Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Creating a Strong Family Team

Imagine an orchestra. Think of how all those many different types of instruments all work together to play beautiful music. Everyone is in harmony and the music flows with grace and ease. It sounds so nice only because each musician has learned to work with the others, together to create something much bigger than anything they could do by themselves. Now imagine how unpleasant it would be if each musician tried to play that same piece of music without paying attention to the director or what the other musicians were doing. Imagine if they just decided to do it all on their own, without any input. It would not be as pretty. In fact, it would sound down right bad!

Families often find themselves stretched very thin, trying to just make it through the day. It's all too easy to fall out of harmony, with each family member trudging through as best they can, forgetting how much easier, more beautiful (and more fun) life would be if thy lived as a team.

In The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni has identified five essential ingredients in an effective team. Effective teams:
  1. Trust each other
  2. Are ok with conflict
  3. Commit to decisions and actions
  4. Hold each other accountable
  5. Maintain their focus
In the next blog post, we will look more into the first critical component Lencioni has identified - trust, and discuss what it looks like when families don't have trust and how to foster trust!
By Heather Remer, INCAF

Monday, May 23, 2011

I Don't Like My Child

I listened to a Mom complain about her 4 year old daughter for twenty minutes during a coaching session. After a moment I said, "It sounds like you don't like your daughter." There was a long pause, a deep sigh and the answer, "I don't. She never leaves me alone. I can't even go to the bathroom alone and she talks incessantly." I told her that I understood her dilemma and I reassured her that she was not alone in having these thoughts. I admired her for having the courage to verbalize something so difficult to admit to oneself. I then charged this mother with looking for what was standing in the way of her love for her child over the next week.

The following week she called bubbling with energy and enthusiasm. I immediately asked what was different this week from last. She informed me that her daughter had been playing by herself and more importantly, when Mom and daughter were together, Mom was enjoying her time with daughter. She said she realized that what was standing in the way of her love for her daughter was her stress over the house cleaning.  "When I was supposed to be playing play dough with my child, all I could think of was that the toilet needed to be cleaned!" So to help, she and her husband went over the budget and created the money to hire a housekeeper to just keep the surfaces clean, relieving some of Mom's stress. In addition, she started addressing her internal, mistaken belief that her house must be spotless.

As a result, Mom is now able to spend more quality time with her daughter, which allows her daughter to feel more loved. This is helping her daughter to become less clingy and attention seeking, and more independent.

How about you? 
Feeling distant or annoyed by your child? Maybe you sometimes feel as if you don't actually like your child very much. Instead of beating yourself up emotionally for having the thought, or allowing yourself to get so annoyed:
1. Acknowledge without judgment that you are feeling this way, and 
2. Ask yourself, "what is standing in the way of love?"

You can also ask yourself this question in regards to other important people in your life you might be feeling less than loving towards. Sometimes it is as simple as a mistaken belief that can be addressed or tweaked.
By Kathryn Kvols, Author of Redirecting Children's Behavior and founder of INCAF

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Parents Succumbing to Peer Pressure

In her recent article in NEWS Magazine, Vanessa Barford with BBC News takes a good look at parental spending habits and with good reason. In her article, “The parental spending craze,” she discusses how parents are succumbing to peer pressure and spending more and more on  the latest products and gadgets for their children. While this isn’t new, it seems that there is a rise in competition for the best baby accessories! She reports that experts are linking this to the idea that parents see their children as a statement of themselves and baby goods are now becoming a status symbol.

Barford goes on to point out that more seasoned parents often don’t fall prey to this mindset as frequently. But in my mind, this begs the question, “If parents are increasingly falling prey to peer pressure, how will their children learn not to?”  As parents, it is our responsibility to remember what is most important in life, and my guess is it’s not the brand of diaper bag we carry!

You may view Vanessa Barford’s article at The parental spending craze.
By Heather Remer, INCAF

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Is My Family Normal?

Parents can't help but ask themselves if they are doing a good job. All of us at times falter. Life just gets in the way and some times you need to just step back, look at things holistically and check in where you are at with things. Here is a link from the American Academy of Pediatrics that gives a quick and easy spot check for parents by outlining some of the characteristics that make up a healthy family.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Kid's Won't Do What You Ask?

Sometimes children don't do what we ask because we ask them while their mind is preoccupied with something else. One way to set your child (and yourself) up for success is to make the request and then ask them to repeat what you just said back to you. Encourage them to use their own words but don't get upset if they repeat back to you verbatim. Make sure your intention is one of creating clear communication and not of posing a threat or making them feel in anyway diminished. This also provides an opportunity for you to make sure your child understands what you are requesting. This is a  loving form of reinforcement (and it works well with significant others too)!
By Kathryn Kvols, Author of Redirecting Children's Behavior and founder of INCAF

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Learning from Our Children

My daughter Brianna, now 17, was on the tennis team this year. The girls won Districts and won their first round at Regionals. They were playing a really talented team that they had lost to earlier in the year. They had won 3 games and lost 3 games. It all came down to Brianna's game. Everyone was watching. If she won, the girls would go on to States. If she lost, their season was over. Brianna lost her first set in a tie breaker and then went on to lose her second set. There season was over. Brianna cried in her daddy's (also her coach's) arms.

We went out to dinner following the tournament and the waitress could see Brianna was wearing her tennis gear and had the more telling signs of a girl worn out from 4 grueling hours of tennis. She ask how Brianna had done. Brianna could have said, "I not only lost but I let down my entire team!" But she didn't. She said with a big grin on her face, "I played my best tennis ever!"

We can't lose when we play our "best tennis ever," but how long does it take for us to figure that out? Brianna's one comment resonated with me, reminding me again in that special way only our children can, that this life is not about meeting every goal we set for ourselves but all about how we are playing the game. Our goals and ambitions are important. But we must remember (and remember to teach our children) that "playing our best," and experiencing life for all it is worth in this moment is really where happiness lives.
By Kathryn Kvols, Author of Redirecting Children's Behavior and founder of INCAF