Screen Addiction

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Screen addiction is real. It’s affecting our kids and family dynamics. Several of my clients tell me they are struggling with it. They feel a tremendous amount of pressure to answer texts right away and to keep up with what’s happening on Snapchat, Instagram and other social media. Believe it or not, a few of them are actually relieved their parents have restricted their phone use.

When parents set limits, or even take it away altogether, it gives them an “out.”  This is a great first step in helping kids learn to set their own boundaries. I’m helping one client in particular (14 year old)  figure out how he will manage being inundated with texts and constant communication when he gets his phone back. He is admittedly much happier without his phone, but he realizes that it would be difficult to not have it all together. Now  he’s ready to set some boundaries, so he can feel less stressed and more happy. Talk about feeling empowered!

It’s safe to say, you’ll probably get some resistance at first if you restrict your teen’s screen time, but you might be pleasantly surprised by  his adjustment to the new structure. You’ll probably notice a better mood and dare I say, possibly even an admission that he is actually happier?? Well…. let’s not get crazy. I do think your child will be happier, but him admitting it… might be a long shot.

There’s some good info in THIS ARTICLE, along with some suggestions on how to limit screen time and set a good example for our kids. Yep… YOU might need to make a few changes too. I have some work to do in that department as well.

~Heather

 

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Dallas, TX ~Here I come!

I’m thrilled to announce that I have been invited to speak at the inaugural Festival of Positive Education in Dallas, TX this summer! It’s a three-day evenimagest for educators, academics, policymakers and parents who seek to help create a new kind of education that promotes both academic achievement and character development. Click here to learn more about IPEN, or to register for this exciting event.

An article in the April issue of  Live Happy Magazine says,”IPEN Is built on a foundation of evidence that shows how developing students’ character strengths and well-being are as important as academic achievement to their future success and happiness… There is substantial evidence that students can be taught good character, positive emotion, engagement and meaning in such a way that supports and amplifies their academic studies. Implementing positive education in the schools can give young people the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in a changing world.”

I’m honored to be invited to join in this global discussion and the opportunity to connect with incredible speakers who are at the forefront of positive education. Most of all, I’m thrilled to join forces with others, who are making a difference by acknowledging and educating policymakers, parents, and educators that in order for our children to be academically successful we must also nurture character growth and EQ (emotional intelligence.)

~Heather

 

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“Grateful for You, Your Seminar and Your Insight.” A Letter that Touched my Heart.

th-2I’m sharing something dear to my heart. I treasure this letter of gratitude from a local mom, who attended a free parent presentation I hosted last September. Her letter is beautiful, authentic and vulnerable. Months ago, I asked her permission to share it and she graciously agreed. I’ve been sitting on it a long time, mostly because I didn’t want to come across as boastful. But as I prepare to host the same free presentation next week, I feel compelled to share it because I’m reminded that we ALL struggle, and most of us beat ourselves up for not doing enough… myself included, but most importantly, we moms (and dads) are doing the best we can. Thank you, thank you to the author of this letter. Your words encourage me to keep doing what I’m doing. ~Heather

Heather,

Thank you so much for your parenting seminar last night. I appreciate you taking time away from your family and yourself to help other moms!!! I admit I was skeptical it would be nothing more than a sales pitch but figured “why not?”  Jupiter is a small community and your reputation precedes you so I knew it would be fun and upbeat if nothing else. And maybe I’d meet some new moms. You delivered. It was funny and compelling. But it also made me realize that I need to learn to speak in such a way my kids can hear me. My children and I have been through hell and back together so we are extremely close and very open and honest with each other – likely to our detriment at times – so I’ve never thought communication is or would be an issue. That is until you spoke about the phrase, “just do your best.” I use that phrase ALL the time. It never, not once, occurred to me that my kids might hear it differently than intended. Particularly since they are aware that I believe in learning, exploring and cultivating passions more than I care about opinions, test scores or awards. Your statement resonated with me. Last night during our ritual “talk time”, I asked my son what he heard when I said “just do your best.” His response, “do it perfectly.” I tried to hide my tears but at 10 he doesn’t miss a beat. It opened a beautiful dialog. I then asked my daughter during her bedtime “talk time.” Her response, “each time has to be better than the last.” More tears. Needless to say everyone went to bed a little later than normal.

