Monday, March 26, 2012


Once again, I get to share about how fortunate I was to be raised learning that “Mistakes are Wonderful Opportunities to Learn.”

Throughout my childhood we always celebrated our mistakes. (At the time, I thought that’s what everyone did). My parents taught me that life is about learning lessons and when we make mistakes, we can either learn from them or continue to make the same mistakes until we do finally learn.  I think we can all relate to a painful mistake that we’ve made in our life, which usually ends up being the most valuable opportunity to learn. It wasn’t until I moved out and went to college that I experienced how often people don’t like to admit that they’re wrong, imperfect, or that they made a mistake.

As a mother of two young boys, I have the opportunity to make mistakes sometimes daily. Even though I am a practicing Positive Discipline Mother, I am still a human being that “flips my lid.” Luckily I have kids that are truly forgiving and have no problem accepting me while I continue to learn and grow with me every time I make mistakes.

Every night when I tuck my boys into bed, we end our day with our happiest, saddest, and mistakes. We each share out happiest part of our day, our saddest part of our day, and finally, what mistakes did we make today? Then we go on to say what we learned from them. What an advantage to learn from each other and continue the ongoing message of unconditional love and support.

As a parent, I feel grateful to be able to celebrate being imperfect and role modeling for my children that its okay to be who they aremistakes and all.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


There's a difference between "jobs" and chores. In our house "jobs" have become something that the boys have more or less volunteered to do with enthusiasm and then as a result it becomes their job.

A few examples include:

  • Greyson helping Reid in and out of his car seat. 
  • Cracking the eggs and then stirring the pancake mix. (They take turns)
  • Putting the laundry detergent in the washing machine. 
  • Washing each other’s hair. 
  • Draining the bathtub water while the other puts all bath toys in bucket. 
  • Opening the doors, i.e., the car, buildings, garage, and especially any door for ladies. 
  • Making sure all lights are turned off.

These jobs are fun for my boys, and it helps them feel capable and to identify different parts of their role in our family.

As I mentioned in my chore blog. I have fond memories of brainstorming creative ideas with my brother with different ways to decide who and what chores we did. I especially appreciated this tool with my first college roommates. Most of them weren't use to participating in chores and it was beginning to create resentment between the ones that did and those who didn't. When we had our family/roommate meeting we agreed to create a chore wheel. This wheel was created with two paper plates. The smaller plate had our names on it and the larger plate had the basic weekly chores. Every week the wheel was rotated. It was fair and an idea that we all agreed on and were excited to participate in. By having these job descriptions it created peace and cooperation as well as satisfaction with our clean house and appreciation for each other.

I recently confronted a friend that was still doing her teenagers laundry. Her defense was that she was a stay-at-home mom and that it was her "job." I quickly responded with, "It's your job to help teach your children how to be capable, self-reliant and independent." I went on to explain that she shouldn't be doing anything for them that they could do for themselves.

Most adults have jobs whether they are paid for them or not. And a lot of us are identified through our jobs--it's what we do and therefore defines a lot of who we are. Don't we all wish that we had a job that we loved and that makes us feel good about ourselves. I've always remembered the saying, "Do what you love and the money will follow." Hopefully with a tool card of "jobs" we can teach our children that their job is to do something they love to do and that makes them feel proud, but that also makes them feel like they’re contributing. After all isn't that what we all want—to have a job that we love and are proud of, but that also makes us feel like we're contributing? Giving and allowing our children to have jobs now will instill in them the pride of accomplishment that will serve them throughout their lives.

She continued to be defensive by saying that "they're good kids and that they're busy with sports and homework."  But the whole reason this conversation was brought up was because she was complaining about how busy she was and how overwhelmed she felt.

I then went on to say that they’d continue to be busy throughout their lives, so why not teach them the skills they need now. I told her how I experienced the helplessness and laziness that goes with kids, like my roommates, who have their parents doing everything for them.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Validate Feelings

The validating feelings tool card provided daily, if not hourly, opportunities for me to practice this skill with my two boys. It wasn't until this week that I made the extra effort to come up with new ways to say, "you're so mad," "you didn't like that," or " I can see how that really hurt your feelings," and finally, "I can see that you're really upset, let me know when you're ready for a hug or to try again."

Another approach that I use to piggy-back on this tool is to validate my child's feelings followed by a story of how I can relate to them because of something that happened to me when I was a little girl. My oldest son, Greyson, loves when I tell him stories about when I was growing up. And when your children feel like you can relate to them, it's another form of validating feelings at a deeper level.

I also realized that when all I do is simply validate my children's feelings—it prevents me from feeling like I need to "fix" or problem solve; rather than simply just letting them have their feelings. I know that I "feel" validated when my friends or husband say, "I can relate to what you're saying and therefore I completely understand how you feel." Even if that doesn’t solve the problem, it helps me feel better to hear them say they can understand.

My mom taught me a valuable lesson when my son was 18-months old and was just starting daycare. It was so difficult and painful for me to leave my son there crying and pleading for me to stay or begging me to take him with me—absolutely heartbreaking! I called my mom from the parking lot crying and feeling like the worst mother ever.

My Mom reassured me that every emotion and feeling that Greyson was having was "normal," and "developmentally appropriate." We had been very careful to find a good child development center at San Diego State University. Mom went on to say that "developing his disappointment muscles" was a very important part of his development and growing up. I instantly felt better. As a Mother, all I want for my kids is for them to be happy and healthy, but it wasn't until she described his disappointment as a strength that I also realized how important it was to have him strong—even if it meant he was temporarily unhappy. I have to say that both my sons have developed more self-confidence and capability because of their time away from me 3 days a week than they might have without this experience.

Once again, I was reminded how much more effective it is to problem solve when my children weren't "feeling" upset. We were able to search for solutions once they had calmed down. As we all already know, or for those of us who are still learning, “Children Do Better When They Feel Better.” Often times, simply validating their feelings, helps them calm down.