Now Back to School, Increase Your Connection Time With Your Kids

Your kids are your eyes and ears to the world; they see and experience things each moment. Some of these things bounce off of them and they keep moving. Some things they see or experience affect them – positively or negatively. Now that they are back to school, they need your help to interpret, understand and process what happens to them. Tune in. They need your help.

I know tuning in to kids is like trying to get their attention when they are on their devices – almost impossible. You have a busy life, job, relationships, bills, challenges, pressures – so, how fair is it that you have to make the extra effort to tune in to a kid that may be doing their best to get you not to tune in. It isn’t fair – so let’s just get past that. But it is a true and important responsibility of parenting.

See, the greatest role we have as parents is to help our kids learn how to understand and make sense of their world. In this, we help them discover their uniqueness – their talents, strengths, passions and interest (we help them find the things they rock at and the things they stink at). We help them learn to build their work and lives around what they do and love best – to be happy, successful and responsible in life. We are their guides, translators, coaches and mentors. Sometimes they appreciate us, sometimes not. Regardless, we do it to get them ready for life.

So as school starts up again everywhere, make a commitment to be extra tuned in to your kids. School can be very stressful – so many new things coming at them. Somethings they will figure out – other things they will need your help to interpret and understand. Consider these three ways to stay more in touch with your kids as they encounter a new school year.

  1. Commit to have dinner together. Your kids have to eat regardless of the amount of homework they have. Build a habit of eating together and using the time to share thoughts of what they have encountered in their day. Not only will it give them time to share, but it will create a place and time each day where they will feel heard.
  2. Commit to asking more and telling less. “Get your homework done” could shift to “How are you doing on your homework?” Telling brings out the defensive side in our kids; asking creates the opportunity for your kids to share their thoughts about homework… and school… and experiences… and other things in their world that they may want to share with you. Remind yourself to change your statements into questions. You kids won’t respond if you don’t ask.
  3. Commit to sending a supportive text, email or facetime call during their day. Remind yourself that your kids need your daily support and encouragement. Put a note in their lunches. Give them a power quote to start off their day. Show them that you are tuned in and paying attention to them. This creates the rapport and relationship that will help them share their thoughts, questions and challenges when they have them.

Anytime your kids’ worlds change, be prepared to tune in more. Watch more. Ask more. Be more present. Gather more information. Then, using what you find out, show up more loving, kind and supportive. Remember they are a work-in-process; they need your help to figure things out. Tune in to meet them where they are – guide them (don’t do their work for them) as they start to make sense of the experiences the world and their school shares with them.

A Message to Your Kids: You Are Just Right As You Are

Our world speaks at us. It tells us what is valuable, what success looks like, what to believe, what to drive, how to live and on and on… With so many “directives” coming at us, how do we help our kids discover, develop and live who they really are?

We do it by helping them realize that they are just right as they are and that they should listen more to their own internal voice than the voices of others.

One of our greatest roles as a parent is to help our kids discover who they really are, and to accept it and be proud of it. It may show up as a passion for animals or technology, music or helping others. It may show up in an ability to write poetry, run a company, connect with others or solve complicated engineering challenges. It may show up as being gay, black, an immigrant, special needs or just different. We are who we are and that is just fine. The sooner we help our kids accept this, the sooner they will stop trying to be something they are not and spend more of their time and energy delivering their certain special “something” to their lives and our world.

Each of us is different for a reason

Our differences are to help us deal with whatever life sends us. We all have abilities that when used, can deliver something special to the moments of our lives – and for the benefit of all of us. We can self-realize with the support of our parents and families to be who we are born to be – to figure it out, accept it and to live it boldly and unapologetically.

Many times we are more concerned with what it looks like to have a son or daughter who embraces his/her uniqueness. Instead of supporting them to be the best version of their unique selves, we pressured them to change, comply and blend. Be like the others. Go and do what they do. Study where they study. Work where the work. Make your parents proud by acting like others or by living to the standards that others set.

