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Expectations

The Big Ass Circle of Truth in Parenting

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The Big Ass Circle of Truth in Parenting

At some point I felt confident. I knew the consequences I was dishing out to my child made sense.  My intentions are the same every time. I want my kids to learn. I want them to grow from their decisions, no matter what they are.  I want them to have a clear understanding of what works and what doesn’t work.  Isn’t that what we all want?

Yet I keep finding myself in these moments, feeling unsure of my convictions, and remembering just how challenging this gig is.

My daughter is officially a teenager.  Since her birth, I’ve dreaded this time of her life. “Stay little,” I’ve pleaded.  “Stop growing,” I’ve demanded.  Neither children obey my commands.

My girl is months away from being taller than me. Hell, it could even be tomorrow.  I just know it’s close. Dangerously close. She is already more confident than I was at her age.  More self-aware, self-assured, self-loving. She is kind, respectful, and sensitive, yet with a thicker skin she’s developed for protection after a few experiences encouraged her to grow it.

Overall, she’s well rounded and a person I genuinely enjoy being around.  I am proud to be her mother.

So what’s my issue?

The mood swings, the attitude, the typical adolescent poor decisions, the uncertainty of my creating long term damage with my responses to them. My own personal desire to want to get it right the first time…you know, fear.  Fear that I’ll say something to hurt her. Fear that she’ll feel neglected or rejected. Fear that I won’t be able to combat her natural inclination to feel like she’s not good enough…despite intellectually knowing I can’t actually do that.

So when I do upset her and I know how angry she is at me, I have to take a big step back and look at myself and my own insecurities as a parent.  I look at my desire to create the mother/daughter bond I didn’t have. I look at my interest in wanting her to trust me like I do my own father.  I want her to want to spend time with me and ask for my help.  And in that moment, when she wants nothing to do with me, I have to remember that I’m making decisions to support all of those things, even if they look like they will push her away.

The biggest thing I’ve learned in the past year with my children is that as they grow and my desire to stay connected to them increases, my approach has had to change as well.  I found myself hitting a wall with my daughter and she didn’t want to open up with me.  I realized that if I wanted her to let me in, I’d have to do the same.  I told her about my fears of her aging. I told her I knew I had no control over her and how letting go of the small belief that I do is a big piece for me to accept. I told her how the only way we were going to comfortably get through the next few years is for her to not shut me out and for me to trust that she will make decisions that will support her instead of hurt her…and that in the end, everything is going to be okay.

And in these moments of questioning myself, I find that my insecurity always comes back to the same concern…my own wanting to be more than enough for them. I think we refer to this as the big ass circle of truth.  I may have just made that up, but hopefully you see where I’m going with this. I fear for her what I’ve felt myself; feeling like I am good enough. I want to protect her from what it’s taken me my lifetime to work through and understand. And all I can do is trust myself to offer the best of what I’ve got.

In my circle of truth I see it. I know that what I’m creating is to help us both.  When I trust myself, I teach my kids to trust themselves. When I am honest about my fears and flaws, they are more open to share their own.  If I allow myself to be authentic and true to myself, they will observe this and ideally be inspired to do the same, on their terms, in their timing.

This practice of trusting is ongoing.  For everyone. I know that.  But when it comes to parenting, I’ve yet to discover anything more powerful than trusting my instincts, trusting what I teach my kids is in their best interest, and trusting that they will make decisions that are beneficial for them. Most days, my sense of trust IS the best I’ve got.

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Parenting- The Way We View The World

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Parenting- The Way We View The World

Hello! Long time no write!

I realize it’s been an awfully long time since I’ve written anything for this website, but since I recently renewed the website itself and a friend of mine just asked me today to pull it together and start writing about parenting, I decided, fine…I’m in.

I can’t promise regular posts. I can’t promise I will offer you the best advice for your family. But I can promise to be honest and objective and share what I know for sure…this parenting gig is a lot of work, but damn, it’s pretty amazing.

I believe that parenting is simply teaching our children how we view the world.

Our parents were our primary teachers and they taught us how they view the world. They used the words and beliefs which were taught to them by their primary teachers and only changed them if they felt they didn’t work for them. We have the opportunity to do the same.

