Want to Make Big Changes? Start Small and Get Big Results

It’s Easier and More Effective

switch-bookThis remarkable book Switch: How to change things when change is hard, can be about you, a job, friends, or even family. Or in families like many of ours – a child.

“Why is it so hard to make lasting changes in our companies, in our communities, and in our own lives?The primary obstacle is a conflict that’s built into our brains, say Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the critically acclaimed bestseller Made to Stick. Psychologists have discovered that our minds are ruled by two different systems—the rational mind and the emotional mind—that compete for control. The rational mind wants a great beach body; the emotional mind wants that Oreo cookie. The rational mind wants to change something at work; the emotional mind loves the comfort of the existing routine. This tension can doom a change effort—but if it is overcome, change can come quickly.

In a compelling, story-driven narrative, the Heaths bring together decades of counter-intuitive research in psychology, sociology, and other fields to shed new light on how we can effect transformative change. Switch shows that successful changes follow a pattern, a pattern you can use to make the changes that matter to you, whether your interest is in changing the world or changing your waistline.” — Amazon

Here is one lesson, of many presented in the book, that you may find to be instrumental and inspiring in seeing how everyday opportunities can lead to big changes with exponential effects. — David Durovy


Change May Be Easier Than We Think

This is really the crux of what we as parents are dealing with, both in ourselves and in our children. Although this appears as a simple task, the complexity is often so overwhelming we either quit, or take on a method that “seems” time tested and viable (such as punishing our children in order to help them learn). In the end though, some experts see change not as “a” thing, but a series of things, often very small things by what they call “shrinking the change”.

Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath is a well researched book that shows us how to engineer change into our personal, business and family life. One example shows how one simple unplanned act can actually change things not only in one mom’s and dad’s life but also the lives of so many others in a loosely choreographed series of actions and reactions that at the end of the day, the children were better behaved.

Take a few moments to read through this scenario and consider the implications of small random acts of kindness that we have the opportunity numerous times everyday to take advantage of or pass by in our lives.

They write, “small targets led to small victories, and small victories can often trigger a positive spiral of behavior. Marriage therapist Michele Weiner-Davis wrote about her clients Paula and George, who’d been married for eight years but had been fighting consistently for the previous two.” She had been counseling them for awhile but made little progress. “Then came the breakthrough— a kiss.

One morning, George kissed Paula. The kiss surprised her, caught her off guard a little and made her happy. Being happy prompted her to do a little thing she hadn’t done in a while; She brewed a pot of coffee. They used to drink coffee together often, but lately the tradition has fallen by the wayside.

George smelled the coffee and came down for a cup. He and Paula had a pleasant conversation. Both of them said the morning made them feel more “relaxed and lighthearted”. (Who wouldn’t want more of this?) Paula reported that her coworkers noticed the difference in her attitude that day. Even George and Paula’s kids seemed affected by the halo of good feelings (my note: The Oxytocin Response)—they were more relaxed that evening, less argumentative. George’s kiss launched a positive spiral.”

What is a take home lesson here? The authors say it like this: “Don’t ask a couple to stop fighting; ask the husband to give his wife a simple good-morning kiss.”

How would we interpret this? First, never underestimate the power of simple actions of loving kindness expressed in actions and thoughtful words. The oxytocin response can be a healing balm for ourselves that can affect our children’s regulatory responses. This is brain science, but not difficult brain science. Anyone can do it anywhere, anytime. And, we don’t need a degree to use it.

Secondly, the way to influence or change the behaviors of our children is by, well, by changing our behaviors first. Why us? Because that is the only thing we can control. And that is not always a given but certainly a good place to start.

David_JournalAnother interesting take-home lesson is, we can never know just how far reaching our words and actions, helpful or hurting, may be. One word or action may generate many reactions down the line. We might want to think about that before we act or speak.

Where can you start today, right now— a simple, small, manageable and specific behavior change for you?

— David Durovy

Question: How Do Guilt, Blame and Shame Figure into Our Parenting Approach?

The answer is, no surprise, they don't. Not for children. Not for Parents.

But let me explain. We honor those feelings when they appear. We don't recommend trying to make anyone, parent or child No-Blame-Shame-Guilt"feel" guilty shame or blame.

Just because you feel guilty, or in some case are "made" to feel guilty by someone else's behaviors or words, doesn't make it so, or real or any other scenario you can imagine where it is your fault. This triad of No Shame, No Blame, No Guilt is not just for your children, but for parents (and everybody) as well. If you feel guilty, look for the source of that feeling. Who in your past made you feel guilty and why. Somewhere along the line you bought it - hook line and sinker as they say.