Here is the question

Why is it more important to raise unhappy kids who are encouraged to look and act like others than to focus on helping each kid become happy and successful by living a life that makes sense for who they really are?

I spent most of my life all twisted and fearful as the gay kid in my big Italian family. So much effort went into trying to to pretend to be “normal” or hide that it took me so many more years to discover and develop my greatest abilities and connect myself to a career and a life that really fit me. With the distraction and effort of trying to be someone or something I wasn’t, so much of my life was spent looking over my shoulder – not moving forward – not living into my greatest abilities and using them to make a profound difference in my world and life. Pretending and hiding shortchanges our lives and our world.

You are just right as you are

Help your kids accept and be who they really are and embrace what makes them different and unique. They will be better able to live lives that they love and to deliver to the world those things that only they can deliver. Remember, they certainly can’t deliver something great when being an average copy instead of a truly amazing original.

Don’t Miss Life’s Teachable Moments

As a parent, it is our job to watch for  and use life’s teachable moments – those moments that life has something important to teach our kids. It is in this constant learning that they discover how to show up happy, successful and responsible in life.

Too many times we are too blind to see or too busy to use these teachable moments. We miss an opportunity to help our kids learn how to develop the virtues and behaviors to live a life of impact and quality. We are their teachers, helping them learn how to successfully be in our world, to discover and live what makes them unique and to be happy in the process. This is lifetime work, and as such, requires us to on the watch – to be ready and willing to translate life’s situations and our kids responses to it into meaningful life lessons.

So what do teachable moments look like? Here are some examples:

The time your kids are wrestling with a toy, neither one willing to let the other play with it. Teachable moment: teach sharing, sacrifice and patience.

The time your son or daughter is critical of someone who said or did something to them at school or criticizes someone who is different. Teachable moment: teach kindness, respect, acceptance.

The time your son or daughter fails at something (important or unimportant) and continues to be negatively affected by it. Teachable moment: teach empathy, forgiveness, resilience.

The time your son or daughter deliberately disobeys you or treats you poorly. Teachable moment: teach respect, caring and kindness.

The time your son or daughter receives a gift from a family member and makes no effort to say thank you. Teachable moment: teach gratitude, appreciation and kindness.

The time your son or daughter got caught driving without permission or drinking at a neighborhood party. Teachable moment: teach self-respect, honesty and integrity.

The time your son or daughter is ready to give up on a school project, sport, music lesson or homework. Teachable moment: teach determination, creativity and accountability.

The time you and your son or daughter are working on things together and life is fine. Teachable moment: teach joyfulness, helpfulness and love.

These moments happen constantly in our lives (for us to learn from) and to use to teach our kids. Stop and notice these moments and tap into the virtues that drive lifetime success behaviors to help your kids show up happy, successful and responsible in life.

With Kids, Focus On Progress Over Perfection

We want our kids to succeed in life. That seems reasonable and loving. But the way we encourage them to get to that success may be unreasonable and unrealistic and do more harm than good. We want our kids to have straight As in school, get accepted to best colleges, be on the teams that win and be popular. We want our kids to get noticed by their teachers, be the most valuable player or performer and be someone we can talk about to our friends about.

First, we have to ask, who do we really want this for – is it more about us than them? And, are our expectations so significant that we overwhelm our kids with activities, tutors, special training and practices, experts that fill their lives and make them think perfection and achievement is the only way ahead?

I hosted a career program for a class of students at an affluent private high school in my city. The reason for hosting this program is one of the professionals at the school saw how overwhelmed and pressured the students were to do what it took to get into prestigious colleges – it was all that their parents (and therefore they) talked about. These students were strung out on caffeine drinks, studying for 6 or more hours a night, enrolled in advanced placement courses, busy all weekend in community service projects, taking music lessons and playing sports – all to look amazing to their Ivy League college admissions departments.  They openly shared that they were panicking about whether their grades were high enough, were involved in enough activities and if they were living up to their parents’ expectations. “Be the best – it is the only way ahead,” I remember hearing one parent tell their son as he arrived to the program. Many of these kids were ready to explode.