For example, if one or both of our parents were worriers, we learned how to worry. We learned how to speak and approach life with hesitation. We spent our days mimicking the distress we were taught and even though we didn’t know why, we learned, this is just the way it is. As we got older, we had a choice on if we want to continue with this worry pattern and training on how to perfect it, or if the worrying was uncomfortable enough to question why exactly we choose to partake in it. If the discomfort bothers us enough, we choose to learn something new, something that suits us better. A new belief, a new way of thinking, a new way to communicate. We alter the way we view the world.

All of this translates to how we parent. We share with them how we see life, the rules we have developed to live in it and the beliefs we hold around how we treat people, our loved ones and ourselves. We teach our children the manners we believe are important, our insight based on lessons we’ve learned the “hard” way, and a general appreciation of why people act the way they do. We teach them our fears, our prejudices, our shortcomings and our angst. We teach them where we find joy and just how to find it. We teach them what works for us. And, what doesn’t.

And this, my friends, is why I have not written in a while.

I am not the same person I was the last time I wrote. My views on life are not the same either. The more I experience and grow as a person, the more my view of life changes with it. And therefore, who I am as a parent is changing as well.

I’ve been a single parent for three years now. Scratch that- co parent- with my children’s father. I left my secure job as a school counselor to open a private practice in counseling and figure out what I want to do next for my career. I am changing and therefore, how I parent is changing.

I am growing into my authentic sense of myself and the more  authentic I feel as my own person, the more authentic I feel as a parent. My children are almost 10 and 13. They are no longer small children and I no longer treat them as such.

My daughter is a teenager and is extraordinarily insightful and sensitive and supportive, and I am learning to treat her as the person she is, not as I want her to be.

My son is turning double digits and he is double the fun he used to be! A wise little soul, he tells his momma how proud he is of her all the time…and then drives her nuts with his little boy behaviors that are a hallmark for exactly where he should be developmentally.

We are figuring out how to be a family within our means and how to successfully support each other, while bringing in the outside stressors daily- all of us.

I am incredibly grateful to be their mom and to teach them my view of the world.

And I’m also grateful to be able to share with you. Thanks for reading.

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Teaching My Children to Live

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Teaching My Children to Live

I was eating dinner with my kids last night and we were literally eating the last of what I could find in the house to make. I was waiting for money to go to the grocery store and we had been waiting for what felt like an awfully long time. We talked of our temporary situation…more so, the temporary situation I put them in. I am constantly checking in with them about how they feel about my major life change and the decisions I’ve made. And every time, whether they mean it or not,  they seem completely unfazed and answer with cheerleading responses such as “you’ve got this Mom.” “I’m so glad you are doing what you love, Mom.” “It’s not a big deal, Mom” And with every little success I share with them, they act like I just discovered a new sugar cereal.


Our temporary situation is meant to be an upgrade and making the decision to upgrade was quite a risk. I resigned from my very stable school counseling job back in August and have been working to create a new career since. I had to take a couple of classes and study for an agonizing licensing board exam, but I am now a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice. I am also a Master Instructor and practitioner of a very intense energy therapy which facilitates deep healing. And I’m beginning to slowly follow my passion for writing. Clearly very slowly, since I haven’t even written for this blog in many months! But life change will do that to you, throw you off track and go into overdrive trying to figure out what it is you’re doing. At least that’s what it does to me.

When I made the decision to leave my job and completely start over, I knew it was not a “smart” move. In fact, on paper, it seemed irresponsible. I have a mortgage, two dependent children, and no real end goal of where I wanted to be. Who leaves a secure job with a consistent income to follow a dream that materialized over night? Apparently, me.

I didn’t sleep for about a month as I plotted out my every move and how it would impact my children and myself. The flow chart of what if’s was well highlighted and new avenues of dead ends were developed nightly. I was filled with fear, but I knew underneath the fear, it was absolutely the right move. I distinctly remember questioning what it was that I wanted to teach my children during this time of transition. I wondered how my decisions would impact their view on life.

