20 Steps to Cultivating Mindfulness by Jon Kabat-Zinn

We now have it in schools, in coloring books, in business circles, in healthcare and in the news headlines everyday. Bryan has been talking about it in parenting long before it became fashionable. But the real issue is, is it in you? Is it just another great parenting idea or a regular practice for you? Be aware of your feelings and state of mind - and of your child. If you don't know what you feel and think, you may not know what to do. What sort of a role model would that be for your children? Learn More...

What is the Age Our Parenting Approach is geared To?

Parents sometime ask us about age for a love based parenting approach. Although your approach will differ based on the age of your child (emotional age is most important here), the love part is always that same. But even at that, love is not always easy to define or practice and requires some deeper thinking. Jesus said "love your enemies and do good to those who hate you". Yikes! Talk about an out of the box approach ... I wonder how many of us are ready for that kind of love? Learn More...

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.

Looking for 111 Families, Therapists, Agencies and Educators for Pilot Parenting Program

We are looking for 111 Families, Therapists, Agencies & Educators for a Post Institute Pilot 16 Week A-Z Parenting Program - Starting June 1st, 2016 - Pre-Registration This Week - We hope this is an offer you cannot refuse! Details Here

How to Change a Life: Your’s, Your Childs, Anyone’s, Easily: Brain Science 101

Neuroplasticity shows us that our mental tracks that get laid down in our brain can lead to habits, good or bad. If we develop poor posture for example, it becomes hard to correct. If we develop good habits, they also become solidified. Is it possible, once “tracks" or neural pathways have been laid down, to get out of those paths and onto different ones? Yes, according to researchers, but it is difficult because, once we have created those tracks, they become "really speedy" and very efficient at guiding us “down the hill” of past behaviors. To take a different path becomes increasingly difficult. A roadblock of some kind is necessary to help us change direction. (Source: The Brain That Changes Itself, Norman Doidge M.D.)

Changing your life is one of the easiest, simplest and no-brainer activities that anyone regardless of age, intelligence and maturity can engage in. In fact research has shown that even rats and monkeys can learn to move a cursor on a video screen, play video games and manipulate robotic arms all with their thoughts and imaginings. I know what this looks like as you read it — stupid, nonsense and easily disregarded. But what if it were not only true but replicatable, documented and as accepted scientific fact? Brace yourself—it is.

That being said, if we can teach rats and monkeys to do things that most of us don't believe could be taught, what might be possible in the realm of teaching our children and ourselves things that are beyond the reach of what we believe to be possible?

Changing a life is something that does not even require intention or any special skill or knowledge. In fact as you are reading this you are "changing your brain" and thus changing your life. It is a fact. Your thoughts change your brain and your brain affects your thoughts and behaviors. Your brain does not control you, in fact you control your brain, if you don't so choose.

Simply said, every thought you have changes the structure of your brain. Granted, There are critical periods where these changes occur with greater ease, such as early childhood for example. And as we age, this process slows down a bit, but never really stops until maybe your last breath. It might be said, that for every thought there is a corresponding neural circuit that is triggered or stimulated. If it agrees with the current tracks in your brain, the effect is "sameness or rigidity” which only enhances the current neural pathways making them even stronger — or changed to make them stronger and more rigid, but changed nonetheless). If the new thought is different from the current pathway, a new branch or synapse sprouts. Either way, nothing remains the same as it was and “life is changed".

So you see, you cannot ‘not change’ your life at any and every moment—and the same is true for your child. If you want the same behavior to continue or engrained even more strongly in your child, merely reinforce that through your reactions and responses. (**For info on to do this detrimentally to your child, see reference to Bryan Post's article below).

Bishop TD Jakes says "if you always do what you've always done you'll always get what you always got". The Bible says, “As you sow, so shall you reap". This is not so much philosophy or religion but in fact the way life is. You get to decide which direction, and that is the exciting part! This is not someone doing it to us, it is we doing it to us! ("We have met the enemy and he is us" — Pogo)Brain That Changes Itself

So, how do you change your life? Think. Think either the same thoughts or different thoughts. Your brain doesn't care. You on the other hand may care deeply whether your life becomes more rigid and the "same", or more flexible and different.

So think, dear parents, think carefully and deeply about what you want, who you want to be and where you want to go. Be mindful of what those careless images and thoughts that run through your mind, and the input you take in from books, movies, television and others. They are changing you, like it or not along with your children. Of course, this applies even more so for your children as they are likely in those critical periods where plasticity runs at a much quicker pace. And this is where we parents come in. Not so much to "teach" them, but to help them bring out the best their "selves" — and this may not be what "we" want for them.

So lets find out who are children are. Who they want to be. What they want to do. And as we connect with them in the true spirit of education (Latin meaning to draw forth or led out). In effect, this is what facilitates learning and long term memory by removing the stressors which can inhibit the learning process.  Remember that "stress causes confused and distorted thinking and short-term memory loss". (A.N. Shore 2003, Affect Regulation and the Disorders of the Self, WW Norton).