Getting pushed to the brink

Are we pushing our kids so hard because of our fears and our expectations that we make their lives unhappy? Are we pushing them into our definition of a successful life and forget that there is more to life than what school you go to, what job you have and how much money you make?

It is important to remember that each of us, particularly our kids, are a work-in-progress. They are figuring themselves out and how they fit into life – this takes time and is loaded with starts and stops, mistakes and learning. Pushing harder and harder to achieve more and better just wears our kids. “Perfection,” as mindfulness author Rachel Remen shares, “is the boobie prize in life.” It has us focus on an unrealistic standard that burns our kids out and makes them feel pressured, unsuccessful and unhappy.

A better way is to watch and acknowledge progress – progress in self-awareness, progress in making quality decisions, progress in showing up responsibly to their lives, progress in learning to be happy. Small consistent reasonable steps can yield some terrific long term results without all the added pressure of being the best.

Are you a high pressure parent – a Tiger Mom?

Consider these questions:

  1. Do you script your kid’s life with activities and required achievements and get upset when they do not perform?
  2. Do you find more wrong with your kids than right with them – your commentary and feedback is more about what’s missing and lacking instead of what’s present?
  3. Do you use others’ perspectives guide you in to what your kids should be doing and achieving instead of connecting to what is meaningful and important for your kid?
  4. Are you more concerned with impressing others with your child’s accomplishments than by allowing your child to have input in making meaningful personal choices?

The solution to all of these is to first stop and notice. Do you do these? Then, notice the impact on your child. Does this raise the quality of their lives or lower it? Kids develop in their own time and in their own way. What if you pushed and directed less and questioned and communicated more? What might you fight out about who they are and what they want in their lives.

It is indeed a great thing to have goals – and some ‘reach’ goals are great. But if your son or daughter truly feels that life is terrible because of the pressure to constantly achieve, perform or be the best, tune in. This is a signal that things need to change, and you are the best one to help bring about this change. Care more about their happiness and health than awards and achievement.

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.

5 Great Questions You Should Ask Your Kids

Parents tell – it’s what they do. That is until they stop doing it.

For so many of us, we think our job as parents is to tell our kids how to be in life – what to believe, what to do, how to live and on and on. For some reason we think we have our kids’ answers in how they should show up to their world.

The only person who has a perspective about what makes a great, happy, successful and responsible life is ourselves – me for me, you for you, your kids for your kids. Our greatest job as a parent is to help our kids figure this out so that when they decide to move past high school, they have sorted this out and have some clarity on how to meet their world and be happy, successful and responsible in it.

Telling Is Not Asking

If you tell, tell, tell – you don’t help your child, then teen, then young adult – learn how to process, think through the options and choose wisely for who they are. If instead, you ask, ask, ask, you create the environment for your kids to think about and share their thoughts, talents, passions and interests. You both become more aware of what is different, unique and amazing about each of your kids. They gather this information as they sort through their answers to your questions.

Your kids need this information to identify where in today’s world they fit – what career, job, focus and work needs what they do and love best. You need this information in order to know how to help each kid develop into his/her greatest self and find his/her unique way.

The starting point to helping our kids tune in to who they are is to get good at asking more than telling (I like to think that parents tell and coaches ask – so become more like a coach). Here are 5 great (coaching) questions to help get your kids to talk to you, and in the process, help them start to think about themselves and through the events of their lives to discover and develop the clarity to find out who they are and what they want to do in life.

5 Great Questions To Ask Your Kids

  1. What are 3 things people applaud you for?
  2. What was the last thing that didn’t work out the way you wanted – what could you have done instead?
  3. I see that you are struggling with this – what is something that has worked in a previous situation like this that could help you out now? Or, what’s another way to look at this?
  4. If you could spend part (all) of today doing what you love, what would you do?
  5. What do you think is the greatest or most amazing thing about you? How did you discover it and how do you feel knowing this?