I know they watch me, trust me and see my strengths as infallible. Yet I also know they witness my weaknesses, frustrations and what it looks like when I sit in my fear. And I had to come to grips that it’s okay for them to see me as human, as long as they know and trust that I will rise above those weaknesses and make happen what I set out to do.

So what am I teaching my children?

~That trust is essential, especially trust in yourself and your own abilities.

~That life is full of choices and each of them offers us an opportunity to grow into ourselves.

~That you will always know how you are by listening to the way you feel.

~That progress comes from action. When you feel off, change it up. When you feel good, keep going.

~That the world supports you if you support yourself. Keep your intentions positive and when your perspective shifts to the negative, look at it, acknowledge it, and then prove it wrong.

~That nothing can take your power away, unless you hand it over.

~That if you can embrace your fear, you can also embrace your bravery.

In the moments I get stuck questioning myself, I must constantly reframe and look at my role as their teacher. Would I rather teach them to settle for what is comfortable in its discomfort or take the chance to be themselves in a life they personally create? And then I pray that we will all look back at this time of transition and appreciate the unwavering faith that keeps us going.

I have made mistakes, no doubt. But I have created more successes than I knew I could. And today, I am going to the grocery store and tonight, we will celebrate every one of those successes that have added up. I’ll take it.

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Learning How To Recognize Our Own Voice

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Learning How To Recognize Our Own Voice

As a child, there was nothing more familiar than the sound of my parents’ voice. That voice guided my every move. I knew what the expectations were and what they wanted from me, and I knew exactly when I was ignoring it. Even when I was in trouble, the tone of disappointment was still proof that I was thought of and cared about and it was that tone I heard the next time I went to make the same mistake questioning whether it was worth it.

The voice of my parents was loud and prominent and as I grew older it was hard to decipher which voice was speaking to me when I was making decisions in my life. Are those my thoughts or the recorder of how I should think? It was hard to tell. I’d listen for the tones, but sometimes they all blended together.

As an adult and a parent in my own right, I hear the words of my father fly out all the time. They are tones of respect and expectation and authority. They speak words that symbolize strength and insight and responsibility. They are dominant words and I speak them with pride. Yet, there is a side of them that requires a softer touch and an explanation to compliment them. Those words have a tone I know distinctly as my own. I have grown to appreciate the balance between my words and his, and I’d like to think my children do as well.

The confusion for me sets in when life shifts in fast paces and I’m wavering on my feet. I hear my frantic voice looking for answers and instinctually the voice I grew up with pops in and guides me exactly where to go. But the older I get and the more life experience I gain on my own, I notice that those guides don’t fit me like they used to and I start to question that voice and wonder if it needs more independence, more depth and more of its own vocabulary to match the person using it.

And then the questions begin….

Is this the voice I want my children to hear?

What do I want to teach them?

What is the role I want to play in their life?

And most importantly, what do I want to teach myself?

So I step back and listen for the answers and sort through the words and listen for the tones and meanings behind them. And within those voices, I hear the not so distinct sound of my own. Softer and less confident, she’s in there and she actually has a lot to say. And when I listen, I really listen, I hear comfort and familiarity and honesty and bravery and I hear a woman who, in fact, is not wavering on her feet at all. And that’s her, the mother, the parent, the role model, the voice I want my children to hear and hold on to until their own voices are the loudest they hear. I like her, I respect her and I trust she will teach them well.

My hope is that when I hear my children use their own voices, which they give me snippets of often, I will make the effort to turn up the volume and let them explore just how loud they can be. And when it’s time to turn them back down again, show them that sometimes a harmony is exactly what we need.

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Q&A My Perspective: How Can I Avoid Going to Heaven?

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Q&A My Perspective: How Can I Avoid Going to Heaven?

QUESTION:

My four year old daughter has been thinking about what happens when one grows old, goes to heaven and why. I explained that taking really good care of your body and your mind is very important and when we are here, we need to take really good care of ourselves. Now she asks “will jumping on the trampoline make me not go to heaven?” I’m stuck…any ideas?

MY PERSPECTIVE:

Kudos! You gave a her a great response to an inevitable question! Developmentally, a four year questioning the unknown aspects of death is as common as gluten intolerance these days. And her follow up question is fabulous because it proves she is listening and ingesting your words. Excellent!