It is not true. You are not "guilty". You did what you did. You may feel remorse. You may now see there was a better way. You may in hindsight see a lot of things. In fact, if you saw all this at the time, likely you would have chosen a different scenario. Remember that stress causes confused and distorted thinking and short term memory loss. We forget all our great parenting goals and desires when we are stressed. It happens to all of us. Every last one of us. Try not to willingly bring your feelings of guilt, shame or blame as a statement of who you are and why you do or don't deserve something or someone because of these feelings. That is all they are - just feelings. Powerful yes. Don't miss the point and end up pointing fingers at the one you think is pointing their finger at you.

The games of blame, shame and guilt are no-win games and eventually fade in the light of understanding and love. Unless we keep bringing them up.

We can hasten their disappearance - we just need to stop playing them. End of game. Now fill that hole or space with something that is real - like forgiveness, like understanding, like love.

It really saddens me to see any parent, let alone moms, who take most of the hits anyway, add more to their burdens. Please understand - you are not guilty. If you feel that, it will serve you to look for the source of those feelings. So yes, feel the guilt. Allow the experience without trying to push it away. That is only a delay of game penalty. It will be back. Don't feel guilty or bad about it, but consider it - and that this may be a stretch - a gift. Hold it in your experience as you would a very special present. Unwrap it to see just what it is, where you got it and why you carry it. There can be great freedom in moving into it rather than away from it. The same goes for your children. You can be the role model here. Show 'em how parents. Lead the way...

Choose Love,
-B

Listening Practices: Tips and Traps by Sherri Boles-Rogers

Are You Listening?

One of the greatest tools in a parent’s toolbox is… ears. Yup. Didn’t hear that one coming did you? (Did you ever notice that the word hear has the word ear in it?) It is amazing to me how little we listen and how Earmuch we talk to our children. Listening could be compared to a superpower of sorts. Not only listening to what our children are saying but also what they are not saying, and listening to what is between the lines. Sherri Boles-Rogers, Parenting Coach & Family Communication Specialist (and a contributor to our Indiegogo Campaign offering an Intensive Listening Course at over a 50% savings) offers some fundamental steps to increasing your already present superpower. Make it a point this coming week to actively and intentionally apply these to your work and family life and see if you can notice the difference in what you hear, and in how people feel about you. You may be surprised on both accounts. This is important stuff.  Take a Listen – David Durovy


Have you ever noticed how GOOD it feels to be really listened to? It’s impactful, validating and gives us a sense that we’re significant, we matter. There’s an art to listening and, like any art, it takes practice.

According to statistics by Dr. Albert Mehrabian, known for his pioneering work in nonverbal communication, only 7% of communication happens through your actual words (38% comes across through tone and 55% through body language). That’s why it’s important to hone our skills to listen at deeper levels. To listen not only with our ears, but also with our heart. When we can listen to our children at these deeper levels we ingrain in them a sense of significance and self-worth.

A good place to start is by understanding the three listening levels described in the book Co-Active Coaching, by Laura Whitworth, Henry Kimsey-House and Phil Sandahl.

Listening Levels

  1. Level 1–Internal: We hear the other person’s words, but our focus is on what it means to us–our thoughts, feelings, judgments and conclusions. I dare say most of our day-to-day listening is at this level.
  2. Level 2–Laser-Focused: Our attention is focused like a laser beam on the other person, with little awareness of anything else. With such strong focus, we are curious, open and have little time to pay attention to our own feelings or worry about how we are being received. Our own mind chatter disappears with such a sharp focus on the other person.
  3. Level 3–Global: Our attention is spread out like an antenna with a 360-degree range. It allows us to pick up emotions, energy, body language and the environment itself. Intuition heightens as we tune into the deeper layers of what is going on.

All three levels are necessary. However, when we spend too much time in self-focused Level 1 listening, our communication with our child can seriously suffer. Engaging in Levels 2 and 3 can improve how we listen–and highly impact the connection and the relationship with our child.

Listening Blocks

It’s also important to be aware of these traps we can fall into even when we have set an intention to deeply listen. These come from Richard Anstruther at HighGain, Inc who trains business people in listening skills…but I think they’re just as relevant for parents who are intent on listening to their children in a more deeply satisfying way.

