What Do Your Kids Really Need From You?

What do your kids really need from you? Is it to have a nice house and a day full of activities? Is it to have healthy food and holiday celebrations? Is it to have regular vacations and nice clothes? Is it to have new technology and spending money? This is what today’s world tells us “good parents’ do for their kids.

Let me offer some ideas in a new direction:

  • One-on-one time with each child at least once a month.
  • A willingness to listen, talk through things and ask great questions.
  • Guidance in how to sort through the options in today’s world for those that fit each child.
  • A willingness to learn who each child is and the patience and support to let them be who they are.
  • Be really interested in them as people – what they think, like, are good at and what matters to them.

I like to share with my parent audiences that a parent’s role is to guide, support and coach their kids into discovering, developing and living who they really are. That what our kids need most from us is for us to pay attention to learn who they are so we can translate and interpret the world to help them make sense of how to connect to the places in their world that need what they do and love best. Sure, they need food and a roof over their heads. But even more, they they need someone who is vested in their success in life – who is committed to helping them see what is unique, amazing and different about them and to appreciate and value it to define what success in life means to them and how to achieve it.

A world filled with stuff

As we fill our kids’ worlds with stuff, we create distance between us – the things get in the way. If a child has so many great things to play with, the objects become the attention, not time with family and parents. What if you intentionally limited the “physical generosity” (gifts) for your kids in favor of more “attention generosity” – more intentional and mindful time with your kids? What might you find out about them? How might they better connect with you? How might you use this time to help them really get ready for life?

Many times we have to stop listening to our loud and pushy world that tells us that spending on our kids is how we show our kids we love them. We are conditioned. They are conditioned. All that really happens is we get further from each other and fill our landfills with stuff.

What do kids really need from their parents?

Focused attention. Focused interest. Focused care. In these moments, two heads and hearts can connect – trust is built, relationships are established and guidance can be provided.

Check in on how you “love” your kids. Do you love them with things or do you love them with “you?” When you look back in 10 or 15 years, you will see that all they ever really wanted was time with you.

OMG I Sound Just Like My Parents!

I am sure you have heard some of these:

“If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?”

“Stop crying or I’ll really give you something to cry about!”

“Wait until your father get’s home!” 

“Eat the things on your plate – you are lucky to have food. There are starving people in China.”

There are some things that just fall out of our mouths – then we realize – OMG, I sound just like my parents. This is the one thing we all promised ourselves when we heard these “gems” – that we would never say these things. And then we do. Again and again.

We try not to. We become intentional noticing what we say until some child just puts us in that “place” – that, “If I didn’t love you and the neighbors weren’t watching I would leave you on the corner.” Okay, something all parent say – well, maybe something that just my parents said to me.  Our kids push us to the limit of our sanity and then our parents words come tumbling out of our mouths.

Why We Say What Our Parents Said

So in one view, we say these things because we learned them from our parents and they worked for them. So, if it works, use it. Perhaps just review your repertoire of parent catch phrases and choose those that will have the needed impact on your kids. Keep those in your active file. Let some of the old and dated ones go because they get more a laugh than the intended or hoped-for response.

In the other view, what parent scripting in your head needs to be replaced with a more present and mindful approach? Instead of defaulting into what you have heard other parents say and do, could you be tuned in to the situation, manage your emotions and judgement long enough to gather some information and consider your options? With greater attention to what is happening in the situation and to your emotions, you could respond in the moment instead of defaulting to your parenting quips and scrips – which are less effective.

What To Say Instead

So maybe replace “If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?” with “What do you think the impact on you (your safety, health, etc.) would be if you acted like this (whatever the situation is)?” – asked calmly, directly and intentionally.

“Stop crying or I’ll really give you something to cry about!” could shift to, “I need to understand what you are upset about because I can’t help you through all the tears. What could you do to calm down so we can talk about this?” – asked calmly, directly and intentionally.

