Conversation Starter: Is there ever a time when you are scared to tell me something?

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.

 

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Conversation Starter: Are You Coachable?

What is the extent to which your child can take feedback and use it to grow better, stronger, and happier? 

A lot of people (grownups included) get offended and defensive when they get feedback. They shut down. They interpret the feedback as an attack on their character or as an indication that they are failing. 

But resilient people use feedback as an opportunity to discover ways to live up to their potential. Though hearing criticisms is never easy, and everyone gets defensive every now and then, resilient people learn to evaluate feedback, asking such questions as: 

  • "Is there truth to this?"
  • "If so, how can I improve upon myself?"
  • "Is there anything I have learned so that I can show up in a different way next time?" 

Resilient people know that being imperfect and/or failing is a part of life—at least for those who are willing to get in the game. Instead of wallowing in their failures and imperfections, they learn from them and turn them into...

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Find Your Parenting Strength, and Be Mediocre at the Rest

You can’t do it all. You can’t home cook every meal, attend every sporting event, work a full-time job, read to your kids every night, teach them great manners, introduce them to next year’s vocab words, take them to museums, memorize facts about Greek mythology, and tell great stories.

We can only do so much as parents. 
 
So let go of whatever picture you have of the perfect parent. Instead, figure out which aspects you are amazing at, and lean into those. 
 
When you spend time “in your strengths,” you show up as the best version of yourself. You will be happier, more patient, and more relaxed when you are doing things you know you do well and that you enjoy.
  • Are you really good at telling stories but not so great at roasting chicken?
  • Are you funny but clueless about soccer and not super interested in learning? 
  • Great at teaching but not so great at throwing birthday parties?
  • The most fun at taking your kids...
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The First Thing to Teach Your Kids About Emotional Intelligence

Consider the messages that kids get about “controlling” their emotions …

  • "Stop being so angry!”
  • "Control yourself!”
  • "Quit whining!”
  • "There’s no reason to be so upset!”
  • “Why are you so sad?!”

Before they can truly be in control of their emotions, though, kids need to learn something that most adults don’t even know ...

They need to know what causes their emotions.

Most of us think the situation causes an emotion. If we are bored, for instance, we think it is because we are stuck in our homes and forced to social distance.

But the truth is that it is not the situation that causes us to suffer. It is our thoughts about the situation that cause us to suffer.

Let me repeat that: Our thoughts cause our emotions.

For example, imagine that your friend snaps at you.

If you think, “Wow, my friend must be having a bad day. This situation is tough, and we are all having a hard time,” you will likely feel...

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The Case Against Fixing It

Why do parents feel so upset, and even angry, when their children are upset?
 
We have a theory. When our children are babies, they depend on us for everything.
 
If they are upset, it is our job (rightfully so) to figure out why, and to fix it.
 
So now, when our children are 8, or, 13, or 17, we are conditioned to jump into
action when our children are upset. If a child whines, rolls their eyes, cries, or
struggles, we think: “I need to fix this. If I can’t, I must be failing in my role as a
parent.”
 
But consider this: As your children grow, they need to learn to rely on you less and
less so that they can rely on themselves. This is a requirement of independence.
 
Each time they are upset, they have an opportunity to learn how to take care of
themselves. They have an opportunity to learn coping skills.
 
As they grow older, your job is to slowly transfer more and more responsibility to
them...
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