Happy New Year!
Most of you are probably wondering why on earth I have waited until the last week in January to post out a January newsletter. To be honest, most of you have been bombarded with the good will of New Year’s resolutions. A spring in your step with “I’m gonna make 2014 the best year ever” only to realize that most of us were hit with the same issues but, just in a different year.
So, my suggestion is STOP and reset the button on your family unit. Let’s be focused, let’s be honest, and let’s keep it real, folks. Most of you who come to me with your family challenges are caught up in the emotion that surrounds the problem that needs to be resolved. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t feel what’s going on, because it is important that our feet are on the ground and that we are able to empathize and understand the members of our family in order to stay connected and bonded.
So here some tips to get you started …
1.) STAY FOCUSED. You have to have your eyes on the ball of what the problem is. Which means if you are dealing with a bedtime issue and you have a strategy in place; it’s no good if you break that focus to have a 20 minute conversation with one of your friends about their weekend. Let’s face it…when have you ever seen me turn around in the middle of a conversation with a family and say, “Oh excuse me, I’m just going to go take this call, I have my cousin calling me.” Never, right? Because if I want something to succeed, I have to give it my attention.
2.) PRESENT. By that I don’t mean what you buy your kids to bribe them so they quickly to eat breakfast so you can get them off to school on time. It does not mean that we shouldn’t reflect on the past or contemplate a vision for the future. It purely means that I have to be in the same space, mindful of what’s going on right now. Being present allows us to identify and acknowledge what needs to happen to move forward. So many times I have heard from teenagers that their parents are home, but not really there. I think that says it all, really. For example, if you sit down with your family to watch a comedy you are all present because you all laugh at the same time. Just like when you sit down and read your kids a story. You laugh and feel sorrow as you read through the story arc of the book.
3.) OPEN. When something is open, everything is a possibility. What somebody has to say, how you respond, conversation and action is allowed to flow. Communication is key to any resolution, which takes a lot of time and energy. Most of the time, this can be very difficult. However the rewards can make a huge impact. It is the difference between your teenager giving you their point of view and you receiving it as back chat. It is also the difference between you expressing how you truly feel to your partner or choosing not to and being emotionally disconnected.
4.) HONESTY. Without it you cannot get to the bottom of any parental challenge, and it really doesn’t foster progress. Most of you will tell me it can be incredibly difficult be honest. If you take step 3 in hand, step 4 will become easier. What it also does is lead by example in teaching positive character. As family is the foundation of our society, honesty is an important part of our foundation.
5.) ACTION. This takes courage and follow through. However, change happens in a split second when a family decides to take action forward and commit to the process. You have seen it a hundred times or more when families have told me their stories and have procrastinated about what they don’t want. Having an action plan and being consistent with it is what leads to success.
Last but not least that beautiful word …
6.) GRACE. Grace is about poise, it’s about respect, it’s about having decorum. Admittedly, it is not always present when we are in the heat of discussions that need to be resolved. Especially with emotions when feeling stressed or frustrated. It’s always something that I am mindful of when helping a family. I believe we can go into conversations with it and allow it to carry us through the troubles of our challenges, so we can come out with it on the other end, too.
I am wishing you all, wherever you are in the world, a year that will allow you to prosper and elevate to the next level and be the best parents you can be. As a family, feel closer than ever for the year 2014. Remember, we are all a work that is under construction.
Copywritten by Jo Frost