7 Simple Steps to Handle Any Parenting Situation

  1. Listen. Pause and listen to your child before springing into action or firing back a response. This means zipping your lip, biting your tongue, and accepting that a little parental silence can go a long way.
  2. Let your child know you “get it.” Validate your child by repeating back a bit of what he or she said, even if you disagree or know they’re completely off base! This will open your child’s ears so your great suggestions are actually heard.
  3. Be respectful. Talk to your child the same way you would to a friend or to someone else’s child. Use this rule of thumb: If, in the future, it wouldn’t be okay for your child’s significant other to say it, you shouldn’t say it either.
  4. Set limits and boundaries. Choose limits that you’re willing to keep based on the situation at hand, not what happened yesterday or last year. This teaches your child that limits and boundaries are flexible, necessary, and that he or she can handle them.
  5. Take responsibility. Own your successes and apologize for your mistakes. Give yourself a do-over if you need it. Know that genuinely apologizing to your child is one of the most powerful things you can do, and the best way to teach your child to be accountable.
  6. Have fun! When things get busy, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the routine and overlook the fact that your kids are fun. Don’t be afraid to stop the daily grind to laugh or get silly. Take time to notice the little things your child does or says that bring you joy.
  7. Practice self-care. Take great care of yourself so you can take great care of your kids. Know that even the best parenting plan or strategy won’t work well if you’re always exhausted or depleted. Make self-care a priority and do it unapologetically—your kids are counting on you!

By Stephanie O’Leary, Psy.D., Author of Parenting in the Real World

About the Author:

Stephanie O’Leary, Psy.D. is a Clinical Psychologist specializing in Neuropsychology, mom of two, and author of Parenting in the Real World. She provides parents with a no-nonsense approach to navigating the daily grind while preparing their child for the challenges they’ll face in the real world. www.stephanieoleary.com  


Leading through Effective Communication

by Eric Papp

ear-listenHow to Listen
“You’re not listening to me.” “You don’t understand.” There is a good chance you’ve heard one of these two lines before.

One of the best skills a leader can utilize is their ability to effectively listen and ask questions to their people.

While I was out speaking across the country I discovered something that changed me forever. It was a skill that I had but didn’t master it and utilize to my ability.

Once I started to put it into daily practice my audience evaluations went up along with my sales and I found myself as one of the top management trainers in the country.

What was it?

Well…after I graduated from Notre Dame I looked back on the lessons I learned and one of them came from a house keeper in O’Neill Hall. Her name was Ms. Leitha.

She taught me how to effectively listen.

Great leaders are those that have mastered the skill of listening not talking.

Here is a simple system for Increasing Influence and Effectiveness by becoming a better listener.

Step 1. Listen w/ liking. I have discovered that over 70% of all altercations (personal/professional) are due to some form of a communication mishap. And that is a direct result of poor listening or prejudging the person before they speak.

Miss Leitha listened to everyone and it didn’t matter if you were a popular football player, book worm or a socially shy person. She liked everyone and her listening demonstrated this.

When people came to my seminars I would mainly speak to the people that were friendly and that liked me. I focused just on them and neglected other audience members. If I liked you I would give you time and attention. Ever been guilty of it?

I quickly discovered that some people might not outwardly show their liking and you have to be open to all folks. When I put this into practice of not judging and doing my best effort to connect with everyone I saw an increase in my scores and sales.

What does listening with dislike look like for you?

  • Not fully listening to your co-workers because you don’t really care for them
  • Preaching to your children instead of listening
  • Listening with one ear to your boss because you dislike them

When you listen with liking you are opening up both ears and are not making any judgments before the conversation begins.

Step 2. Listen w/ your eyes. In our society filled with iPhones, Blackberries, and computer screens giving someone our eyes can be a forgetful habit.

Miss Leitha always made eye contact and reflected your feeling with her eyes. It was incredible it’s like her body language said, “I understand you.”