The tricky part is, in her mind, she asked a  simple black and white question. In our minds, the land of the gray, we hear a complex question filled with varied emotion and multiple answers. Immediately, we may recall our own fears and discomfort with death, our experiences, others’ experiences and even what could be our experience if our minds let us go there.  Yet, all she really asked was “So I need to stay healthy to not go to heaven. Is the trampoline my ticket to stick around?” (Or some 4 year old version of this question)

A response as simple as “Jumping on a trampoline doesn’t mean you won’t ever go to Heaven. We will all go to Heaven. The trampoline is great for your body and keeps your mind happy, so when you do go to Heaven someday, you can be proud of yourself for taking such good care of yourself while you were here.”  The key is to answer in black and white, not the gray we get stuck in.

If she wants more and seems to have fear associated with it, this could be an opportunity to explore with her what she thinks Heaven is.  The key to decreasing anxiety is making an unknown a known.  Ask her what does it look like, smell like, feel like? If its supposed to be so wonderful, why are we afraid to go there and trying to avoid it?

And perhaps she’s giving you an opportunity to explore this yourself.

Either way, if you speak from your heart, you can’t go wrong. And if you don’t speak from your heart, she’ll likely ask you over and over again until you do.  They’re funny little creatures like that.

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Paging Super Mom

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Paging Super Mom

These days my life is filled with moments of content, peace and continuous excitement. My thoughts are many, but flowing with ease.  Balance is a word no longer foreign in meaning. I am living in the skin I was born with and it feels comfortable and form fitting. In short, its quite nice.

Many days I hear myself saying “I have arrived.” Quiet whispers of joy and gratitude- filled with dreams I know are coming to life. I wait for birds to sing me a Welcome Home lullaby…But instead as I sit quietly in my moment of bliss, I hear “Mommmmm! Mommmm!” shouting from the other room.

“Mommmmm!”

Why? Why? I am now yelling in my head.

And then I hear “Whattt!??” in a tone coming out of my mouth I recognize as frustration and irritability. Ewww…I am really no better than them.

More shouting “I was on my Ipod (for the past 2 hours and you didn’t notice) minding my own business and she just walked by and kicked me!”

“I did not!” She screeches. Then tears, then more yelling, then – silence.  Okay, the silence was mine. Maybe if I ignore them and act like I don’t hear them they will go away.

But they don’t go away. Now I hear heavy footsteps- heavy because they are pounding on the floor as they develop their 2 person frantic search party to see who can get to me first to tell their side of the story the loudest and most visibly upset.

My choice catch phrases start pouring out…”You need to figure this out, preferably in a way that doesn’t involve fists and feet. Don’t hit your brother. Don’t hit your sister. How does it feel when you spit those angry words out of your mouth? You might want to find another way to communicate how you are feeling. This isn’t working.”

Yet they continue their whiny rants.

The counselor in me searches for meaning, understanding, reason and peaceful resolution. The angry human in me wants to scream “Shut the hell up and go away!” and the mother in me is feeling guilt that I can’t fix their problems quickly enough to make sure no one is feeling pain. Especially me. Its so painful- and annoying-and maddening.

So as I stare at them- wondering who will come out of me, I page Super Mom, the combo of the three. Super Mom, the voice that shows respect, but the words that come out sensible and loving. She exudes wisdom and insight they can not deny or debate.  She speaks in matter of fact tones and does not raise her voice, but lowers it to show the seriousness and validity of the words. And when they attempt to interrupt, she quiets them in her, “No, you are here to listen and accept the help you’ve asked for” tone. Damn, that Super Mom is good.

And then I hear her clear her throat to begin…

“Seriously, how many times do I have to tell you to keep your hands and feet to yourself? I am NOT your referee. Figure it out. Until then, go to your rooms and leave me alone!!” she barks.

Hmmm…Super Mom? Sorry, she’s not available. She lost her patience at “Mommmm”. Please leave a message at the beep.

In reality, I am here to be their referee, their cheerleader and coach. I am here to be their counselor and their emotional punching bag, often at the same time. I am also here to tell them exactly what doesn’t work for them and offer suggestions for what does- even when they don’t ask for it.

