Minding Our Expectations

Recently I was out to dinner with my daughter on a date. The restaurant we went to is very family friendly and had a great play area for kids. My daughter was off exploring and I was sitting at the table people watching. I am fascinated by people and always very curious about what they are up to – this is why I became a social worker – I want to know all of the things about all of the people. Along with being family friendly, the restaurant has a creative little solution to help you flag down your server.Continue Reading…

The Nuclear Option

Now that the winter holidays have come to a close, I’m taking a look at all of the similar challenges a variety of families have brought to their coaching sessions in the last six weeks. I am always reminded we are more similar than we are different. Parenting is no exception. In every single parent coaching session I’ve had since just before Thanksgiving, something has come up for every family. My child is saying mean things to me! The holiday season is a wonderful time for lots of family time, extended family visits, delicious special meals, presents, and time spentContinue Reading…

What if it’s an opportunity rather than an obligation?

During a yoga class recently, the teacher shared a mantra which I immediately applied to my practice as it was so helpful. She invited us to think of getting to our mat as an opportunity not an obligation. As I was driving home, I realized how much it might help parents to use the same mantra as it applies to parenting. If you’ve taken one of my workshops or we’ve worked together in coaching before, you know I spend a lot of time and focus on preventative maintenance. My mentor, Dr. Laura Markham, outlines the tools of preventative maintenance as:Continue Reading…

Stop, Drop, and Breathe!

One of my favorite tools for self regulation comes from my mentor, Dr. Laura Markham. She suggests we stop, drop our agenda, and breathe when we feel triggered or annoyed. Children are childish, imagine that!, and we will feel triggered! Here’s an example from my morning. After a mostly relaxing morning getting out the door, we hit a snag and were running a few minutes behind. As you can imagine, I was feeling flustered. It’s worse for me when things are on track and then go sideways vs an all over off-track start to the day. We were driving toContinue Reading…

Welcoming Tears

Welcoming tears is a new concept for most of us. Tears are often not welcomed in our culture, our communities, or in our families. We demonstrate this in obvious ways when we tell children not to cry, or when we rush to get tissues when someone starts to cry. We give the person crying the message, “That’s enough.” I always cringe when a parent tells their crying and distressed child, “You’re fine!” I don’t know about you, but I am not usually crying when I am “fine.” I was called “too sensitive” as a child and heard those familiar refrainsContinue Reading…

The Best Podcasts for Kids!

Quite often, I consider going back to a flip phone (do they even make them anymore?) because I wonder if smartphones do more harm than good because of their power over all of us. Of course, actually giving up my iPhone would require a lot of sacrifice. The primary reason that I could never give it up are podcasts. My name is Lisa and I am a podcast addict. If we have a personal conversation, chances are good that I will bring up a podcast episode that you *have to* listen to or recommend one specific to your interests. IContinue Reading…

The Case of Accidental Empathy

The grocery store nearest our house has my daughter’s favorite carts. There are standard shopping carts with an addition at the front turning them into a race car, a taxi cab, and a fire truck. We do not shop here often so she is always especially happy to find that we need to pick up a quick thing or two from the comfort of her pink race car. We stopped by for only four things and I anticipated a quick in-and-out trip. This store also has a wide and quite amazing selection of balloons. There’s one in particular that myContinue Reading…

What is parenting coaching?!

It has been my experience that parenting is the hardest job there is! I know that is also true of the parents I work with and others I talk with in the community. I am always reminded that any other job we have provides us with training, support, and often a mentor to help us learn the ropes, figure out what to do, and how to handle tricky situations. But we don’t get that as parents! Perhaps you took a childbirth class while you were pregnant and prepared for the birth. But how many of you were offered a classContinue Reading…

Play Is The Work Of Children

“How much do I have to play with my children?” “To be honest, I don’t really like playing…” I hear these sentiments regularly and think that they are common questions and feelings for many parents. Play does not come naturally for many of us – myself included! But even if you are a parent who comes to me for coaching and tells me that you don’t love playing, I can tell you this: You can do anything for 15 minutes a day. What we know for sure about play is that it is one of the easiest ways to connectContinue Reading…

Getting Comfortable With Feelings

The researcher Brené Brown has found that the average adult can only identify three feelings. To have real emotional intelligence, however, we should be able to identify thirty feelings. Why is there such a huge gap between what we know and what we should know — and how do we begin to bridge that gap? How do we become more comfortable talking about our feelings? I would not be surprised if reading the word “feelings” four times already makes you want to stop reading this column, but please stick with me. I promise it will not hurt. Emotional intelligence isContinue Reading…