It’s March and it’s time for the mid-year school check up. Or, is it a check in? Certainly, it is NOT a check out! It could be a check with or a check about… No matter how you want to name it, March is an excellent time to see how things are going, make adjustments, and make plans for the remainder of the school year.
Suggestions for doing this well, peacefully, and with your teen’s cooperation:
- Contact Teachers. If it is not near the time for an end of a quarter when you’ll be receiving an official report card, contact your child’s teachers for an updated social and academic progress. How best to obtain your child’s teachers’ attentions is thoroughly explained in Chapter 11 titled “Parent Communication” in my book, Creating and Managing for Wonderful, Awesome, Successful, and Thrilling Middle School Experiences, but for now in this blog I’ll just state the best way to obtain the teachers’ attentions is by email.
- Gather All The Information. Use many points of information non-judgmentally, from an observer’s point of view, to have a co-creative conversation planned ahead of time – meaning, it’s on the family calendar and not sprung on your child, to co-creatively create solutions for a better, smoother, easier, more cooperative, and more pleasant slide into the summer months from this point forward. These points of information can include, but are not limited to: the updated social and academic progress report from your child’s teachers, a list of what happens in your child’s daily routine, a list of what happens in your child’s weekly routine, a mental check in (on a scale of 1-10, how do you feel you are handling all the elements of your life?), an emotional check in (how to do you feel about these things?), a check in with your child’s sports, or extracurricular coaches/leaders…in other words, it’s a thorough check in you’re doing with your child. Gather all the information from all parts of your teen’s life.
- Begin Co-Creatively. How you do this conversation will directly affect the rest of your conversations with your child. If this one goes poorly, confrontationally, or negatively, your teen will not ever want to have another conversation with you again. So, with any topic, you always have options with how this conversation goes/occurs/unfurls. Assuming you enjoy peaceful conversations and want to always have open, pleasant conversation with your child, begin stating these things such as, “I love you more than you’ll ever know or understand until you’re a parent. This is a co-creative conversation meaning you and I have equal say and input. I value how you see things from your perspective, and I am most interested in hearing what you have to say. We are on the same team. I’m excited about creating solutions with you because you know our family lives in The Land of Possibility.”
- Create Two Lists. From an observer’s point of view only, unemotionally, and non-judgmentally, discuss what is going well. List each and every item. Hopefully, this list will be super long! What’s a challenge? List each and every item. This is the list that will be the focus for solutions.
- Create a L O N G list of solutions. This is the fun part! Living in The Land of Possibility IS fun! List all the possibilities without judgement. Just list ’em! Listing ideas doesn’t mean they’re going to happen. It means you and your child are going to dive deep into possibilities. It means you and your child are going to dwell, bask, soak, stay, lounge, loll, and enjoy the positive energy that comes from listing possibilities. This is super important! Have fun! Keep this list because it is so empowering. Add more to it in the days, months, years to come.
- Decide what will create a win-win outcome. This is when your longer human experience than your child’s human experience comes into play. You can guide your child to the possible solutions that are reasonable and doable, will create a win-win solution, and will have long-lasting positive effect. Guiding here is optimal. Allow your child to feel he or she is picking the solutions… that you agree with. The ownership with the solutions will serve you, your child, and your family well. If your child picks the solution instead of you telling which ones will work best, your child has ownership. There is a MUCH higher chance of success if your child feels he or she is selecting from the options. My daughter tells me now that she always knew she had choice and options and felt I allowed her to make her own decisions, but realizes that I was always right there guiding her. This is empowered parenting! This is co-creative parenting at its best!
- Reiterate options. So that you can always have these conversations in the future for any subject, repeat, repeat, repeat that you are on the same team, that you always have option with everything, and that your family lives in The Land of Possibility all the time.
Enjoy the benefits of this type of parenting. Relish in it. Pat yourself on the back. Say out loud, “I’m am awesome parent! I love being a parent! Parenting is fun!” Enjoy!
As a former teacher, I can honestly say that I learned much from my students about life. They were excellent “teachers” to me about life.
Does it matter the direction of the learning? Nope. Does it matter who is the teacher and who is the student when it comes to learning about life? Nope. Is it best when the role of teacher is an easy back and forth swing? Yes. Does the role of teacher mean “the one in charge?” Nope.
As a parent, I have learned a great deal from my daughter and am better for it. There is an inter-wisdom-sharing mechanism between us. It is valued, safe, and beneficial. My honoring her Wisdom led to confidence within herself. She understood and understands today that her Wisdom is reliable to accurately guide her for her life path.
This is positive not only when life is going along smoothly, but also when life is full of those bumps in the road. When trauma, difficulty, or adversity strikes a person’s life, it is imperative that positive support be available…no matter how old the person is, and no matter where it comes from.
Just as children need to experience positive relationships, so do adults. Children being able to share their wisdom with others is important. I believe we all come forth into these bodies to have life experiences with internal Wisdom with a capital W. Wisdom that, if it is honored, discussed, and respected, can come from a variety of sources that isn’t age-specific.
Listen…really listen…and learn. Allow this to be an easy back and forth swing. Install your own inter-wisdom-sharing mechanism into your relationships and be better for it.
It’s January…a new year. Time to go for those new year’s resolutions. When having a quiet time today, I asked Source what was the best way for me to lose weight and gain body balance. The response? My thoughts.
Hmmmmmmm….seems like a pretty easy weight loss program! Then I got more information. Since thoughts create reality, my thoughts are the #1 tool to gaining body balance. “Mindful eating” came to me as well as “mindful non-eating.” That means be mindful when eating as well as when I’m not eating because the moments before eating are just as important as those when I am having breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Ah ha! It made sense and I loved the simplicity. Mindful exercise and mindful non-exercise. Mindful water drinking and mindful non-drinking. So it’s mindfulness all the time. It means keeping my thoughts positive toward the weight loss process which includes patience, patience, patience.
Of course, this can be applied to parenting: mindful all the time of our thoughts regarding our children, their progress, their life stages, their annoyances, their struggles, their successes, and so forth.
If mindfulness seems to be a daunting task, it’s worth giving it a try. Just setting the intention to be aware of your thoughts will bring about awareness if your thoughts are for you, for your children, and for your life or if they’re working against you.
Now, that’s empowerment! Because being aware is always the first step in being an empowered parent. Now you can choose your thoughts. You can shift from “I’m so glad my child is the smartest math child in her class,” to “I’m so glad my child is succeeding in math with such an awesome teacher.” Or shift from, “I’m pissed that John didn’t make his bed this morning,” to “I’m going to discuss tonight our options with the bed making routine.”
Living mindfully all the time, or as much as we can, empowers us 100% of the time we use this life skill. It provides opportunity to evaluate our thoughts to see if they’re working for us or not, and to change them. So much better than just living our lives with random thoughts creating our realities and then wondering why some beneficial and some not-so beneficial events happen in our lives. Mindfulness is quite empowering!