“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). Interesting, is it not?

If you have not devoured Norman Doidge M.D.'s book, The Brain That Changes Itself, get it on Amazon now. — David Durovy


**How Neurophysiologic Feedback Loops work in parenting, which when they arise unaware in your interactions with your child, can promote more of the same behaviors that we are trying so hard to eliminate.

The term “neurophysiologic” refers to both body and mind. We have body/mind feedback loops that are both positive and negative. Research has been able to determine that we communicate with one another and are connected to one another on a cellular level. In fact, every cell in our bodies contains a consciousness of sorts, along with all of our DNA. Is that a radical idea for you? I want you to begin to pay close attention to the dynamic when you and your child get into an interaction that involves negative words thrown back and forth. Look at how big the dynamic becomes.

Let me illustrate it through an exercise. Draw a small circle on a piece of paper right now. That’s your child saying, “No, I’m not going to do it.” Draw another little circle. That’s you saying, “Yes, you are!” The child says, “No, I’m not!” Then, you say, “Yes you are!” Draw the circles larger around each time. That’s the power of a negative feedback loop.” — Bryan Post

To read more of Bryan’s article on this topic read more here.

In-depth 4 Week Small Group Coaching Program Now Forming…

Affordable Professional Support --  Adoption Parenting
I want to help you create healing for your adopted child. If you are the parent of a teen or twenty something,
Parenting Teens and Twenty-somethings
Indepth 
4 Week
Small Group Coaching Program
Only 10 Families
5 spaces remaining
read below for details

Kristi, thank you for putting this program together for our families, and for making it affordable.  A great opportunity. You're knowledge and experience will make this an amazing program. –David Durovy, Partner Post Institute

Register Today to secure your slot!
This is our chance to work hand in hand to create healing for your vulnerable children.

I'm Kristi Saul, the head coach for The Post Institute and the Leader of The Adoption Parenting Inner Circle
This is an exclusive offer. Because YOU said you wanted real help with your teenagers and young adults, I’ve put together a 4 week program specifically focused on Parenting Teens and Twenty-Somethings.

Each session will take place live via video conferencing and will be audio recorded for your future listening. This is a chance for us to interact to share your experiences and your fears and to get expert education, support, and proven effective solutions. A chance to be real with one another and create real healing.

If you are the parent of a teen or young adult you’ll want to participate in this 4 week program.

What we will cover:

  • An in depth understanding of the impact of pre-birth and early life trauma;
  • An understanding of why these early experiences are so important to understand during the "launching" process;Register Here
  • How to help your teen or young adult understand their stress and stress responses;
  • How to create a connected, in-the-know relationship that will be their safety net through challenges they face;
  • Understanding the family dynamics, parents leading the family in healing;
  • Each session will allow time for questions and discussion;
  • Each participant will receive 1 private coaching call as part of this program (a $100 value);
  • Each participant will receive 1 month email follow up.

Sessions Begin February 6th - All sessions will be recorded so that you can reference at your convenience. Inner Circle Members Get First Chance to Register!

$200  for more than 6 hours of professions in depth  education and support.

Questions? Email Kristi at kristi@adoptionparentinginnercircle.com


Who is Kristi Saul and what does she know about helping adopted children? Kristi is the head coach for The Post Institute.   Kristi is the founder and leader of The Adoption Parenting Inner Circle, the first online educational support for adoptive and foster parents and professionals, and is the co-founder of the Post Institute.  She is the hands on expert to the message of The Post Institute.  Her education and experience create an amazing voice of compassionate understanding and education for adoptive parents and professionals. She holds a master’s degree in Community Counseling from the University of Central Oklahoma. Kristi has worked in trenches with some of the most challenging families and children for the past 25 years. She has published numerous articles on topics related to parenting, and educating attachment challenged children. But more than that, her expertise is gained from life experience.  She has been surrounded by adoption her entire life.  Kristi is the daughter of an adopted, attachment challenged mother, her cousins were adopted, her former spouse, Bryan Post, an adopted child, and she has an adopted son. She has been behind the scenes in every aspect of the creation of the Post Institute, the development of the stress model and family centered regulatory parenting, the Inner Circle, and the Post Group Home projects. Every aspect of her life for the past 12 years has focused on understanding, and living the stress model and creating healing and harmonious relationships in her family. Her vast first hand experiences of living the stress model and creating healing for the most challenging children provides a refreshing down to earth application of neuroscience, child development, regulatory parenting, therapy, and an in depth understanding of family dynamics. Kristi lives a quiet life in Claremore, Ok where she raises her daughter Marley and her son Kevin.

Kristi Aug '15Much Love
Kristi Saul, MEd
Leader: Adoption Parenting Inner Circle
Head Coach: Post Institute

The Adoption Parenting Inner Circle is a support for parents and professionals in their journey to create healing for adopted children, based on the philosophies of Love Based Parenting and The Post Institute.

There Is a Better Way to Parent

Where in the World is Waldo is a Better Way?

