember my tools. Compassionate listening is the very best tool in my parent coaching toolbox. It’s deceptively simple yet very powerful.

Meditation for Compassionate Listening

This mediation is inspired and strongly influenced by my training in Inner Empathy by Jerry Donoghe. Learn more about the great work in nondualism and parts work going on at innerempathy.com.

I invite you to try it for yourself.

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The Healing Power of the Seasons

Fall feels like it’s fully arrived inside me as well as outside my window.

Autumn is a time of harvesting the fruits of the previous season, getting ready for winter and the dark season, and letting go of things that are ready to die.

Fall leaves remind us of the wisdom of cycles -  letting go, hibernating, and rebirthing.

Fall leaves remind us of the wisdom of cycles – letting go, hibernating, and rebirthing.

Fall leaves are a great reminder of the cycles of the seasons. The leaves that were green just a month ago have turned brown, yellow and red. They are falling off the trees in droves. They remind me that just because it’s time to let go of something now doesn’t mean that it was useless or I never should have had it in the first place.

The dance of letting in and letting go continues constantly throughout life. Sometimes the cycle is as short as a breath – breathing in and breathing out. Sometimes the cycle is as long as an entire life – birth into this human body and death to leave it. In between the two are countless cycles within cycles as we learn to dance with intimacy. Do we keep someone – our children, spouse, partner, parent, lover, or friend – from touching us deeply? Do we keep love at arm’s length for fear of losing it? Or do we let them in? Do we open our hearts to the most vulnerable experiences of joy and love knowing that these, like everything in our cyclical lives, will pass?

Taking our cues from the trees, we can find comfort in the repetition of the cycles. We must let go of the old to allow it to compost and create space for new growth.

This is true in parenting as we let go of the ways of connecting that worked with our child in the previous season. As our children grow they let go of breastfeeding to make room for more independence. Comforting with a lap and snuggles without warm milk and suckling is a transition, a letting go. My younger daughter still wants a hug and a kiss before I leave her at our homeschool coop. My older daughter doesn’t want to be seen touching me by her friends. Where she used to want me with her constantly, she now says “See ya” from 5 feet away and turns around to talk to other kids.

Relationships grow and evolve, closeness ebbs and flows.

Like the tide coming into shore, relationships ebb and flow.

Like the tide coming into shore, relationships ebb and flow.

Our relationships to our children, ourselves, work, our homes, partners and friends all change over time. When we insist that they stay constant, we set ourselves and others up for disappointment and suffering. One of the challenges of being a parent is to both set good boundaries and allow our children the freedom to grow and evolve. Mindfulness, reflection, quiet time, parts work, and “being with what is” are all great tools to allow the cycles of nature to teach and hold us, in times of closeness and in times of separation.

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Recipes for fall – Sunflower Seed Pate

Today I’m inspired to share a little recipe that’s a good source of vegan protein. I’m not vegan, but I’m feeding some friends who are tomorrow night. I eat very little soy and another friend who’s joining us doesn’t eat beans. Coming up with a main dish that works for all of us (and tastes good) is a bit tricky. Luckily yet another friend has this recipe for…

Sunflower Seed Pate

  • 1 cup sunflower seeds, ground
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (available in health food stores)
  • 3 t parsley
  • 1 1/2 t basil
  • 1 t thyme
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1 cup potato, grated
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 T tamari, Bragg’s or soy sauce

Preheat oven to 375F. Mix all dry ingredients. Grate potato and rinse thoroughly. Add remaining ingredients stirring in the potato last. Oil a 9″ pie pan and spread pate evenly. Turn oven down to 350F, put the pate in, and bake 35-45 minutes until golden brown. May be served hot, warm, cool, or cold. Let cool to set completely.

That’s the recipe. I’ve made it before only preheating to 350F and not rinsing the potato. As far as I can tell, it still worked great. This recipe can be doubled or halved any number of times to make the right amount. Freezes and reheats pretty well.

The spices are all dried. If using fresh, double the amounts and then decrease the amount of water slightly so that the pate is a thick paste consistency before you bake it.

As a bonus, here are some salad dressings. One of them will feature on a chopped and massaged kale and collards salad tomorrow.