If the expectation is to be Jack of All Trades- and it is- I will do it to the best of my ability, but they may not always like my ability, my humanness, my limits, but that is what I am able to offer. I am Super Mom, in her truest form.

Even when all else is flowing beautifully in my life, my role of mother keeps me grounded and rooted in reality. The reality that life is awesome, but there are moments of frustration and anger, of sadness and worry and setbacks. Lots of setbacks. But even within those setbacks comes opportunity to regroup and rebuild and understand the various parts of myself.  The calm, the loving and the imperfect.

And that Super Mom, is where it’s at.

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What Would Jeannie Do?

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What Would Jeannie Do?

Growing up I never imagined myself with children. I saw myself living in a high rise penthouse apartment in New York City using my expert arguing skills working as a lawyer and making tons of money while I waltzed through life with no responsibilities other than myself and whatever whim I had at the moment.  That dream changed when I fell in love for the first time.  I no longer saw my future as alone and independent, but with a companion to keep me company on my journey towards whatever dreams I’d conjure up next.  But still, no children in my future. I didn’t think I had it in me. No mothering instincts to speak of, no draw towards children, no inkling to take on any additional responsibility I didn’t know how to manage.

I remember the ride home from my mother in law’s house the day I invited in the idea of having a baby. I had just met a beautiful premie and held her in my arms gently and wondered what it would be like to hold my own. But I was terrified. I was clueless.  I had no idea how to be a mother.  I didn’t even feel comfortable around babies.  But being who I am, I made up my mind and was pregnant with my baby girl very shortly after that day. I spent my pregnancy listening to advice, reading books and then putting them down when it became overwhelming. I studied the mothers around me and watched what they did as though they carried the secrets of the universe in their interaction with their children. I prayed I’d figure it out. I did not want to screw it up.

I looked for models of what I wanted to be everywhere I went. I took memory shots of experiences I wanted to have and listened for words I wanted to use with my own child. I studied the behaviors of children I worked with and kept a mental journal of characteristics I hoped for in my own child and what I hoped I could steer them from.  I grieved the absence of my own mother and felt the void of experience I’d never learned from her. But I knew, somewhere, I’d find a match for me of who I wanted to learn from.

In retrospect, I couldn’t have been any luckier to have met my teacher.  Not only did she parent exactly the way I thought I’d want to, but she was beautiful, incredibly smart, insanely funny and had a heart like I had never seen. In so many ways, I wanted to be her. I loved the way she talked about her kids, the way she challenged herself regularly and her views on life nearly matched mine perfectly.  Being in her presence was calming, rejuvenating and inspiring. There was never a doubt that she was The One.

I feel so fortunate that her kids are a few years older and I have been able to watch her navigate through the trials of parenting at every stage up through high school graduation so far.  I have seen her dip into doubt and frustration and bounce back with an understanding that she is doing the best she can at every stage and that no “mistake” can ever overshadow the good that is consistent and true for their family.  I have seen her humanness and struggle in deciding what’s “right” and then make decisions she never thought she would. I have seen her build a suit of armor to protect her children and then take away the shield when she thought they could use the reality check of a quick jab, just enough to hurt, but not enough to harm.  And in case I ever needed proof to see if her “tactics” were effective, I have had the luxury of watching her children grow into amazing human beings I feel proud to know and simply like to be around.

I can not count how many times in the past 10 years of my parenting life that I have asked myself “What would Jeannie do?”  And each time, my inner Jeannie gives brilliant advice whether she knows it or not.

It will never stop amazing me how many incredible teachers we have in our lives when we ask for them.  When we step back and look at who influences us, who inspires and helps us develop into who we’ve always wanted to be, there is such a sense of gratitude and awe that accompanies that knowledge.  I can think of nothing better.

I hope to be half the teacher for others that Jeannie has been for me. In this month of thankfulness and gratitude, I give thanks to all my teachers that have helped guide me along the way, with special appreciation for my parenting guru and her parents who influenced her the way she influenced me.

Who is your parenting model who influences you the most…and when is the last time you thanked them?