A big problem is that we parents think we know how to parent. That it is a no-brainer. I mean, people haveOld-Way-Better-Way-Wood-s been doing this stuff for centuries. What is the big deal? True, but that does not mean there isn't a better way...

The Better Way:  Your paradigm is the way in which you see the world. It is the model by which you explain and understand all that is happening. It is metaphorically speaking the table cloth upon which all the table settings rest.

Most people are constantly re-arranging the "table settings" of their life in hopes of something better. Change the table cloth. Yes, just yank it out, then start rebuilding your assumptions about your life, your parenting and about everything. What we teach works best from an entirely different paradigm or model of how parenting works.

Sure, we can play around with this technique, that tip, or another approach or method. We can do this for years with few results. If it doesn't work, we do it louder, harder, more forcefully.

For a direct flight to love, keep in mind that both you and your child are completely innocent, both doing the best possible thing you know how to do. If either of you knew a better way, I guarantee you would do it in a heartbeat. If it doesn’t work, it is simply because there is a better way, not the “right way”. Think in terms of better, not right or wrong. There is always, always, always a better way.

Choose a better way,
— David

Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who is the Lovingest of Us All?

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "who you are speaks so loudly I can't hear what you are saying." The practical current scientific thought reflected here is the concept of Mirror Neurons.

Mirror-Girl-Unhappy "Many scientists have come to believe that we understand others not by thinking, but by feeling. For mirror neurons appear to let us “simulate” not just other people’s actions, but the intentions and emotions behind those actions. When you see someone smile, for example, your mirror neurons for smiling fire up, too, creating a sensation in your own mind of the feeling associated with smiling. You don’t have to think about what the other person intends by smiling. You experience the meaning immediately and effortlessly.

This serendipitous discovery of mirror neurons—a special class of brain cells that fire not only when an individual performs an action, but also when the individual observes someone else make the same movement—has radically altered the way we think about our brains and ourselves, particularly our social selves." *

Mirror-Girl-HappyThis underlying scientific principle called mirror neurons essentially, is that mirror neurons are just like a mirror. When you look in the mirror and you smile, the reflection smiles back at you. When you look in the mirror and you frown, the reflection frowns back at you. When you look in the mirror and you yell, the reflection yells back at you. We have mirror neurons in our brain, which mirror what we see.

In relationship to your child, if you’re approaching your child from a place of positive energy, your child is going to be reflecting that back to you. I want you to take this as an example. Just for today, when your child comes home, or whenever you get a chance, I just want you to walk by, happen to catch your child’s attention and I want you to smile at them and you will notice in most instances, they will smile back. Try it, see what happens and let me know.

Think of this old saying the next time you interact with your child or anyone...“when you smile, the whole world smiles with you”.

Choose Love.

— B

* Source: http://www.brainfacts.org/brain-basics/neuroanatomy/articles/2008/mirror-neurons/

Make ’em, Break ’em or Love ’em

When you can create regulation within yourself in the midst of your child’s dysregulation, you become the true essence of a parent — a positive influence on the growth and development of your child. This is true parenting - influencing your child and allowing their own development to proceed as God intended. It is not our job to make or force our child - but to nurture who they are and who they choose to be. When parents are calm and loving, wonderful things can take place with less effort, less work, less disappointment and just, well… less. whew! More time for play, for enjoyment and for love. It doesn’t get any better than this parents.

What kind of a role model am I? What kind are you?

When adults get stressed out, they tend to act like adolescents because “When we stress, we regress”. Our amygdala is hijacked, our higher functioning frontal cortex is shut down and we are no longer running the show. The same of course for our children. Think about this the next time you are tempted to say to them, “What were you thinking!?!?” The answer is simple - Not.

I got so mad at my 22 year old the other day that I had to hang up the phone on him. I didn’t even decide to, I just “did” it. He texted back, “nice move dad. Really mature”. Yeah. 65 years old and still acting like a kid. How does that happen? It’s really simple. Stress causes us to react from the past, completely miss the present and obsess about the future. Our thinking processes become confused and distorted, and with our short term memory suppressed, we don’t know who we are or who we are interacting with. We become strangers I in our own bodies, in our own experience and can almost say with impunity, “I didn’t do it”. Almost. This is what happens when I am ‘not home’.

The same is true for our children, when they do things they shouldn’t, behave badly, is it “them” doing it or their own stressors of fear triggering their actions? No, this is not amnesty for every wrongdoing. This is simply ‘understanding’ which leads to learning which leads to healing, correction and better choices — or in many cases choice period. I didn’t choose to hang up on my son. I was so wound up I had no choice. “It” just happened. And I am the adult with 65 years of experience and I know better.  So when “it” happens to our child, how do we respond? How could we respond? What is the teaching moment here? Or, do we get so upset with their stupid behavior that we just re-act (as in acting over and over again and again) cause the cycle of unconscious  behavior on both our parts to just continue endlessly into the future, never learning, never stopping, never being mindful and never being free?
 
"Let he who has never sinned cast the first stone..."

Think about it. Can you blame us? Can you blame them?

Choose Love.