You can see that there are thousands of other questions that are in line with these information-gathering and thought-provoking questions. The idea is to get them thinking and talking. So much less of this happens if you come at them with only directions and instructions – you do all their thinking for them.

As our kids age, they need to take their unique and amazing brains out for a spin. Asking questions is the greatest way for them to discover what great abilities they came packaged with (they didn’t get an owner’s manual so you have to help them discover this by helping them see it). The more you ask, the more they think. The more they think, the more information they discover about who they are and what in today’s world fits them. If you do their thinking for them, when it is their turn to show up to the world, they will not know how to make good decisions to be happy, successful and responsible in life.


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.


How To Successfully Integrate Work And Family, with Joel Louis – RFL042

How to Successfully Integrate Work And Family – Episode Overview

Our world is so distracting. It can be so pushy and bossy. “Go here, buy this, drive this, vote this way, believe this” – we get a constant stream of distractions and directions. Everyone is telling us how to show up to the things in our lives – at work and in our family lives. Trying to balance all of this – to hear our own voice and show up big to our family as a parent and big to your work, takes great attention and awareness. We have to establish what is important in our lives and stay focused on these. As our guest shares during the podcast, “things that matter most can never be at the mercy of things that matter least.” Knowing the difference allows you to look at work and life and integrate the two – trusting your own voice and defining for you and your family, what gets your attention and when.

Attention and Intention

On each show I talk about attention and intention. This week, my attention is on great parenting. My intention is to help us become great parents by learning to focus on what really matters – to tune out the noise and focus on the important things so we can successfully integrate family and work.

Meet Our Guest Joel Louis

Joel Louis On Work And FamilyJoel Louis is an award winning and popular podcaster, the founder of Startup Dad Headquarters, a mastermind host, personal coach and passionate dad of three daughters.  His mission is to help dads be fully engaged in every aspect of their lives and pursue their dreams of building a business – not just any business – one that leaves a mark on this world and a legacy for the next generation.


Start Up Dad Podcast

Episode’s Key TakeAWays

  1. This episode is all about focusing on the things that really matter. We have to balance work and life – how clear are you about which of these environments get your attention.
  2. Being able to integrate work and life requires great awareness – to know how to focus on what needs your greatest attention – and when, and how to give the areas that are important regular attention.
  3. Many parents look to start their own businesses or participate in a franchise as a way of better connecting their personal and professional lives. Many times a family issue, illness or challenge can inspire us to make a change in what we consider work – where, when, how much work, the hours, etc. By focusing on what matters most to the family, we get information to determine how to integrate our careers.
  4. Each of the moments with our kids are special – sometimes we just gloss over them because we are busy. Becoming more intentional to tune in to the moments with our kids helps us see them as moments that matter. Telling our kids a story, sharing some wisdom, participating in something they are doing are all ways of helping them see that they are part of what really matters.
  5. What are the opportunities that allow you to better integrate work and family? A home-based business? Working from home? Starting your own business? What conventional and non-conventional approaches to work and family can you consider?
  6. Consider work/roles/opportunities that are family-friendly; talk to your family to help them be work-friendly.
  7. Many times, life’s challenges create opportunities to rethink and reconsider how you are integrating family and work. How are you open to seeing challenges as a way to consider new things rather than just be disappointed when things are challenging or don’t go your way?
  8. Develop your daily habit of meditation, mindfulness or quiet to allow yourself the clarity to choose how you want to go through your day – to remind yourself of the important things that may get pushed around by some of the not-so-important things. These things can easily take over if we are unclear of the important things in each day.
  9. When we work intentionally to be more present and aware – we get to see what is. In that moment, we have the ability of identify the things that matter and the things that don’t matter. This gives us the ability to then choose better, wiser and more clearly for the things that are important to us in life.
  10. We are best when we include what matters to us personally as well as what matters to our families. Once our kids grow up and move out, how are we also still aware of and active in a great life that really matters. Having and raising kids is part of life; discovering, developing and living our greatest abilities is also part of life. Both are important. Make time for both.

