Do you really want to be screamer?

Our reactivity undermines anything and everything we do. We wonder why we don't have influence over our children. We try and control through reactivity but we don't gather respect this way, we actually lose influence.

Screaming and shouting at our kids has been normalized.  Yet if we look at the stress response that sits behind our screaming and their receiving our wrath it is anything but healthy.  No one shouts when feeling calm, it is always a symptom of raised stress levels and coursing adrenalin and cortisol. 

When we shout we amplify this toxic physical, mental and emotional state for us and our children.  What this does is it clouds judgment and reason.  It removes all of our higher order faculties that would be useful in a situation when discipline is required.

Remember, discipline shares the same root as disciple, which essentially means to lead. However when we try and influence our kids through our own reactivity rather than influencing them...

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Are you stuck in a conflict loop?

Uncategorized May 16, 2017

Patterns are essentially a series of habits linked together. They really serve us as we can get through vast percentages of our life without consciously thinking about

  • walking,
  • breathing,
  • talking,
  • brushing our teeth,
  • driving a car,
  • making a cup of tea and so on. 

 These patterns are wired into our hardware and allow us to move through life easily. 

The downside is that some habits and patterns that don’t serve us are also hardwired into us.  Like conflict loops:

  • Our child starts whining and we start shouting at them
  • Our children start fighting and we have an impulse to smack or join the fight,
  • Our child doesn’t listen to us and we feel the same lecture coming on,
  • Our children leave their laundry on the floor and the cupboard doors open and we have the same irritation rising within us. 

 We react in the same way, without thought.  They do too.  Depending on the personalities and the situation you can be guaranteed there is a...

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Are you coach or referee at home?

Do you find you are playing referee a lot in your child’s life?  

  • Blowing the whistle.
  • Yellow carding the extreme behaviours?
  • Red carding the worse behaviours?  

Are you constantly making a call on tussles:

  • Penalising and awarding penalties?  
  • Are you sure that your call is accurate and fair?
  • Did you have all the information to make the call?
  • Is making a call is the right thing to do?  

Being a referee is an incredibly stressful vocation. 

A ref is the official who watches a game (the game of our children’s lives perhaps) closely to ensure that the rules are adhered to and to arbitrate on matters arising from the play.

What we are suggesting is that we switch from referee to coach. 

Sports coaching can be defined as the process of motivating, guiding and training an individual in preparation for something. If we grow this definition to include that of life coaches then …

  • Coaches assist in the setting and...
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The art of good decisions in a world of excess choices

Do you know there is an art, or skill to making good decisions? 

In a world where the buffet of choices and opportunities is expanding exponentially, how well you make decisions dramatically influences your life.  If it is important for us, as adults, then it’s even more important for our children. Getting good at this is a core gift to pass on to our children.  Access to opportunities is a wonderful gift and brings with it certain costs that are powerful to be aware of. 

Everyone has 24 hours in a day

How you spend your day is up to your values, priorities and what feels important.  While in times gone by it may have been easy to choose between watching live sport, a movie, series or animal planet.  Now you have Netflix, Showmax, apple TV, DSTV etc….  

The reality of this is that in the past it was an easy choice between what you like and what you don’t.  Now it’s between what you like or value a lot, a little...

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Is there another way to do the tweens and teen years?

So much is written and discussed about the overwhelming, confusing, daunting, frustrating and disempowering role of parenting tweens and teens.  
SO much reference is made to the trickiness of doing this in these current times.  
So much fear and anxiety pervades our bodies, minds, our newstreams, our Facebook walls and our table conversations.
We get this.  
We see it and experience it too.  

Yet we are deeply committed at Contemporary Parenting to explore another way.  A way in which we can bring up our tweens and teens with connection, love, joy and ease.  OK, perhaps less ease as lets face it, they are subject to changing architecture of their brains and their hormonal fluxes, yet we still believe there can be a high degree of ease.  

We’ve drilled down to our top 3 tips to achieve this.