I was simultaneously speechless, heartbroken and very grateful. Speechless that two very different children heard something entirely different than intended and yet they both heard the same thing. Heartbroken that I’ve spent years cultivating a home where the children feel loved and accepted regardless of their choices, mistakes or accomplishments. A place where they are encouraged to experiment so they can find their own paths and passions. A place where mistakes are celebrated because it means you are really living, not just existing. And all that work has been undermined by a stupid phrase that I’ve used for 10 years before every test, every big event and every sporting event or activity. In my effort to calm them, I was inadvertently sitting them in a self made pressure cooker. Grateful for you, your seminar and your insight. Grateful you’d be willing to help build other moms up when we’ve become a “pounce” society racing to tear one another down in ill attempt to justify our own actions and make ourselves feel better.

Today our family is working on developing a new phrase to use with one another to show encouragement, love and support. It is tough. We are struggling to find the right way to convey this message in seven words or less. Breakfast didn’t yield results. Hopefully dinner will 🙂

Mostly I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart and tell you the impact you had on our little family. You are making such a positive difference in Jupiter, thank you!!!

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The Power of Perspective

IMG_4174Don’t you wish your kids could wrap their heads around Captain Jack’s wise words and understand that they actually do possess the power to improve the outcome of whatever it is that’s challenging them? It’s really just a matter of perspective. Easier said than done, believe me, I know! It’s MUCH easier for me to help other people’s children with perspective than it is to help my own. After all, to my kids, I’m just Mom. What do I know? All they hear is “you have a bad attitude.” Mind you, that’s not at all the message I’m trying to send, but it is the message they hear, loud and clear. A communication tip for you: When relaying Captain Jack Sparrow’s wise words, do not use the word attitude. The desperate helpful message you’re trying to send will NOT be received. Unfortunately for me, my own kids can sometimes see right through my carefully crafted word choices. They know I work with kids for living, so they’re often super skeptical of my angles, but that’s my problem, not yours!

Lucky for me, working with other peoples’ kids is much easier! Often, I’m telling kids the very same things their parents have been telling them for what seems like forever. Coming from me though, it’s sounds…different…better…doable. It sounds that way mostly because, I’m not mom. One of my favorite tools/strategies is to to help kids understand the power of perspective. I don’t sugar coat it and tell them it’s easy to look at the glass as half full, or that they have to just look for the silver lining and they’ll find it. Kids feel frustrated when life is hard and they can’t find any good in a difficult situation. I help them accept that It’s not always easy and it almost always takes mindful intention to see things in a new light, but in the end, there are benefits for them. Kids need to know “What’s in it for me?” It’s natural and developmentally appropriate for kids to want to know. You’d be surprised at how motivating it can be for a kid when she realizes this is something she can actually control. Because, let’s be honest, kids don’t have control over much, do they? She will feel empowered and ready to start making some positive attitude perspective changes.

So first, when talking to your kids about their attitude, don’t use the word attitude! The minute that word comes out of your mouth, you’ll lose them. Second, be honest with them about the fact that it is hard work. They need to know it’s okay if it takes some time to shift their perspective. And third, help them figure out what’s in it for them. It’s a lot easier when your kid is “on board” about their “attitude.” Finally, if those things don’t work, call me because, well…I’m not mom.

~Heather

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It’s Not About the Shoes

the-hundreds-footwear-shoes-sneakers-11On the 4th day of school, one of my kids, who usually doesn’t tell me much of what goes on at school, shared something with me. We were sitting down to one of those perfect “family” dinners, where everyone talks about their day, a slapped together meal of grilled cheese sandwiches and watermelon, because I forgot to start the crockpot that morning, dinners. He shared with me that a 6th grader was already being picked on in class because of his shoes. I’m not going to go into details, but my heart broke for that kid.

I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to tell the mom of the bully that her kid is being a jerk. After all, I would certainly want to know if it were my kid. So for the record, I DO want to know if you see my kids doing something they shouldn’t. My poor kids don’t have a chance, LOL! Since I was a teacher in our community for many years, there are lots of eyes out there, that know exactly who they are. I don’t feel bad for them though, it takes a village, after all, right? This incident reminded me of a blog post I just read a few days ago. I bookmarked it because I wanted to mention it here at some point down the road. Little did I know it would be just days, and I’d be inspired to write this post. You can read the original post here: https://www.scarymommy.com/if-my-kid-is-being-an-asshole-tell-me/.