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 matters and what is important to you. Do your family and work choices reflect this?
  2. Stop and Notice the role family has in your life. How are you making time for what you consider your role is and how you want to be involved in your family?
  3. Stop and Notice the role work has in your life. How are you allowing yourself the ability to feel engaged, valuable and important in the workplace AND be there for your family in a way that matters to them?
  4. Stop and Notice new opportunities that allow you to better integrate family and work. What opportunities would allow you to have a better balance or meaningful focus on what you want at this moment from both work and life?

It really isn’t about work life balance – it is about work life integration – both have to happen. How do you give each the value that it needs based on your values and expectations? To be a great parent doesn’t mean you only focus on your family. Rather, it means that you find a way to blend your professional and personal lives. You need to feel important and effective everywhere – in work and in the family. Defining this helps you build a plan to succeed in both places.

Suggested Resource:

The Book Of Secrets- Unlocking The Hidden Dimensions of Your LifeA resource for work and family  – by Deepak Chopra

We all want to know how to find a soul mate, what career would be most fulfilling, how to live a life with meaning, and how to teach our children well. We are looking for a personal breakthrough, a turning point, a revelation that brings with it new meaning. The Book of Secrets–a crystalline distillation of insights and wisdom accumulated over the lifetime of one of the great spiritual thinkers of our time–provides an exquisite new tool for achieving just that.

Every life is a book of secrets, ready to be opened. The secret of perfect love is found there, along with the secrets of healing, compassion, faith, and the most elusive one of all: who we really are. We are still mysteries to ourselves, despite the proximity of these answers, and what we most long to know remains lodged deep inside.

Because answers to the questions at the center of life are counterintuitive, they are often hidden from view, sequestered from our everyday gaze. In his ongoing quest to elevate our experience, bestselling author Deepak Chopra has isolated fifteen secrets that drive the narrative of this inspiring book–and of our lives. From “The World Is in You” and “What You Seek, You Already Are” to “Evil Is Not Your Enemy” and “You Are Truly Free When You Are Not a Person,” The Book of Secrets is rich with insights, a priceless treasure that can transport us beyond change to transformation, and from there to a sacred place where we can savor the nectar of enlightenment.

How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex, with Dr Glenn Miya – RFL041

How to Talk To Your Kids About Sex – Episode Overview

The Internet and technology has brought many of the more adult issues right to our kids – even though they aren’t adults. They don’t have the ability, in many cases, how to understand, process or deal with some of the information they connect with – sex, drugs, relationships, social media. As I regularly state, a critical role of our job as parents is to walk with and translate for our kids, the information they get from our world. We can’t protect them constantly, but we can guide them to be prepared and wise when they do encounter things that are challenging or have the potential to disrupt their life and health or adversely influence their choices.

Attention and Intention

This week, my attention is on getting our kids ready for life. My intention is to encourage meaningful conversations with our kids about sex and other things they will encounter in life – before they encounter them – the things that can be confusing, dangerous and difficult for them to understand without our guidance, support and coaching.

Meet our guest Dr. Glenn Miya

How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex With Glenn MiyaDr. Glenn Miya, is a parent and board certified physician as well as a radio host, producer, writer, and speaker on current topics in the world of medicine and wellness. His philosophy to staying well is simple.

“Start with the three fundamentals of health:  proper diet, proper exercise, and proper rest. Years of gymnastics and martial arts taught me that.”

He has been featured by PBS, NPR, CBS radio, and many other new shows and publications.