When I was doing seminars I would often multi-task when people came up and talked to me at the break and at the end of the day. Even though I could usually do both, I discovered that it was frustrating to the person who is talking.

When I made eye contact with a person they would open up to me more and we had a more meaningful conversation.

When talking to a small child you’ll often find they will open up a lot more when you are eye level. This way you don’t come off so tall and intimidating.

Ever try and tell your children something when they were in the next room? Do you find yourself having to repeat it? It can be frustrating because you’re not sure they understand you. Our eyes allow us to send a signal of confirmation.

Step 3. I’m not the focus. The next time you are listening to someone see if you can count how many times you say the word I.

When we listen we like to “advice dump” I would do this…, I went through the same thing, if I were you…

This is a great way to frustrate the other person by jumping into I mode without understanding them.

The act of really listening requires you take the focus off of you and put it on them. When people want our advice they will usually ask for it.

Un-solicited advice is like talking to someone in a language they don’t understand.

Even though Miss Leitha was full of wisdom and experience she always put the focus on who she was listening.

During my seminars I found myself referencing my own history rather than making it about them. I discovered I was more influential when I stopped advice dumping and just listened.

Step 4. Another Time. You’ll know you have started adapting world class listening when people come back another time. Your employees will keep coming back if you’ve done a great job at listening to them. This type of connection is key because not only do they enjoying talking to you there is also probably a high level of trust they place in you.

As I became a better listener I was amazed how much people opened up to me. During the breaks from the seminar I would have people share information with me that they wouldn’t tell their boss or other co-workers.

Miss Leitha was also one of those people that you came back for another time.

Start applying these ideas in your life and see how you will not only become a better listener but you will have a better relationship with those around you. Listening is only the first part of the equation. The second part is to start asking more questions.

How to ask questions that will make your child open up

Have you ever asked a question and gotten half an answer from someone? Or do you find yourself asking one or two questions then jumping into lecture mode?

A great way to get people to open up is to think of an onion. That’s right an onion. And no I’m talking about making them cry. An onion contains many layers before getting to the core of the matter. Think of every layer as a question that you ask that will help you to the core of every issue.
onion-asking questionsExample.
Your 16 yr. old son comes home from school and is upset. He tells his mom he wants to quit school.
Mom asks why? He responds, “I got a bad grade on my math test.”
Mom only uncovers one layer and then goes into lecture mode “You need to stay in school.” “Do you know how hard I work to support you?” “When I was your age…
What do you think the outcome will be?
Instead of going into lecture mode, or listening biographically and saying “I would do, When I was your age, I had a situation
Uncover the layers to get to the real meaning by asking questions and keeping your emotional intelligence (your cool)

Another way of handling the same situation with your son is to uncover the layers and asking these possible questions.

  1. What happened at school today triggered this reaction?
  2. So… you want to quit school because you got a bad math grade?
  3. How much did you prepare for the test?
  4. How did other people do on the test?
  5. What would you do differently next time?
  6. Is there anything else going on?

After you have asked all these questions you discover the real reason he wants to quit school wasn’t the math test at all. The real reason your son wants to quit school is so that he can get a job, start making money, and buy his first car to impress his friends.

You wouldn’t figure this out if you hadn’t kept asking questions.

Each question represents a layer of information leading you to the core. The core is the real reason.

Don’t be tempted to jump into lecture mode remember you’ll have a greater chance of communicating if you listen intently and keep asking questions. Good luck and start unpeeling those layers.

More helpful hints on communication can be found in the book “Leadership by Choice” Increasing Influence and Effectiveness through Self-Management. On Amazon.com.

About Eric Papp
Eric Papp is a nationally recognized keynote speaker and management trainer in the area of leadership. He is the author of a new book “Leadership by Choice” His clients include Homeland Security, Nationwide Insurance, FL Realtors, American Dental Association, and more. His website is EricPapp.com.