Do You Resent Your Family Because They Aren't Helpful on Thanksgiving?

Do you already resent your kids and your spouse a bit because you expect them to be less-than-helpful on Thanksgiving Day? If so, here is a strategy that will help you alleviate some of this resentment now, and for all future holidays and celebrations ... 
 
Call a family meeting in advance and let your children and your spouse know what you need from them so that the day feels good to you. 
 
However, instead of lecturing them about how they have failed you by being less-than-helpful and inconsiderate in the past; how you are always responsible for both the cooking and the cleaning; and how you have already planned the menu, done the shopping, and timed the delivery of appetizers, turkey, and all side dishes, use this formula for communicating your needs ...
 
1. Start from a place of self-care and describe (in positive terms) what you want the day to be like for yourself. 
 
2. Without blaming, lecturing, or bringing up past infractions, state...
Continue Reading...

Do This At the End of Every Relationship

Often, when our relationships end, we feel so awful and emotionally exhausted that extricating ourselves from the situation with a modicum of dignity intact is all we can muster.

However, we can turn even the worst relationships into valuable lessons if we "mine" them.

Mining a relationship is the process of considering what you learned from it and extracting the lessons you will use going forward.

Every relationship—whether it is with a friend, a partner, or a boss— gives us valuable information about who we are, what we value, and how we want our future relationships to be.

When we ask the right questions, we can find the value in even the worst relationships:

"How did the relationship make you feel emotionally, and how do you want to feel in future relationships?"

"Did that relationship bring out any behavior on your part that you would rather not repeat?"

"What needs were not getting met?"

"What values were not being lived?"

"What strengths were you not using in that...

Continue Reading...

Tired of snapping when you need your kids to HURRY? Try this …

Instead of feeling guilty for snapping at your kids when you need them to HURRY, try this …

Communicate to them in advance about your need to be on time.


Say something like:

“I have a lot of things on my plate. Sometimes I feel anxious about getting places on time, and I worry that if I miss a deadline, the entire day will fall apart. Getting places on time helps me stay in control of all the balls I’m juggling. When I feel anxious about getting places on time, I tend to snap at the people slowing me down. That’s why I sometimes yell at you when I am trying to get you to move faster to get out of the house. I am working on staying calm. You can help me by getting dressed and out of the house quickly.”

Even if you do snap at them later (after all, most kids don’t exactly have a sense of urgency), you will feel better about how you have communicated with your children. And as they grow older, they will better understand you, and they will be more...

Continue Reading...

The Ten Words to Stop an Argument

When you find yourself trying to resolve a conflict that seems to be spinning out of control, stop and ask the other person this question ...

"What do you need so that this relationship feels good?"

You know what it feels like to be in a conflict that is heading south, or spinning out of control.

It turns into a he said/she said. One person says, “You did this,” and the other person says, “Oh, well you do this.”

You can feel it when it happens.

To stop this downward cycle, ask this simple question: “What do you need so that this relationship feels good?”

It’s likely that the other person will respond with something like, “I need for you to stop being a jerk,” or some other insulting statement that blames you.

Instead of retaliating, take a breath, and clarify by speaking about your needs with non-blaming “I-statements."

Say something like,

“I need security in my life. I need to feel stable. Sometimes when you spend...

Continue Reading...

What to Say When Your Kids Are Rude

We recently received some pushback about an article in which we advised parents to set boundaries around the way they let their children talk to them and behave toward them. We appreciate the feedback and the opportunity to clarify our advice …

In this article, we gave parents advice for addressing children who are rolling their eyes or generally being rude and snarky. We suggested that parents can say something like ...

“I don’t know if you realize this, but you have been rolling your eyes at me a lot. It doesn’t make me feel good, and you should know that it makes me want to stop spending time with you. What exactly do you need from me that would make our relationship work better for you?”

Some readers worried that implementing our advice could make their children feel abandoned or cause them to become “people pleasers.” 

Our response is this: We are inviting you to disengage from disrespectful behavior. We are not...

Continue Reading...

How Do Your Kids Come Across to Others (& Does It Matter)?

Plenty of people are surprised by how they come across to other people. Insecurity can come across as arrogance, shyness as aloofness, introversion as rudeness. We would all benefit from knowing the answers to a few questions about how we are received:

  • “How do I come across to others?”
  • “What does my body language convey?”
  • “Am I a good listener, or do I do most of the talking?”
  • “What is the general tone of the words that come out of my mouth?”
  • “What is the theme of the topics I typically discuss?”
  • “Do people think I am obnoxious or mean when I am trying to be funny?”
  • "What goes through my mind when I meet someone new, and is that helping me project the attitude I want to project?" 

Your children should know how they come across to others, too, particularly as they become teenagers and then adults. When they think about how they are received by other people, they can decide whether they want to change...

Continue Reading...

Get Your Family a "Jar of Funny Consequences"

Are there certain little things around the house that just grate on your nerves? They aren't a big deal, really, but you get tired of hearing yourself nag your family members. Maybe your spouse leaves the sponge in the sink, and your daughter never closes the door when she's chatting (loudly) with her friends. 
 
Truth be told, there are probably a few things your family members would prefer that you stop doing, too. Maybe they don't actually like it when you scream, "Mommy and Daddy love you!" at the top of your lungs when you drop them off at school. 
 
In general, we are big proponents of eliminating artificial reinforcers and consequences and, instead, allowing people to develop real-world incentives for positive behaviors and experience real-world consequences for negative behaviors. This is how we raise resilient kids with self-efficacy. We don't want kids doing things just for the treat, nor do we want to scare kids into...
Continue Reading...

Help Kids Avoid Friendship Drama

Teaching your kids to be floaters can help them avoid friendship drama. 

Being a floater means they can float among various social groups. They have friends from club soccer, from their current school, and from elementary school. They have a friend from summer camp, a couple friends in older or younger grades, and a few friends from their parents’ social groups.

Often, children latch onto one best friend. While this is normal (and even great), having only one friend can create problems down the road. What happens when your child and the friend have a falling out, when the friend moves to another state, or when the friend moves onto other interests and friendships? 

When your children are floaters, the impact of friendships that drift-off is less devastating. 

Floaters are also less upset when they are excluded from things. After all, they have other places to go, people to see, and things to do.

Being able to float in and out of social groups has the added...

Continue Reading...

Here Is a Strategy for Getting Your Kids to Confide in You

We all hope that our children confide in us. But sometimes, they might feel afraid to tell us what is really going on.

Or, they might feel embarrassed. 

Here's a great way to keep the lines of communication open.

Let your kids pick out a journal they love. Tell them that if they ever feel afraid to tell you something, they can write it in the journal and leave it under your pillow.

Promise them that you will do your best to write your response on the next page of the journal and leave it under your child's pillow.

Of course, there may be times when your children disclose something that requires a one-on-one, in-person conversation.

But often, you can save your children a little embarrassment or anxiety by simply letting the conversations occur in a journal. It will help your children open up and continue to confide in you as their lives become more and more complex.

If you like this tool, check out Resilience-Based Parenting, where we provide 52 tools for raising...

Continue Reading...
Close

Receive the first five chapters of Kristin MacDermott's book: It Takes Two Minutes to Shift Your Mindset and Build Resilience.