Notice when you sound like your parents – when your parent’s parenting becomes your default. Do their words just come falling out of you? What if instead, you stopped, thought about the situation, considered other options then chose one you think would have a better outcome? To do this, you have to tap into your inner zen – that means that you have to be able to stay calm, listen for information and choose wisely from the options. Only then can you create your own great parenting phrases that someday your kids will inherit. But this time, your phrases will be calm, wise and mindful – not reactionary statements delivered in frustration.


Being A Great Parent Starts By Valuing Yourself, with Gina Hatzis – RFL030

Being A Great Parent Starts By Valuing Yourself – Episode Overview

We have been taught that good parents give, give, give. We do for our kids and if there is anything left, we then take if for ourselves. But to be a great parent – one who is present, loving, aware and interested – we have fill OUR energy tanks. We have to take care of ourselves, love ourselves and value ourselves. This isn’t selfish – in fact, it is the way we tap into our greatest energy and abilities – to be really there for our families. It isn’t a them OR us thing – it’s a them AND us thing.

Attention and Intention

This week, my attention is on what it means to be a good mom or parent. My intention is to share that what makes us great – or successful in parenting – is to first know, care for and love ourselves. This way we show up to all we do as our best selves and be able to better get our kids ready for life.

Meet our guest Gina Hatziz

Gina Hatzis on valuing yourselfGina Hatzis is the Founder and Director of Possibilities at Project Passion International (where she helps people transform all areas of their lives by transforming their relationship with themselves). As a coach, author and mindfulness expert, she guides people through a process to come back to their authentic selves. As a host of the popular, Ignite A Life You Love telesummit, she assembles people passionate about living their power and being accountable to create lives they love to share their wisdom with all of us. Parents of two, Gina and her husband incorporate their loving, self-worth thinking into their parenting.

Episode’s Key TakeAWays

  1. Self-awareness – our ability to know ourselves is critical for us as parents and for our kids. We must know who we are in order not to lose ourselves as a parent. Parenting is just part of our lives – knowing ourselves lets us pay attention to the other important parts of our lives that need daily attention.
  2. We are unique, talented and amazing people independent of our parenting. It is important for us, to be great parents, to be able to separate our kids lives from our lives.
  3. We must always be true to our inner spirit to be able to help our kids discover and develop their inner spirit. This means we must value ourselves and make time for own personal development.
  4. It is not selfish to take time for ourselves as parents. We must each allow for our own growth and development to show up great as parents. Great parents come from being a great person – this requires our constant investment in ourselves.
  5. Be sure to separate your responses and reactions from those of your kids. They get to own their responses to their world – it is not our job to swoop in and fix everything for our kids. It is more productive to help them solve and own their issues – and it allows us to remember that though we love them, their lives are theirs and our lives are ours.
  6. Dr Masuro Emoto on valuing yourselfSee the links to the Dr Emoto activity that Gina talks about during the podcast. Images  Video  Article
  7. You can’t thrive if you ignore yourself, your health and your needs. To be a great parent needs you to be energized and present. You don’t deliver your best if you are running on empty.
  8. When we are running on empty, it shows in the kind of parent we are. When we are tired and down, we don’t parent in our best way. Spend time reenergizing yourself is the key to improving your parenting and helping your kids thrive.

Some question for parents:

  1. What do you build into your day to take care of you – mentally, spiritually, intellectually and physically?
  2. When was the last time you did something great for yourself – to remind you of your value and worth?
  3. How can you help train your kids to respect and honor everyone’s right to feel important, valuable and to be who they are?
  4. What is the energy level at home? What is your personal energy level? How are both of these affecting your kids?

Tweet this:

Stop and Notice Challenge

Each week we ask you to stop and notice – to develop your skill of tuning in to you and your world. This week’s stop and notice challenge is:

    1. Stop and Notice what energy level you have during your days? What is one way you could increase it?
    2. Stop and Notice how your energy level is affecting your parenting? What do you need to do to improve this energy?
    3. Stop and Notice how much you give of yourself to your kids and family. What needs to happen to pull it back into balance?