Miso Ginger Salad Dressing

  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3T  light miso
  • 1 1/2″ fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped
  • 1 T honey
  • 3 T warm water

Shake in a ball jar with a tight fitting lid then add

  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1 cup oil

Sunflower Soy Dressing

  • 1 1/2 soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 3 3/4 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup sunflower seeds

That’s the recipe. Again I’ll probably mess with it. I like to add tahini or sesame seeds and garlic then decrease the oil by about half and add some water.

Let me know if you try any of them and if you like them.

Thanks to Anthony Barrett and Alyssa Martin for the recipes.

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8 Principles of Working With Shadow Emotions

Shadow Emotion Principle

  1. Mindfulness – cultivating awareness of what’s happening both inside and outside of you before it changes
  1. Compassion – sitting with an emotion, experience, or person with no need to fix, change or figure them out. Curiosity, gentleness, and welcome are key aspects of compassion that are paramount to offer yourself as well as your children
  1. Parts Work - You are like a cast of characters in a play. The angry you, the sad you, the hopeful you they are all like characters that you can connect with, talk to, learn from, and speak with. They are parts of you and can give great insight into your shadow reactions.
  1. Listening and Reflection -Your children and your own parts  want to know that you hear them. They want to know that you love and value them. They want to know that they belong. The best ways to tell them those things is to listen and then reflect what you heard.
  1. Feelings – Feelings are neither inherently good nor bad, they simply are. Allowing ourselves to feel what we feel through noticing and naming them validates our experience. We are often afraid to feel shadow emotions because they don’t feel good. Parts work, mindfulness, and compassion allow us to receive the gifts of our shadow emotions without getting lost in them.
  1. Needs – All human beings have needs. These valid needs are the motivation for even the most destructive shadow behavior.  Doing your shadow work gives you access to your motivations – the needs underlying your behavior – and the motivations of your child. Connecting with these basic human needs creates connection and empathy while opening the door to new, less costly, and more effective behavior.
  1. Strategies – Strategies are the actions your parts take to get their needs met. The are the things your kids do when they are trying to get their needs met. When our strategies come out of our shadows, they usually create exactly the thing we are trying to avoid. This is called  a tragic expression of an unmet need. Learning better strategies makes everyone’s life happier.
  1. Persistence – Working with shadow emotions has immediate payoff but the real value is seen overtime with consistent application of these principles. Come back to them again and again. Journal. Create support dates with a friend or spouse to work on them. Get coaching with me. Let these principles live in and change your life.
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Homemade Granola Bars

Like all mothers, I want to feed my children well. I’ve spent many hours in the kitchen and many more hours in my head trying to figure out the right diet. We’ve tried many things – no dairy, no wheat, vegetarian, raw, GAPS diet, making our own cheese and butter, making our own fermented veggies, making kombucha and water kefir for probiotics – the list goes on.

Food is a big deal for most parents. So to make life a bit easier and let you know you’re not alone, I’m going to post recipes and tips from time to time. If you like these posts, let me know and I’ll do it more often.

By special request from my friend Bobbie, here is a recipe for no bake granola bars.  I like them without the chocolate, but my kids favorite part (surprise!) is the chocolate chips.

Everything tastes better and is better for the environment when it is local and organic. Organic food is often grown with more care and fewer pesticides and chemical fertilizers making it better for the land, the farmers who grow it, and you. Plus it really does taste better most of the time – so go for it when you can.

  • 4 cups rolled oats (quick are my favorite but any thickness will do)
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil
  • 1/2 – 1 cup sorghum, maple syrup, or honey
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1-3 tsp salt

You can just throw everything in a big bowl, mix as long as you can with a spoon and then use your hands. We do it that way often.

Slightly easier is to mix the peanut butter, sorghum, and coconut oil (it becomes a liquid at about 80 degrees F). Mix all the dry ingredients together and then pour the liquid into the dry ingredients.

Vary the recipe to your taste, pat the mix into a 9×13 pan and refrigerate. They will harden into bars that keep nearly indefinitely at cooler temperatures.

Enjoy!

 

 

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