I took the opportunity to talk to my kid(s) about what they could do in a situation like this to help the kid being picked on. I do believe we, as parents can make a positive change with the bullying problems of today. I believe it would be valuable and possibly even more effective, if kids could resolve their own problems. Of course, it’s terrifying for most kids to stand up to a bully whether for themselves or for someone else, but just by planting the seed that they have the ability to make positive change, it gets kids thinking about the power they possess and as time goes on, they may have a little more courage to stand up to a bully. For the kid doing the standing up, he or she will gain confidence. More importantly, for the the victim, having another kid stand up for him, or even just saying a few encouraging words, could be LIFE CHANGING.

One of the most important values I try to instill in my own children and in my clients is that KINDNESS MATTERS. One kind word or act, one smile, can change someones day or even their life. If you have a middle schooler, they are most likely self absorbed and overly dramatic. Getting them to smile might feel like a monumental task. That’s okay! Those are normal character traits for middle schoolers. They are dealing with crazy hormones and an identity crisis all at the same time. But if we practice kindness and encourage our kids to do the same, this world will be a better place for us all.

Going back to the original story about the kid being picked on for his shoes, the shoes he probably liked, and now feels like a loser because some other kid who’s probably unhappy with his own life, but has cool shoes shoes like everyone else, decided to make him miserable… There is a silver lining. A few days later, another kid brought a pair of his shoes to school to give to the kid who was being picked on. Kuddos to that kid and his parents! Kindness matters. A little goes a long way, and he’s is making a positive difference! By the way, if you know who that kid is, please let me know, I have a little something for him.

Long story short, it takes a village to raise kids. If you’re a parent who wants to know if your kid is being an a&$_ _ _ _, like that article said, tell your friends. They need to know, so they are comfortable telling you. But more importantly, if you plant seeds to help your kids to be more kind and understanding, they will have the power to change lives and you will have less of a chance of hearing from your friends that your kid was being a jerk. If your kid is a jerk from time to time, that’s normal too. Just be sure to take the opportunity to really listen to what’s going on, because chances are… it’s not about the shoes.

~Heather

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I’m Optimistic! What’s Your Superpower?

IMG_4084Rewind to December 2014. Life Coach for Kids was only 9 months old and was I was in full swing doing individual coaching sessions with kids and public speaking engagements for parents. I had grand plans to start my blog and offer a fantastic group coaching opportunity for parents of middle schoolers.(Coming soon, by the way.) From the very beginning, I had faith that I was offering a much needed service and that I’d be a happy and successful Life Coach for Kids within a year. I have to say though, It happened faster than I could have ever dreamed! Then, on December 22nd…things came to a screeching halt! My entire world would be turned upside down, and I had a decision to make. Do I lay down and cry, or stand up and fight?

By December of last year I was receiving calls and emails from parents all over the state of Florida wanting to know if I could work with their kids, and I was just one client way from having to put local kids, here, on a wait list. My head was spinning with new ideas for ways to reach out to even more kids and families. The momentum was both rewarding and exhilarating, yet overwhelming all at the same time. I had never felt to happy and fulfilled. I had truly found my passion and purpose.

Life was good! Big plans ahead! I was just about to embark on my happiest, most successful year yet! I had even declared so on Facebook! Hold on…..Wait….What? It’s three days before Christmas as I lie on the biopsy table, pretty sure about what the diagnosis would be. Please note… I am a ridiculously optimistic person, sometimes to the point of adorably annoyingly optimistic, but this time… I just knew. I said to the doctor, ”Don’t sugarcoat it. What do you see? I can take it.” I fully expected the words that followed, “It looks like invasive, inflammatory breast cancer,” she said. And there it was, even though the tissue had not yet been tested, It became very real. Now, I was pretty sure it was cancer when I found the lump about two weeks earlier, when I had a shooting pain, that sent my hand directly to my breast. (Insert a HUGE “thank you God” for bringing this to my attention.) I would soon learn that time was of the essence and 6 rounds of chemotherapy would start ASAP, followed by a bilateral mastectomy (my choice to do both breasts) and 34 rounds of radiation would be necessary. As the magnitude of the words…invasive…inflammatory…cancer…set in, I began to sob, while still on the table. This was the first and only time, throughout the entire ordeal, I cried tears of anything other than good tears. I know that sounds crazy, and as I write this, I’m on the other side. The all clear, CANCER FREE (yes, I’m yelling) side. I tell you this so it seems a little less crazy that I only cried happy good tears. I’ve never felt so loved and supported in my life. That’s a different story, though, so I’ll leave it at that for now.

