Tag Archive: parenting

Nov 02

Parenting Struggles? Master the Art of Understanding

understandingWe all want be heard, seen, valued, and understood for who we really are. We desire unconditional love and acceptance. This isn’t debatable. We all recognize this desire, right? Isn’t this behind all the fairy tale romance stories and the cry for tolerance? See me, know me, love me, warts and all.
Maybe we focus so much on being understood that we forget to really understand those we love. Enter our children. Did you know they have that drive too? Kids need to be fully known, loved and accepted first by their parents. I’ve sat with people who did not experience this in their childhood and are dealing with the impacts this has left on them. The opposite of being understood is rejection. If a child doesn’t feel fully understood and accepted first at home, they may be sensitive to rejection in the future.
Now, I know we are put on this earth to guide, teach, train, and discipline our kids. Yet, I think sometimes we focus only on the externals and we miss what is going on in their heads and hearts. We miss their insecurities or their fears. Our kids are more than grades, athletic accomplishments, or artistic performances. They are more than their behavior.
We all want be heard, seen, valued, and understood for who we really are. Click To Tweet
Maybe we focus so much on being understood that we forget to really understand those we love. Click To Tweet
If their behavior is rebellious, ugly, or emotional, they may be struggling in a way that they don’t feel safe to share with you.
If their behavior is always good, they may be attaching their identity to never making a mistake and this is a recipe for anxiety.
Behavior is just one component of personality. We are physical, mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual beings. Behavior is the physical domain. It seems to me that as parents we focus a lot on that aspect of our children and less on the mental, emotional, or spiritual domains. Why is that? Well it’s much easier, right? But I know you want to raise a child who is confident in all areas of who they are, not just that demonstrates good behavior. And what if, by seeking to understand them in all areas you have an impact on their behavior.
I have witnessed many kids who have great behavior but are stressed and overwhelmed trying to maintain the “perfect” life. Just looking at their achievements and grades, you wouldn’t know how much they are struggling. But there are moments that it comes out. You see, the danger of focusing only on behavior, good or bad, is raising kids who focus on the external things they do or ahieve for their sense of value. Now I am not anti-discipline, this is needed  (ask my kiddos we have rules and limits in our home). However, relationship and understanding your kids comes first. How do you know what discipline will work if there is no understanding?
Let’s face it, feeling understood is extremely powerful.
Let's face it, feeling understood is extremely powerful. Click To Tweet
Pause and think of a time you felt completely seen, loved, and accepted for who you really are? Visualize the moment. Who gave you that feeling? How did they do it? What would you have done for that person? How did you feel toward them? It’s an incredible feeling right? Did you know you have the ability, the superpower, to give this experience to your kid? Can you see how it might change everything?
So how do you learn understanding and give your child the experience of being understood?
  • Get to know them. Use the phrase “tell me more”. Tell me more about  (what’s behind the tears, the emotional outburst, the difficult situation, etc.).
  • Validate their feelings. This sounds fancy but it is simply letting their feelings be valid and real, no matter what they are. Regardless of how you would react in the situation, their perspective and feelings are what they are. Let them be that. Tell them you see it and remember a time you felt that way. “You really seem happy about something, tell me about it” (see how I combined them both) OR “Wow, you are really upset about this, tell me more about how that hurt you”. “That’s so sad, I’ve been sad to and it’s hard”. Let it be okay for them to feel what they feel. Be a safe place for their feelings. This helps them learn to validate their own feelings as they grow.
  • Learn what matters to them and how they are struggling. Listen to understand and not fix things.
  • No matter what, start and end things with how much you love them.
  • Compliment effort not results. “Wow I saw your grades, it took a lot of hard work and I admire how much time you invest in your studies”.
  • Be real about your own struggles.
  • Spend time with them. Have fun. Be silly. Take a genuine interest in what interests them. (don’t ask me how much I know about all kinds of things that I wouldn’t know if it weren’t for my kids….star wars, star trek, magic the gathering, pokemon, legos, marvel comics, etc etc etc.)
  • When in doubt, ask them for guidance. Just be real
I challenge you to look at your kids differently this week, whatever their age. Seek understanding. What are their passions, who are their friends, what’s the latest thing they are interested in, what are their fears, or current struggles? Warning: don’t ask all that in one sitting. LOL. It doesn’t work. Understanding comes over time as you deliberately seek to take the time and opportunities that present themselves. I think learning about my teens and watching them grow into who God designed them to be rocks! I have to set aside my agenda sometimes but that’s okay…my stuff will be here long after they are grown. Let’s seize the moment when it comes.
Seize the moment when it comes to really understand your kids. It's your parenting superpower. Click To Tweet

Permanent link to this article: http://counseling4hope.com/understanding-parent/

Oct 02

Life Wisdom from Coach Chavis

John ChavisWe moved to Bryan/College Station, Texas, home of Texas A&M University, when I was 9. Man, that place is different…its spirit is infectious. The University traditions create a sense of belonging and pride that grows as you fall in love with the school and the people. I swear it is one of the friendliest places in the world!! As a result, there was never a question of where I would go to school….
Aggieland was community, it was pride, it was honor, it was authentic, it was family, it was tradition, it was home!
So it should be no surprise that years later I love Aggie sports and no sport is greater in Texas than football! (Sorry son…I love soccer too.)
I don’t just watch the games…we celebrate the games! In true Aggie fashion, we’ve developed traditions around how we watch the football games. We plan special meals, gather with my sister, and make it an event!!