Episode’s Key TakeAWays

  1. Sex is everywhere – on television, movies, phones, the Internet. Most parents don’t talk about it in a way that relates to their values – so that when their kids encounter it, they know how to place it in a meaningful and healthy way in life.We can help our kids by walking with them and helping them understand and interpret the information they get from their world – to place it wisely – particularly about sex.
  2. Our kids need to understand the mechanics of sex (how bodies work) before they can begin to understand it emotionally. Talk to your kids early (toddlers) about bodies. It helps them see them as natural and normal – before they start to see them sensationalized.
  3. Our discomfort with talking to our kids about sex will direct them to learn about it from the internet, friends and the outside world. This doesn’t ensure that our kids develop a healthy understanding of it for their lives.
  4. We are connection beings. We are modeling and teaching our values about sex and sexuality with our kids from their first moments. Everything about having and raising kids is about connection.
  5. Look for the teachable moments to bring up or deal with issues about sex, health and other meaningful topics. Many times an event, site, word, television show, etc will get your child asking or wondering. This is a teachable moment – tune in to it – don’t miss it.
  6. Most kids overestimate what they know about sex; most parents underestimate what their kids know about sex.
  7. Talking about the mechanics of sex (early education for our kids) is part 1. The more important part is talking about the flood of emotions (feelings) that go along with sex. A solid foundation helps parents talk and deal with the emotions and feelings that come with our maturing kids around dating, sex and relationships.
  8. When we tune in and really pay attention to our kids (and ask them a lot of questions), we discover what they know and think about big issues like sex. We can then assess where they are with things and determine how we can best support and respond – particularly as they get older.
  9. Kids today are more connected with each other because of their constant social media connections. This encourages greater emotional relationships, sooner. Parents need to be aware that many relationships that we see our kids in as virtual (and not emotional), they see as real (and very emotional). This affects how they react.
  10. Sex is part of life. It is important for us to help our kids appreciate, value and trust their feelings and to understand and respect their bodies – and the bodies of others.
  11. Examine your own values and attitudes about sex. This is where most of the embarrassment about sex comes from. Rethink it and assess what needs to change to help you help your kids be wiser about themselves and the way they connect to sex in their lives.

Questions for parents

  1. How are you regularly talking about sex and tough issues with your kids?
  2. What concern or fear do you have in talking to your kids about sex?
  3. How could you involve your pediatrician or physician in preparing to have these meaningful conversations?
  4. What changes do you need to make in your own understanding of sex and being a sexual/connection being that will improve your life?

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 how you talk to your kids about sex. What are your fears and how will you overcome them?
  2.    Stop and Notice what your kids currently know and think about sex? How can you have a discussion to find this out to determine how to help them develop a healthy and wise understanding of it in their lives?
  3.    Stop and Notice whether you take advantage of the teachable moments to help your kids understand sexuality, sexual behavior and their sexuality. How will you be more tuned in and watching for the times to help them learn from teachable moments?
  4.    Stop and Notice how you are helping your kids stay sane and grounded in a world that has a lot of distractions around sex. How can you help your kids understand this in their world and not be a victim to it?

Sex – it’s everywhere. Our kids see it all the time. Many times we have no idea what they know about it – and whether what they know is healthy, accurate and will help them be ready for life. As parents, we need to own these big conversations even if they make us uncomfortable. Our kids need us to help them develop their understanding of all of what their life shares with them. This way they will be wise and informed in the decisions they make at any point in their lives.

Suggested Resource:

A Chicken’s Guide to Talking Turkey With Your Kids About Sex  – by Dr Kevin Leman and Kathy Flores Bell

A resource to talk to your kids about sexParents Often Imagine Their Kids to be Nonsexual Until Their Wedding Night The truth of the matter is that we’re sexual from day one. What are you going to communicate to your kids about this, knowing that they are sexual creatures today? Your kids need you to talk with them about sex. No one else will do. They’ve been discovering their sexuality since the day they were born, but they need you to help them deal with the changes and challenges of puberty. Those conversations that are so vital for your children’s health and happiness don’t have to be difficult if you’re prepared. A Chicken’s Guide to Talking Turkey with Your Kids about Sex helps you build a strong, trust-filled relationship with your son or daughter to prepare you for the intimate talks you need to have when “the changes” hit. And because every child grows in a unique way, this book tells you what to teach but lets you determine when. Inside this book are the tools you need to help your kids not only understand their growing bodies, but also cope with the temptations and social pressures that go with them. Practical, expert, and down-to-earth, A Chicken’s Guide is a powerful resource not only for moms and dads, but also for pastors, counselors, and anyone with a heart for kids.