Fast forward to today. I have some hair, and I had the little bit I do have, colored last week. I’m feeling almost fantastic, just minus the radiation burns on my boob, and tomorrow is my last radiation treatment! But more importantly for you… I’m finally getting my blog started!! Can I get a Whoop! Whoop!? I’ve had a bazillion (okay, not quite a bazillion) ideas for things I want to write about over the last few months, and I’m super excited to finally have the energy to do so! And since I know you must be on the edge of your seat wondering… did I lay down and cry, or stand up and fight? Well, you probably figured out, my decision from day one, (after I finished my initial sobbing session) was to stand up and fight. I now have more experience ( lucky me, ha!) with what it’s like to have  difficulties, disappointments and challenges. I looked at them as obstacles to overcome and opportunities for growth. I’m healthy, I’m happy, I’m back! I have a fresh perspective on life and the things that really matter. And…. I’m (still) optimistic! What’s your super power?

~Heather

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Who’s your BULLY?

Who’s your bully? Most of us have one. First, let’s define it according to Google. (Sophisticated, right?! Haha)

Bully~ (noun) a person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker.

Have you ever considered that your bully it might not be a person? Hmmm…. think about that for a minute. Is there something in your life that controls you, intimidates you, negatively affects your mood or family dynamic? Could be a lot of things, right? Once you identify your bully, you can begin to take back your power. You (and possibly your friends and family)  will be happier, more confident and better able to confront other bullies that come your way.  I’m not saying it’s going to be easy or happen overnight, but a new perspective is a great start.

Today I’m sharing a recent experience with a potential client that, initially, didn’t seem super productive. What I didn’t know at the time was… I had said something powerful. I planted a seed. And a new perspective was all that was necessary to help a young girl take back her power.

So here we go…

Early last month a mom contacted me about her 13 year old daughter who was having some body image issues. She would get really upset and cry for hours sometimes when the scale read a couple pounds heavier than she thought it should. Her mood and the family dynamic were often negatively impacted because of it, and sometimes plans even had to be canceled. I told the mom that I didn’t really have any experience (except maybe my own issues, LOL!) in helping kids with body image and that I’m not a therapist, but I’d be happy to talk to her daughter  (I’ll call her Sarah) to see if I could help.

We set up an appointment for a 30 minute consult the following week.  “Sarah” came to see me, not because she wanted help, but because her mom made her come. She was of average height and weight, and she had relatively healthy eating habits for a 13 year old girl. She wasn’t particularly open in talking about the situation, so I did most of the talking. After about 30 minutes we concluded and I went outside to talk to mom. I told her that “Sarah” didn’t seem open to working with me and I didn’t think mom should push it right now, because I didn’t feel it would be productive and/or worth her investment in coaching. I went on to tell her my hope was that I planted some seeds and maybe”Sarah” would come around and be ready to work with me in the near future. That was about 7 weeks ago and I never heard from mom again. I have thought of “Sarah” and her mom from time to time and hoped things were getting better.

Fast forward to this past Monday. I ran into mom and she had great news to share with me! She told me there was one thing in particular that I told “Sarah” that had a HUGE impact on her. I told her, “The scale is your BULLY. You are allowing a number to control your emotions and ruin your days.” Mom went on to say that she hasn’t gotten on the scale in weeks. She still gets bummed out if she’s overly bloated or if her clothes feel a little tight, but the meltdowns have stopped!

As a Life Coach for Kids, I couldn’t be happier! No, she’s not going to work with me. No, I didn’t make any money for the time I spent talking to “Sarah” and her mom. But what I did do…. I helped a kid be comfortable in her own skin. I helped a kid change her perspective and feel empowered to take control of part of her life. And I helped a mom worry less about her daughter, who she loves to the moon and back.

So… Who or what is your BULLY and how are you going to take your power back?

~Heather

 

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Cool Stuff for Kids Coming Soon!

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Welcome to Life Coach for Kids!

My passion is to help kids reach their full potential and happiness. In today’s plugged in, peer pressured, standardize tested, fast paced world, kids are faced with challenges, fears, and obstacles that can prevent them from reaching their full awesomeness.

If you think your child could be happier, more successful or just more relaxed, initiate a conversation with your child. You might see something that neither of you can quite put your finger on, or verbalize yet. That’s okay! I can help with that.

Coaching isn’t offering advice, or trying to “fix” something from the past. It’s questioning. Specific questioning that helps the client, in this case kids, figure out what their goals are and what’s preventing them from reaching their goal(s). Then we map out a plan to help him/her reach their goals.

Goals can be academic, social, personal, creative… the list goes on. I look forward to inspiring you to help your kids be even more awesome than they already are!

 

Heather

Posted in Parent 411