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

The Coffee Shop Mindful Meditation: How to Get Here Now

We recently posted this article by Hugh Bryne, author of The Here and Now Habit. Read it over a few times till you get the hang of it. It is simple and can be done anywhere, anytime, anyhow. And, when done while parenting, especially when the stress hits the fan, you may find your ability to respond heightened rather than reacting (re-acting) the same old going nowhere battles. Note: You could even call it the Stopping at Traffic Light Meditation or Standing in Long Line at Grocery Store Meditation or a host of other names. You choose. Be creative.

The Coffee Shop Mindfulness Meditation: Here is part of a five-minute noting meditation I did in a coffee shop: “aware of tightness in my belly...song on the radio...pleasant feeling in response to the song...aware of voices...taste of coffee...creaking of the door opening and closing...thought that ‘they should oil the door’...high voice of barista...someone asks if she can sit down...I nod and smile ‘yes’...pleasant song on radio...wondering who the singer is...creaking door...tightness in belly in response to creaking...song...creaking...thinking how quickly coffee shop has filled up…”.

What's great about this practice is that nothing is 'wrong' if we can simply be aware of it and note it. We can step out of autopilot into awareness of our direct experience—where we can make healthy choices.
— Hugh Bryne, Author, The Here and Now Habit.

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...

The Single Most Important Tool for Interrupting Stress – Bryan Post

The Power of Breathing
Spend 3 minutes with Bryan as he shares why breathing is so important and how it impacts your and your children's regulatory state. Learn to use this undervalued (yes, if you don't use it life will be uncomfortable if not short) and incredibly powerful tool every parent - person - other should be using intentionally and consciously daily if not moment-ly. Breathe, Love Will Enter, Peace Will Follow. - David Durovy

 

 

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.

The Post Institute’s Indeigogo Campaign Hit 50% on Day 1

16 Week A-Z Parenting Pilot Online Training program for parents and professionals with adopted, foster, diagnosed and challenging children

Palmyra, VA - May 4, 2016 - The Post Institute, provider of educational materials for foster and adoptive parents, crowdfunds the next generation of their curriculum on popular site

The Post Institute’s new e-learning platform launched yesterday on crowdfunding site Indiegogo, and is already 50% funded. Their new sixteen-week A-Z Parent Mastery Course is the focus of the campaign, and more than 30 foster and adoptive families have already signed up for the pilot program, which is limited to 111 families. So far, families have come from not just the US, but the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Germany. Those interested in registering for the official roll-out of the Course, at a discount, may do so during the month of May on https://igg.me/at/postinstitute-elearning. The pilot program is available for $97, a 75% savings.

The Post Institute’s mission is “love-based, family-centered parenting for foster, adopted, and diagnosed children”. Their online e-learning platform is new, but the content is an extension of their existing curriculum and resources, which include books, audio recordings, workbooks, radio broadcasts, and more. According to David Durovy, Director of the Post Institute, the goal of the online platform is to make the Post Institute’s support for parents more easily accessible and interactive. “It’s simple, really. Over half a million kids are put into the foster care system each year, over 20,000 age out, and 50% of those will go to jail… they suffer from attachment disorders. They never got what they needed as children.” Parenting foster and adopted children  presents a unique set of challenges, and requires specialized support.

The Post Institute is offering pre-registration at a discount, along with other educational materials for parents, counseling sessions with therapists, and other resources on crowdfunding site Indiegogo during the month of May. Like other popular sites Kickstarter and GoFundMe, Indiegogo is a website that facilitates project-specific fundraising. According to David, crowdfunding was a good match for unveiling their new online e-learning platform because its layout is designed to tell a story, with clear layout for video, images, and text. Until May 31, those interested in registering for the official roll-out of the Course, at a discount, may do on https://igg.me/at/postinstitute-elearning.

The Post Institute was founded by Bryan Post in 2002 to provide love-based, family-centered resources and education to parents of foster, adopted, and diagnosed children.  www.PostInstitute.com

Contact: David Durovy, david@postinstitute.com , 434-589-8828.

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

Calming Your Child with Television or iPad May Backfire

The Post Parenting Toolbox Series #75

Television not only distracts a child from whatever may have caused the tantrum in the first place, but one hour of screen Toolbox 2016time  hinders the communication between parent and child, decreasing the likelihood the child will listen to their parent the next time an incident occurs. Pacifying difficult children with a device doesn’t treat their behavior and possibly worsens the problem." - Medical Daily

We all love calm children. In fact, we will do almost anything at times to calm them, including things that may cause more problems in the long run. But such is the way with things in our hustle and bustle world where we so often don’t seem to have the luxury of “time” to do the right things right now. But, as the man says, “you can pay me now or you can pay me later”, we will end up paying as will our children.

And for those of us who have children with disruptive behavior patterns, adopted, foster and diagnosed to deal with to begin with, the forthcoming high price can be almost unbearable. And, as you know from your work with The Post Institute, our job is to help lessen the ill effects of traditional parenting - and taking the easy way out so that we as parents and our precious children are spared from the high cost of mis-parenting. This can move us all toward NPT (New Paradigm Thinking) where love really is all we need once we understand what true love really is.

Here is some interesting research in an article by Samantha Olson writing for Medical Daily that shows just how seemingly innocuous everyday things such as television, iPads and smart phone can add to the already present turmoil of parenting. Hope you find some value here — David Durovy


"Many a parent has tried to pacify a tantrum-throwing toddler with the distracting glare of a tablet game, and according to a team of pediatricians from the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan, some use it as a coping mechanism more than others. Their findings, published in JAMA Pediatrics, reveal parents have a tendency to hand their child a tablet or smartphone in certain situations to calm them down. The more difficult the child, the more parents hand over the screens.

"We know that parents of babies and toddlers with difficult behavior disproportionately use television and videos as calming tools," said the study’s lead author Dr. Jenny Radesky, a child behavior expert and pediatrics professor at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital. “We wanted to explore whether the same might be true for... Learn More

Source: Medical Daily - The Grapevine

Have a calm and mindful day!
David

For more Love Based Family-Centered Parenting info, visit www.postinstitute.com

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.