How To Set Meaningful Boundaries and Limits For Your Kids, with Erin Royer-Asrilant – RFL040

How to Set Meaningful Boundaries and Limits For Your Kids – Episode Overview

We want our kids to find their way in today’s wild world. And to do that, they need to learn, explore and discover. So how much is too much freedom and how much is too little? THEY want to be free, YOU want them to be safe – how do you blend the two?

Our job as modern parents is to get our kids ready for life. That means we need to walk WITH them – to guide and interpret our noisy and pushy world, to help them make sense of it – to be able to see their options then be able to make wise choices in school, work and life that need what they do best. To do this, we need to set up boundaries and guidelines. If these are too tight, our kids rebel. If they are too loose, they can get caught up in the world’s distractions. Finding the balance is critical.

Attention and Intention

This week, my attention is on guiding our kids to be successful, happy and responsible in life. My intention is to have a discussion about boundaries and guidelines as tools to help our kids stay focused on what matters – to both fully experience the world and to know how to choose wisely in all of its noise and distractions.

Meet our guest Erin Royer-Asrilant

Erin Royer O Meaningful Boundaries For KidsErin Royer-Asrilant is a parent of 3 young children and has a masters in clinical psychology. She specializes in helping families resolve stressful parenting concerns such as negative child behavior, unproductive communication, and family organization issues. She is the founder of Your Village Online, a robust parenting site with 40 online education programs to help all parents learn to be more confident and successful with their parenting – by improving how they deal with discipline, boundaries and roles. You can find out more about this amazing mom who still makes time to train for triathlons and marathons at the links below.

Episode’s Key TakeAWays

  1. It is critical for us to help our kids be aware in today’s world without being afraid of it. We set boundaries and limits to help our kids learn how to be successful and safe in our world.
  2. We help our kids process and interpret life successfully when we help them discover and develop their talents and strengths. Make this an intentional component of how you raise them so they aren’t discovering this information later in life. The sooner our kids know their inventory of abilities, the sooner they can better understand how to find their way in life – to be confident to be present in it and wise to live it safely.
  3. Tune in to your kids to notice their abilities – to help them start to connect them with the opportunities in life that align.
  4. We constantly struggle as parents with the fear and danger we see and experience in our world. This can make us want to create stronger limits and guidelines for our kids which can sometimes have the opposite effect we desire. All great guidelines, limits and boundaries as our kids grow and mature are best done through discussion. You, as a parent, can always override what a child may want, but including him or her in the conversation opens you up to his or her reality, and creates the ability for both sides to share their real thoughts. This can’t happen if all limits and rules are handed down to kids.
  5. Safety, values and beliefs are usually delivered to our kids in a telling mode. All other events can be negotiated through conversation.
  6. Our kids are getting in over their heads because of the Internet. The internet is a doorway to the entire world – which includes many areas that our kids are not wise enough to know how to process, handle or ignore. Setting limits on access is important.
  7. Boundaries and limits – kids want freedom and choice and safety and security – make them reasonable and age-appropriate. This is one of the main ways we communicate that our kids are safe with us.
  8. Include your kids in your conversations about limits and boundaries so they know what you are thinking, what you are concerned about and what you know that they may not know. Explaining things helps create context so kids are more aware of the reasons in the limits – they may not always agree but they at least understand our thinking.
  9. Staying calm is so critical to effective parenting.  Peaceful parenting is about parenting, not the kids. You can’t be your best self (calm, peaceful) if you are not taking care of yourself.