Texas A&M

I’m such an Aggie football nerd, that I even watch all the press conferences on YouTube…..I know…I may have a problem.
But every now and then, I come across life wisdom that has to be pointed out and acknowledged. That happened a few weeks ago….
For non-Aggie followers…our offense for the last few seasons has been okay (not Johnny Manziel okay but not bad). Our defense has struggled, mostly because we had a lot of young guys. So Coach Sumlin, in his brilliant wisdom, hired John Chavis to head up the Aggie defense. This season there has been a night and day difference in our defensive line!
How is this possible, is Coach Chavis really that awesome? Did these young kids just train all summer? How? What? Huh????????????
Now Coach Chavis is good and they did train hard all summer but I think I heard the secret one day during a press conference. Coach Chavis was asked how he had been able to build confidence in the team that had played so poorly last season….brilliant question because we were all wondering.
His answer was GOLD….
You put young men in situations where they can have success. You coach them and give them the tools that they need to go prepare. But when they have success they start gaining confidence. You got to be very very positive with them. If you’re not careful coaching can be a negative profession because you’re always correcting. And you got to make those corrections but you got to do it in a way where you’re not beating kids down. We expect a lot out of them. We hold them accountable and they hold each other accountable but we are not going to beat them down, we are not going to beat them down. That’s been the approach we take. We have high expectations for them but each one of those guys is somebody’s son, they’re our football players and we got to treat them that way. Have high expectations, show them how they can get it done, and they’ll go get it done for you.”
You coach them and give them the tools that they need to go prepare. Click To Tweet
So let me tell you what this counselor heard:
  • Give kids the right tools and support them.
  • Connect with them (build relationship).
  • Encourage them to have a team that supports them.
  • Set them up for success.
  • Be very positive.
  • Be very careful about how you correct, do it in a way that doesn’t destroy their spirit.
  • Have high, reasonable expectations but remember that they are human.
  • If you do this, they will go out and get it done!
Now that is a solid approach to coaching, parenting, teaching, leading, and team building.
Criticism kills relationship. If you are in a role where you have to correct (like any of the roles listed above) then how you correct is important. If you beat people up with your words, you may accomplish your initial goal of behavior change, but you have lost the relationship. Relationship is what grounds us, connects us, and makes us want to work hard for people.
Those Aggie boys are fighting hard on the field for Chavis because of his approach, because they are inspired to do well for him.
As parents, isn’t that what we want? Kids that are inspired and empowered to reach their maximum potential? Unfortunately, too often we think constant criticism, harshness, or belittling will change behavior. It wouldn’t work for me and it wouldn’t work for you. In fact, think of the last time you were treated that way? Didn’t it make you want to NOT be around that person?
Correction doesn’t have to be negative. If we focus on the relationship first and major on the positives, then we earn the right to speak correctively.
If we focus on the relationship first...then we earn the right to speak correctively. Click To Tweet
Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” Proverbs 16:24
There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18 
Watch the press conference below, the question is asked at about 2 minutes, 30 seconds in.

Permanent link to this article: http://counseling4hope.com/coach_chavis/

Aug 15

Parenting

 mom juggle

Parenting, The Great Surprise!

Well, I became a mom almost 14 years ago (wow, when did I become so old?).  Although I love my kids and I love being mom, nothing, I repeat, NOTHING, prepares you for this!

I mean how did I become the finder of all lost things, the fixer of all broken things, the chef, the maid, the clothes washer/dryer/folder, the chauffeur, the teacher, planner, organizer, hostess of many friends, etc., etc., etc.!  My favorite moment this month is when my kid wakes me up to tell me that he is awake!  Really, he couldn’t be awake by himself…I had to lose out on the bliss of sleep as well?

Thankfully, God gives us incredible love for our children and grace to cover each and every mistake.  Watching my boys transition from kids to teens is pretty cool!  I mean they can do stuff for themselves (hang in there moms of littles…it does come) and they are pretty cool to be around!

Parenting is hard and definitely not for perfectionists, pleasers, or wimps (yikes, I have a little of all of that in me)!  Nothing has grown me up more than growing as a mom with my kids!  As I reflect on years past, here is what I would tell my young mom-self (if I could):

  • Building the relationship with my kid is way more important than the condition of my house!

  • Frequently what frustrates & angers me is simply childish curiosity or accidents, so relax!

  • Read Dr. Kevin Leman, he ROCKS!

  • There is grace for me when I mess up &  grace for my kids too!

  • Children learn just as much about life when I mess up and apologize, as they do when I do it all right!

  • Rigid expectations for myself and my kids could lay a heavy burden on me than is reasonable.

  • Have fun!

  • Get sleep!

  • Learn to say no!

  • Take care of myself so I can care for others, no guilt!

  • Have friends & be the village for each other!

  • Don’t neglect my relationship with God!  He is # 1!

  • Don’t neglect my marriage, husband comes before kids!

  • Laugh often!

Moms, you’re not alone!  We got this!  There is always hope!

If you like what you read, please comment below or share on social media. ❤️

Permanent link to this article: http://counseling4hope.com/parenting/

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