  • Tune Out–Listeners are not paying attention to the speaker due to disinterest in the speaker or subject, thinking about other things or multitasking.
  • Detach–Listeners are emotionally detached from the speaker, concerned with content only, not the feelings behind it. They may be only half listening, not really interacting, and miss the message’s underlying meaning.
  • Rehearse–Listeners are concentrating on what to say or do next, rather than focusing on the speaker’s message.
  • Judge–Listeners have a different opinion that causes them to block out new ideas and information or lose track of the conversation. They analyze and interpret the speaker’s delivery or message, missing the point. They criticize, give advice and make assumptions.
  • Control–Listeners don’t allow the speaker to talk at his or her own pace. They constantly interrupt with comments or questions, and don’t allow the speaker to finish a point.

The first step to developing artful listening is to choose to truly listen. As you continue to develop your listening skills, your communication and your relationship with your child are likely to become increasingly satisfying and rich!

♥♥♥ LOVE IN ACTION ♥♥♥

  1. Experiment with Levels 1, 2 and 3 listening, one at a time, to fully understand the dynamics at each level. This was eye-opening for me! I learned that the level at which I listen is a moment-by-moment choice.
  2. Spend some time noticing how often you fall into tuning out, detaching, rehearsing, judging or controlling. What can you do to keep from falling into these common listening traps?

Author’s content used under license, © Claire Communications


SherriSherri Boles-Rogers is an ACPI Certified Parenting Coach.  She is also a graduate of the Center for Nonviolent Communication’s Parent Peer Leadership Program, part of the Peaceful Families, Peaceful World Project.  She has been a parent educator and parenting workshop facilitator since 2005.

Sherri provides one-on-one and group coaching to parents.  She also facilitates parenting classes and parenting book study groups based on the models of attachment parenting and Nonviolent Communication™.

As a working mother of two boys, ages 19 and 17, she knows firsthand about the challenges of integrating conscious parenting into daily hectic family life.  In her work with parents, her goal is to provide awareness, understanding, and non-judgmental support for families to cultivate “power with” relationships based on mutual respect and trust.

Sherri lives in Atlanta with her husband, Greg and her two boys, Jake and Jeremy. You can visit her and learn more about her valuable training and workshops at www.ParentingHeart.com.

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Post Parenting Toolbox 37 Learn to Say Yes, New Brain Research for Parents

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Post Parenting Toolbox 36 The Truth About Consequences is Here

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Parenting Toolbox 29 How to End Lying, Peaceful Parenting and Less is More

Toobox 29

Just a quick note to let you know that Post Parenting Toolbox 29 hit the streets this week. Here is a piece of it, and there is lots more about what is new at the Post Institute and what we have in store for you in 2013. It's Simple Really - Less is More...

I received a note from a caseworker that shows just how simple this love based model is and I felt I had to share it with you. Many of our parents wonder where to start. Wherever they are at any moment is a good place. Here is a simple clue.

She wrote saying "I had a mother call me telling me that her 7 year old daughter was "freakin out, throwing one of her fits".....Mom had put child in her room and closed the door and I could hear the child screaming at the top of her lungs and either hitting the door or throwing things at the door......I told the mother to go into the child's room and just sit on the bed and stare at the floor. Within 30 seconds that child was calmed down, not completely but almost.......in about 45 seconds that child was not screaming or talking loud at all and within a minute of that the child and the mother were talking about getting dinner ready". How simple is that? (Ed. note: For more of where to start, read Kirk Martin's (founder of Celebrate Calm) advice telling parents to Just Shut Up!

With all the email, e-Newsletters, Facebook messages, Tweets and Mobile text messages you get, we thought we would try to do things a bit differently. We will be experimenting for awhile with designs so please hand with us during our re-construction time. We know you want help for your family. You want it short and sweet, and you want it now. We will try to give you expert advice, timely news and information in bite sized pieces. We will as always also offer you such things as videos, audio recordings and links that you can take advantage of at your own pace. We are here for you and because of you. So, what do you need, what you want (and don't want) and how you would like it? Just like "if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy", if the parents ain't happy, Bryan Post ain't happy". So please let us know. Get Happy! You can reach me at david@postinstitute.com.

Also included is Bryan’s recent Q&A recording about school issues that two moms are facing, a revision of the How to End Lying is coming up and we’d like to hear from you. Included is a short video that Bryan did on Lying. To view the Toolbox click here: https://thepostinstitute.infusionsoft.com/app/hostedEmail/4160118/451ebb30ca174149