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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 how you create boundaries, guidelines and limits with your kids. Is it one directional or do you involve them in discussions? How effectively are your limits or boundaries working?
  2. Stop and Notice what you talk to your kids about in a day. Is it negative and pessimistic like much of the news, or do you help your kids appreciate the dangers in our world but still be optimistic and willing to be fully involved in life?
  3. Stop and Notice how balanced you are in protecting your kids from the dangers and distractions in today’s world but open and encouraging to let them discover who they are and go live life like it matters. How can you improve this today?
  4. Stop and Notice how calm and stable you are as a parent. What do you need to do on a daily basis for yourself, to be a peaceful parent? How can being a peaceful parent help improve your parenting, particularly around setting limits and boundaries for your kids?

Our world has both great and dangerous things. In order to be safe and loving life, we need to help our kids learn how to know the difference. With the Internet, they have access to things we never dreamed of seeing at their age – some productive, and many that are unproductive. It is up to us to help them understand their world to known how to navigate successfully in it. This means setting meaningful and age-appropriate boundaries and limits – limiting access until they can wise and ready in their responses – and including them when they are ready in the discussions about those limits. This is just what it takes to be a modern parent.

Suggested Resource:

Scream Free Parenting ResourceScreamFree Parenting – The Revolutionary Approach to Raising Your Kids By Keeping Your Cool  – by Hal Edward Runkel, LMFT

You Can Start a Revolution in Your Family . . . Tonight

ScreamFree Parenting is not just about lowering your voice. It’s about learning to calm your emotional reactions and learning to focus on your own behavior more than your kids’ behavior . . . for their benefit. Our biggest enemy as parents is not the TV, the Internet, or even drugs. Our biggest enemy is our own emotional reactivity. When we say we “lost it” with our kids, the “it” in that sentence is our own adulthood. And then we wonder why our kids have so little respect for us, why our kids seem to have all the power in the family.

It’s time to do it differently. And you can. You can start to create and enjoy the types of calm, mutually respectful, and loving relationships with your kids that you’ve always craved. You can begin to revolutionize your family, starting tonight.

Parenting is not about kids, it’s about parents. If you’re not in control, then you cannot be in charge. What every kid really needs are parents who are able to keep their cool no matter what.

Easier said than done? Not anymore, thanks to ScreamFree Parenting, the principle-based approach that’s inspiring parents everywhere to truly revolutionize their family dynamics. Moving beyond the child-centered, technique-based approaches that ultimately fail, the ScreamFree way compels you to:

  • focus on yourself
  • calm yourself down, and
  • grow yourself up

By staying calm and connected with your kids, you begin to operate less out of your deepest fears and more out of your highest principles, revolutionizing your relationships in the process.

ScreamFree Parenting is not just another parenting book. It’s the first parenting book that maintains—from beginning to end—that parenting is NOT about kids . . . it’s about parents. As parents pay more attention to controlling their own behavior instead of their kids’ behavior, the result is stronger, more rewarding, and more fulfilling family relationships.

For those of you reading who are parents, know parents, or have had parents, the notion that the greatest thing you can do for your children is to learn to focus on yourself may sound strange, even heretical. It’s not. Here’s why: we are the only ones we can control. We cannot control our kids—we cannot control the behavior of any other human being. And yet, so many “experts” keep giving us more tools (“techniques”) to help us try to do just that. And, of course, the more we try to control, the more out of control our children become.

“Don’t make me come up there.” “Don’t make me pull this car over.” “How many times do I have to tell you?” Even our language suggests that our kids have control over us.

It’s no wonder that we end up screaming. Or shutting down. Or simply giving up. And the charts, refrigerator magnets, family meetings, and other techniques in most typical parenting books just don’t work. They end up making us feel more frustrated and more powerless in this whole parenting thing.

This practical, effective guide for parents of all ages with kids of all ages introduces proven principles for overcoming the anxieties and stresses of parenting and setting new patterns of connection and cooperation. Well-written in an engaging, conversational tone, the book is sensible, straightforward, and based on the experiences of hundreds of actual families. It will help all parents become calming authorities in their homes, bring peace to their families today, and give kids what they need to grow into caring, self-directed adults tomorrow.