Parenting is part of your life. You are here to live boldly, confidently and fully in addition to your parenting. Focus on your development to stay energized. This not only helps you love your life more, but helps you show up more successfully to your parenting.

Suggested Resource:

release your brilliance and keep valuing yourselfRelease Your Brilliance – Four Steps to Transforming Your Life and Revealing Your Genius to The World – by Simon T. Bailey

(One of my favorite books) Each of us is born brilliant. Then we spend the rest of our lives having our brilliance buried by people, circumstances, and experiences. Eventually, we forget that we ever had genius and special talents, and our brilliance is locked away in a vault deep within. So we settle for who we are, instead of striving for who we were meant to be.

Release Your Brilliance provides the combination to the vault where your brilliance is kept.

After struggling for thirty-two years with disillusion, defeat, and despair, author Simon T. Bailey cracked the code to personal transformation, turning his life around and becoming a highly successful entrepreneur, respected family man and community leader. Using the metaphor that we’re all diamonds in the rough, Simon shares the four key steps to cut and polish the gem that is you in order to reawaken your genius, reignite your internal light, and release your potential. He guides your transformation with interactive tools such as Personal Appraisal exercises, Diamond Polishing action steps, and true stories of Living Diamonds. Join the thousands of individuals and organizations worldwide who’ve sat down with Simon and learned to create lasting change and release their brilliance!

Use This One Word To Get Your Kids to Talk To You

Remember when our kids were younger and they did nothing but ask questions. They wore us out with the word “why.” They did it to get answers. It is now time to use the same tactic to get answers from them.

Our Kids Seem to Tune Us Out

As a family and life coach, many parents share with me that they can’t seem to talk with their kids. Their kids tune them out in favor of tuning in to their technology and the distractions of the Internet. The relationship suffers. So, like most parents, they get aggravated and do more telling and yelling to get their kids attention. Things don’t improve.

Think back to that power question these same kids used to always ask. They had it right – they needed to know and we had the answers. Now, they have information and we need answers. How else will we be able to guide, support and coach these same kids into discovering, developing and living what is best in them?

The question, “why” is your friend. It is the glue that will hold you and your kids together in a conversation. It will help you understand what they are thinking. It will teach them to have a perspective and own their decisions. “Why” is like gold to a parent.

How To Get Your Kids To Talk

  1. Notice how much you tell instead of ask. Simply becoming aware (stop and notice) that you are telling more than asking creates the possibility of changing it. You can’t change what you don’t know.
  2. Ask, don’t tell. For the next day, short of anything related to safety or something urgent, force yourself to ask a question (and not tell). Deliver a great and meaningful question (example: “What did you like about school today?”), then, whatever their response, launch into your power question “why.”  For nearly everything you hear from your kids, simply ask “why.” Don’t overdo it, but you can see how this can help you get them to talk and be more involved.
  3. Be patient and listen for and to the answer. You have wisely used the ‘why’ question to get more information and perspectives from your kids. What you hear is just information. You can’t decide how to support and guide this fellow human unless you know what they are thinking. Look at them (no multi-tasking). Touch their shoulder, hair or arm. Listen impartially – you will shut off the supply of information if you react to everything they say. Talk to them, not at them. Show that you are tuned in and that they are the most important thing going on in this moment. Not only will you acknowledge them more profoundly, but you will be present to the information they are sharing. You need this information. It will help you decide what to ask, say or do next.

Who would have thought that we would be able to use that aggravating little question we heard morning, noon and night when our kids were discovering their world, with those same kids. Get good at asking questions, particularly “why.” Get good at listening and caring about the responses. Expand your conversations to help them see that you are just gathering information about their world, so you can help them show up as their best and greatest self. (BTW, asking questions, particularly ‘why,’ works great with employees, friends and everyone else.)