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Taking Our Life Back

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Taking Our Life Back

It’s time to take back your life.  Yes, I’m talking to you.  You know the life you always talk about? The one with the free time? The one where you see your friends, read a book, take a bath, journal, go for a walk, drink coffee in quiet.  It’s your life I’m talking about…and mine.

We are in this together, this life of ours.  We cry at the same movies, watch the same news reports, empathize with those in pain and laugh at the same jokes.  Maybe our level of acceptable is different, but humor is humor and pain is pain, no matter the degree.

I know it’s time for you to take back your life because it’s time for me to take back mine.  And of course, we’re all connected, so I know you are feeling the strains and aches and pains and heartache and joy and peace.  Maybe we feel them at different times, but we still feel them. All of us…every single one.

But today, you take our life back.  Today you will make a list of what its’ going to take. On that list will include making a date with a friend.  On that list will be drawing up your vision of your dream vacation. On that list will be exactly when you plan the time and day you will sit alone for 10 minutes and drink that coffee, tea, or chocolate milk by yourself in silence and breathe this week.

On that list, you will come up with the ideal job where someone pays you to do what you love.  On that list, you will write the names of all the people you want to thank for making your life special and filled with joy. On that list you will add one dream you can’t let go of and why. And on that list you will tell your significant other just what that dream is…and if your significant other is currently you, tell yourself.

If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for me. But today is the day. Its Go time.

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5 Ways To Teach Our Kids How to Use Their Voice

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5 Ways To Teach Our Kids How to Use Their Voice

Remember the last time you walked away from an interaction with someone where you didn’t respond with what you were really thinking?  The one where you had 27 brilliant rebuttals or hard core responses you wish you said, but clammed up out of fear of how your words would be received and what repercussions there might be for speaking your truth. Of course you do, we’ve all been there.

And then we tell our kids to “Use Your Words” when they hit or are verbally aggressive at times and overreact because they don’t know how to communicate their emotions in calm, rational ways that get their point across respectfully. Its not a double standard. Oh wait, yes it is. (I can not apologize for the sarcasm, its how I speak my truth)

Yet, we want our children to speak for themselves and learn the value of self advocacy. In my professional view, its one of those life skills that not only helps you in ANY career you choose, but also in any relationship or friendship or interaction with another human being…and occasionally pets. (I am 99% sure they understand everything we say). But I am not kidding, its that important.

Learning to speak your truth and use your voice could not be any more valuable.  Shoving down your emotions starts with a disagreement with your parent or your friend or your sibling or your teacher or the kid bullying you at school and ends with stifled interaction and communication with your boss or your colleague or your spouse and a self esteem that feels it can not get out of its own way. It becomes a patterned behavior and response when we fear that if we speak our truth we will not be supported or worse off, rejected. And most of the time we play out the scenarios in our head and fear the worst without ever having lived it. We reject ourselves before we are rejected and silence ourselves without ever hearing the sound of our voice.

So how can we stop that pattern with our children?

1- Help them to identify what they want as an end result.  How do they want to feel at the end of the conversation?  What is the intent? Its important to know what they want to feel so they will be able to tell when they have met their goal and end the conversation and embrace the success.

2-Give them the words to use.  Do a mock conversation with whomever they feel they need to speak to. Help them play it out to make the unknown a known and they can feel prepared.  All those “I wish I said this” can be played out in advance to give them a better shot at saying them.

3-Reframe any negativity. If the conversation feels remotely confrontational (and most people avoid confrontation), help them see it as a positive more so than a negative.  For example, if they have to speak to someone who they feel is treating them unfairly, explain to them that by speaking up they are teaching that person how their actions and words affect other people, something they may not know, and in turn will help them rethink how they speak to other people, thus protecting future “victims.”  Annnnd they will feel awesome once they say what’s on their mind.

4-Help them see any fear around it as simply a thought, not a reality.  There is no real way to know how a conversation/interaction is going to go without assuming….and we all know what assuming does.

But more typically, the anticipation is far, far worse than the actual event.  Help them play out the worst case scenario so they can see that nothing is truly too life altering if it doesn’t go the way they’d like.

