Strong Opinions

28 10 2012

Have you noticed how kids, even at a really young age can have very strong opinions? 

“That book is stupid!” “I love the Disney channel!” “I hate broccoli!” “He’s a great dancer!” “That person is so mean!”

Despite our best efforts to teach our kids to be open-minded they can still lock in to an idea, position, judgement about a situation, person, people that may or may not be serving them.  Even more interesting is our own response to such focused thoughts, or opinions.  It’s one thing when I agree with my children’s perceptive brilliance regarding a situation or set of circumstances but when I hold an opposing viewpoint, uh oh!

So how do we suspend our own judgements and assumptions and coach our kids to do the same?  What do we do when we hear our kids expressing an opinion that may not honour who they are or the audience with whom they are sharing it?  What do we do when we know that they are holding on to certain viewpoints to fit in with a peer group?

As soon as the opportunity presents, consider taking a breath and asking yourself the following questions:

  • How is this about me?
  • What am I reacting to?
  • What’s the truth I carry about myself as parent /role model/ guardian?
  • Where are my beliefs about this situation getting in the way?
  • How impressionable was I at that age?
  • When in my life did I experience something similar and how has it affected me?
  • What false truths do I carry about …?

It’s easy to jump into our own dialogue of “This is good/ bad/ right/ or wrong” and if we choose to be really honest and accept what filters we may have, we will also be in a better position to focus on the next step and engage in a real conversation with our spirited child.  Once we have our own reference point about where we are coming from we can have a more open and honest conversation with our kids and know which questions will guide them to more clarity about the situation.

Questions like:

  • How do you know that to be true?
  • What else is there that you may not have noticed?
  • How are you being good and kind to yourself with regards to …?

   will have a different resonance when we free ourselves from our own possible entanglements with regards to a strong opinion. 

What I’ve learned – The more free I am from my own « strong opinions » the better the coach I can be for the one’s I love. 

Connecting to Positive Feelings

21 10 2012

What do you do when you ask your child how their day went and the response is “awful”?  I know my reaction to such situations is generally a by-product of the state of mind that I’m in, the type of day I had and how present I allow myself to be to the younger reflection of mySelf whose life seems to be in an unpleasant state. 

On those occasions when I do have the presence of mind to pause and breathe the outcomes of the conversations I have with my children are always meaningfully different.  I have discovered early on that one of my daughters is a highly kinesthetic individual.  She has a unique way of experiencing and observing her environment and she usually processes information through her feelings about a situation, event or learning lesson.  As a result when she perceives something to be “awful” it goes without saying that the feeling is quite intense and she is not easily shifted from her position.  For those of you who also share the joy of raising highly kinesthetic children you can appreciate how easily we can seemingly make a situation worse when we do not allow sufficient time for these unique individuals to process the information they are decoding at what appears to be a cellular level!  

Tips for coaching a kinesthetic child (although your visual, auditory and auditory digital children may also appreciate your efforts) :

1- Take your time!  

2- Recognize that kinesthetic individuals communicate and learn more through touch, distance (physical proximity), eye contact, body temperature (hot hands/cold hands), movement 

3- Did I mention take your time?  If your kinesthetic does not typically rely on her verbal skills to express herself be patient with both yourself and her by recognizing it may take longer get to the root cause of an issue.  What appears to be the problem on the surface is almost always covering up something deeper and more complex to articulate (i.e. confidence, fear).

4 – Be creative!  Talking is just one way of connecting.  If you want to help bring a different perspective to an issue, using humour, drama, role playing, exaggeration, voice tone may help elicit a new response  – or confirm to your kinesthetic that you are certifiable!  

5 – Connect to positive feelings over and over and over!! If confidence looks like a jumping jack followed by a shout of triumph for your child, keep on jumping!  If happiness is a hug, keep on hugging!  If success is pumping  a fist in the air, keep on pumping.  The idea is to really anchor the resourceful feeling so that it can be recaptured over and over.     

For myself (also a kinesthetic and auditory type) the bottom line is always about getting past my own sense of doom and gloom in the face of my childrens’ angst.  When I’m able to bear witness to their challenges without taking them on as my own I’m in a much better place to help guide them to more clarity and renewed perspective.

And when they do connect to that positive feeling – I’m right there with them, jumping jacks and all 🙂


Nia Class for Kids – November 17th

18 10 2012

Poster :  Kids WS

A few months ago a good friend introduced me to Nia.  As with others before me after attending my first class I wanted more and was convinced that my girls would enjoy this activity too.  Thanks to the openness of Steffi Retzlaff , a phenomenal Nia instructor, we’re able to offer the first parent/child Nia class in western Ottawa!

Check out the attached poster if sharing freedom, connection and joy with younger loved ones appeals to you.

Spaces are limited so contact me soon to reserve a spot by responding to this blog or contacting me at

Special note:  Any profits from this event will be donated to the Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre – Chrysalis House and a special thanks to our sponsor Black Belt Excellence Martial Arts Academy!

Looking forward to dancing with you and yours!

Shining moments

14 10 2012

We have a birthday coming up and my younger daughter came to secretly show me the card she made for her sister.  “Awww – sweet gesture” I thought to myself.  Moments later she comes back to me with her piggy bank asking me to open it for her.  “Why?” I asked before I could stop myself and could not miss the look in her eyes – “you want to give her money?” and I got the nod.

I proceeded to help her open up the piggy bank and rephrased my question “What makes you want to give her money?”  Answer :  “That’s what everyone else does and I like her – sometimes she helps me!”

At this point I have managed to move beyond my habituated response of little sister not having to give big sister money, and my limited view of the  world which had me believe that parents give their children money not siblings and that she should be saving her money for her own needs and blah, blah, blah.

“How much are we taking out?” I asked, now beginning to have fun and enjoying this display of kindness and generosity.  “One dollar” is the answer and she added a special quarter because it had a maple leaf on it and she knew her sister would appreciate it.

It is with a smile that I share this anecdote as I laugh at myself and my conditioning.  It is with gratitude that I realize that my willingness to get out of my own way allowed my daughter to step into her own, in a way that meant something to her.

What I learned – take heed when the first question out of my mouth is « why ».  The potential to break a spirit because of my own judgements is not to be underestimated.   Take a breath instead.

Coaching tip #1:  Asking a question with Why? often gets defenses up and precludes a judgement held on behalf of the person asking.  Consider rephrasing Why? questions with a more open ended query beginning with What is it about…?  or How does that…? or What else would work? and be curious!

Always do your best

12 10 2012

As I welcome myself to the 21st century with my first blog, I feel a flutter of excitement and uncertainty.  This is new territory, as I push through boundaries of perceived comfort and safety and expose a little bit more of mySelf to the world.  I may not get it “right” or have many followers but I’m here and ready to serve!!

“Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick.  Under any circumstances, simply do your best, and you will avoid self judgment, self-abuse and regret.”

Don Miguel Ruiz – The Four Agreements

Hello world and welcome to the Coach Approach to Parenting blog!

12 10 2012

Welcome to the Coach Approach to Parenting blog.  I’ve created this forum to share learnings and acquire new ones that will bring richer, deeper meaning to the most important relationships we have with ourselves and those we love.  I look forward to blogging with you.

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