  1. Realistic and developmentally appropriate expectations
  2. Cultivate healthy brains by creating an environment of safe connection
  3. Hold firm boundaries -...
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The Value of Patience

Reflecting on the year ahead. What is it we would most like our children to emerge with at the end of 2017?

There is an interview (which you can view here) going around on social media with Simon Sinek talking about the Millennial generation. If you haven’t seen it, it is worth a watch. The two key concepts he highlights to overcome their self-esteem trap are connection and patience.

The first of these - connection - is the spine of all our work. It’s the gateway to strong relationships and therefore fulfilment. If you want to know more about how to bring this into your life and home join us at our upcoming Signature parenting course (details here), follow us on Facebook here or read our previous blog post on The Power of Connected Relationships

Let us focus on the key skill of patience and how we can coach our children to strengthen their patience muscle.

Seeds and Switches
We live in a society where switches are the norm;

  • one click and we have a book to read
  • one...
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What is your holiday goal?

 What is your holiday goal?
You are off the treadmill for a moment, you can take slower mornings and deeper breaths, and we invite you to do exactly that. We invite you to also consider using the less stressful 5-6 weeks ahead of you to choose a goal for the family for the holidays. There is time to rise above the homework-and-normal-responsibilities and consider using this space to grow our children more holistically.  

Goal Consideration
They may be overall goals for the family of;

  • greater connection,
  • consciously slowing down or
  • not running from one activity to the next,
  • de-teching for hours every day or days every week or
  • instituting specific special time alone with each child each day.

They may also be goals of skill and good habit such as;

  • chewing food more carefully and thoroughly and
  • brushing teeth for longer, or
  • making beds or
  • learning a new household activity like gardening or cooking. 

They may be goals of character like

  • instilling...
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We are our children's Wingmen

Those of us "teening and young adulating" in 1986 may remember when Tom Cruise was being reprimanded for getting ‘killed’ in simulated combat because he left his wingman (Watch movie clip here). A wingman is described as a pilot who supports another in a potentially dangerous <flying> environment. Wingman was originally a term referring to the plane flying beside and slightly behind the lead plane in an aircraft formation.  

I (Colleen) use this analogy with my kids. I’ve said to my daughter (now 12) often over the years “I am your wingman - don’t pull away, don’t shoot me down - I am the best supporter you will ever have.” 

Let us play with this analogy and infuse it with some neuroscience and emotional intelligence understanding. Assume our kids are the pilots of their own lives and we are their wingmen - supporting them through many potential...

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Relationships can make us happier and healthier

  • Do you every wonder who you bring forward everyday, into the car, the kitchen, the classroom, the boardroom, the shops, the sports fields?
  • And why that particular 'you' showed up in that way in that situation?
  • Do you wonder the same of others?  
  • Do you ever consider the enormous impact our showing up has on each other?

Beyond just affecting each others moods, we affect each other's wellness, we affect each others development.

Let's say that again; we affect each other's wellness and development.

Never is this more real than in the adult-child relationship. 

A longitudinal study at Harvard on happiness tracked over 700 people and their over 2000 children for over 75 years, and still continues today.  They are interviewed, their families are studied, their brains are scanned and their blood is tested… and the unequivocal message is that


In parenting this is...

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Boundaries - What's in them anyway?

boundaries connection Aug 18, 2016

Invisible Lines

Good fences make good neighbours, the saying goes. The same may be said for children. Boundaries are the invisible lines that concerned, loving and insightful parents hopefully put in place in those instances when we know something will no longer serve our children or those around them.

They are the lollipop man of parenting. They are concerned with our children's welfare and they are strong and non-negotiable yet they are not meant to hurt our children. They are rather meant to keep them from hurt.

Often parents feel boundaries need to be applied as a little like shock collar treatment -

if children step out of line then they get a zzzzt zzzzt so they learn to stay in line... this often looks like one or a combination of smacking, gating or grounding, fining, taking treats away or time out.

All of which apply pain to enforce the boundary with the belief that if there is enough pain the boundary will be respected.

Science is showing us that this not only breaks...

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