5- Tell them stories of situations in your own life that they can relate to so they see that they are not alone and that life goes on.  Its so helpful for all of us to speak to someone who we feel gets us and our fears when we are having them and when its the strong parent you look up to, even more so.  Sometimes the most comfort comes when we hear survivor stories of those who’ve been in similar shoes.

The  hardest part for some parents will be to not do it for their children.  When our protective instincts come out, we pump up our chests and want to fix it for them with our experience, but allowing them to do it on their own actually is a far more empowering opportunity for growth.  And isn’t allowing them to grow the best way to advocate for them? I vote yes.

And if you are wondering if they are old enough to handle it on their own? If they can speak up to you and use their voice, then they are old enough to handle it on their own.

Wanna hear the super bonus of all? The more you teach them and encourage them to use their voice, the more confident and comfortable you feel doing the same in your own life. Two lessons in one. What’s better than that?

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12 Simple Lessons Every Pre Teen Girl Needs To Know

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12 Simple Lessons Every Pre Teen Girl Needs To Know

Remember high school girl drama?  You know, “I heard you were talking about me.”  “No I wasn’t.” “Then why did Betsy say you called me a slut?” “Maybe because Betsy told me you were talking about ME and YOU called ME a slut.”

Okay, there aren’t many Betsy’s in high school anymore, but for real, they still talk like that. It’s BEYOND painful. Be-yond. And they mean it…and Betsy really did tell her she called her a slut, to both parties, I’m sure of it.

Girl drama drives me nuts and yet a I have a bizarre love for teenagers. I find great joy in working with them because they are just hitting the cusp of adulthood. They are still listening even when they are pretending they are not. They want your opinions and approval even though they won’t ask for it, and the best part…I am not their mother, which means I can say whatever I want without fear of them not loving me and causing long term damage to both of us. But honestly, they are just simply kids, trying to figure it out and needing a little bit of help…or A LOT of help along the way.  As they sort out how they feel, what they think they should feel and what they think they shouldn’t, they get sidetracked on where they stand. As parents and adults who care about them, our role is to redirect and help them navigate which way feels best for them. This can be a challenge, because lets be honest, they can be stereotypically stubborn and extremely annoying. Extremely. But work we must, to assist them to the finish line of adulthood, without tearing out every last one of our pre gray hairs.

Listening to teenage girls hash out their differences can be exhausting. Often, I find myself walking away with a tension headache and a realization of the intense fear I have of my own pre teen daughter growing into adolescence.  I may have even said a few silent prayers to the Universe asking that my daughter be spared of raging hormones, latent insecurity and a need to be liked by anyone other than herself.

And like an Irish prayer (because my daughter is Irish and I think I am–even though its only true on St. Patrick’s Day) I pass on my wishes and lessons to the pre teen girl, as she works her way into blooming adolescence…

At the dawn of transition, may you find the truth in these lessons:

May you notice that for every one person you think doesn’t like you, there are 25 more who are so thankful to have you in their life.

May you learn that when your heart feels broken, that feeling of sadness will only be two blinks worth of time in your life span.

May you recognize that everyone has an ounce of pain in their life, if not more. When you think you understand them, ask again, they may only show you what they want you to see.

May you have an understanding that you are NEVER in control of what other people say and do. You can manipulate those who will buy into it, but they still call the shots as to how they will respond.

May you taste the words that are sweet and the words that are bitter as they come out of your mouth, so you know which ones feel better to use.

May you realize that your brain is by far the most attractive thing about you, because when you use it openly, suitors will follow you around and recognize you as the Goddess you are.

May you always know the difference between the story to share and the story to keep to yourself.  In the world of friendship, it is the sacred keeper of the stories that holds the key to real trust.

May you see that relationships are more about how you see yourself than how others see you.  When you see the beauty in yourself, truly see it, it won’t matter who sees it as clearly as you.

May you remember that the love you give out will always be the love you get back, but the way you define love may fluctuate.

May you experience that every ending is simply the beginning of something else to learn.

May you discover that the only limitations in life are the ones you create.

And may you always know that the earth will continue to rotate, the stars will continue to twinkle and the sun will continue to rise each day, whether we choose to see it or not. But when we choose to see it, life is so much more fun.

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