Parent Coaching Blog


Your Parenting Journey

Summer is here, and like many families we have been anxiously awaiting a getaway that we planned months ago.  The plan includes an ending spot where we will park our family for a few days and savor the sun and relaxation that a vacation brings.  I would like you to think about your child’s behavior like you might plan a trip…

When you detail your parenting journey make sure it includes the following:

Choose a destination ….What do you expect to have from your children down the road.  How will they be when they leave your nest and enter the real world?  What kind of college roommate, coworker, boss, husband or wife or will they become because of your guidance. 

       Your goals for your child may include that they will be: compassionate, kind, gentle, slow to compete with those around them,  or maybe it is the opposite, that they will be competitive and have a winning attitude.  Maybe you would like them to be cautious, calm and quietly reflective, or maybe that they will be creative, and open minded.   Whatever your dream for your child’s future, consider it your destination on the parenting journey and know that (like your summer vacation) it will not happen if you don’t first set it in motion. 

Pack your bags: Research what you will need.  Rely on your resources to fill your bags with tools and tricks that work for your child’s developmental stage and temperment.  Connect with great parenting resources  (people, book, programs, and websites) and bring them along on your journey.

Bring a Map: Put your plan to paper and map out alternative routes to the same destination, plan ahead for bumpy roads.  Know that you might have to use visuals to support your plan, don’t spend all your time in the fast lane racing from place to place and at times take the road less traveled (your parenting style doesn’t have to be popular).

Round up your “passengers”: Who is a part of your plan?  What caregivers need to be aware of the plan besides you? Take every “passengers’ ” perspective into consideration (including both parents, caregivers and grandparents) when you plan, so, everyone feels like they’ve been heard and all needs and strengths have been met.

Rest Stops along the way… Give yourself and your family time to pause, reflect, regroup as you think about your plan and take care of your passengers.

Get Lost: On the way, it is okay to get lost or stray from the beaten path.  At times you will have to be flexible in your thinking because all your passengers may have different needs that don’t match up to your plan.  To get back on track you might have to try new perspectives, new ideas and new approaches.

Remember the parenting journey may not always be comfortable but if you keep plugging along you will arrive at your destination.


The Sibling Paradox

If you were to meet my sister or brother you would know right away we were related. You would see the family resemblance in our eyes and our expressions  .  You would listen and laugh along with us as we shared crazy stories from our childhood .    We have many things in common: our mannerisms, our experiences, our family and friends and all the unique stories from our life together.    The longer you spend time with us the more clear it would become to you that we are also very different.   Our interests, talents and needs are specific to each one of us yet we had to live under the same roof, share the same parents and everything else in our home.    It is a paradox that children who are siblings can be so alike in their experiences and yet so different.     This paradox seems to be  the root of what causes sibling rivalry and the mixed emotions of having a sister or brother.

Here are two things to keep in mind when raising sisters and brothers…

#1 Your children will not be alike in all things, and so your parenting approaches will need to be unique to them.  Each child will have their own desires, affinities, and needs and it is very likely that they will be different from your own.  It is your role as parent to foster these things in your child, so, that their true selves can come alive.  When we let our children “shine” individually, we will be less likely to compare them and more likely to show them a love that is equal despite their differences.

#2 Because they live together under one roof and share life experiences,  your children will also have a unique bond that cannot be replicated.  These shared experiences will lead to a common language, based upon similar experiences within your home and family life.   Hopefully these bonds will be the thread that ties them together despite their differences.   They will be connected by their inside jokes and funny family stories that retell their shared experiences.  If we as parents make these connections positive and foster special connections we can help them hold their relationships together. Help your children foster these unique relationships by fostering positive responses to each other, by having open conversations about the mixed emotions of sister and brotherhood and by celebrating both their differences and their common ground.


So many ways to say you’re sorry…

Even as adults it can be difficult to say those three little words… “I am sorry.”

When it comes to siblings who have a built in competitive nature it can be down right impossible to form those words on their lips.  Even when Mom and Dad , threaten to take dessert away for weeks,  the child in question can hold on without apology and overlook the promise of an ice cream sundae after dinner(in an effort to save face).  He knows what he did was wrong he just can’t give his sister the pleasure of knowing he made a bad choice.   It becomes a control situation, and no matter what, he will not budge.

When this happens parents can give their child a fresh perspective.  By making a list of the options they have in terms of apologizing, we can give them the control they desire and options that will make them feel safe as they step out on a limb and admit they made a mistake…

Together with your family take some time during the day (when everything is peaceful around your home), and make a list of all the different ways you can say your sorry.  Chime in with ways you have said you are sorry through actions or other words in your own life.  Let them know that it can be hard for adults to say sorry, too, but it is something that has to be done.  Let them come up with creative ways to say they are sorry to friends or siblings.  When the time comes (And we know that time could be anytime soon, especially during the summer months when siblings spend lots of time together) they can refer to the list and choose the way that makes them feel most comfortable.

Here are a few ideas to get your family’s list started…

1.  shake hands

2. smile and nod

3. write a note

4. give a gift

5. make up for what you did

6. pat the person on the back

7. help their sibling’s “boo boo” feel better

8. ask what you can do to help them feel better

9. tell a joke

10.  make a picture

11. Say it in a different way:   ” I shouldn’t have done that.”  “I wish I could take it back.”  “I feel bad about what I did.” “I did not want to hurt you.”  “I’m not going to do that again.”

The list can go on and on and can be determined based on what feels natural in your family.  When you use this list of options regularly it can allow the power struggle to go away and peace to re-enter the sibling relationship again.  In fact, the next time you or your husband have to say you’re sorry to someone, you might want to steal an idea from the list of options.