Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Help Your Child Tame Terrors

Every parent goes through the experience of dealing with
a child's nightmares. Nightmares that persist cause alot of upset
to both parent and child as well as wreak havoc with everyone's
need for rest.

To begin, you all know that nightmares are the way that the
unconscious mind actively copes with stress, change and
unresolved conflict. When a parent pays attention to the nature
of the nightmare, key elements of what the child is trying to work
through are revealed. These are signals to you that your child is
trying to work through something that is inexpressible.

When you listen with an open heart and allow your inner guidance
to take the lead, you get to hear the special message that your child's
mind is trying to reveal.


1) Create a routine at night that is calming and soothing.
No TV right before bed. TV is actually a stimulant and
the images that are taken in the last 5 minutes before sleep
will enter into the dream cycle.

2) One on one time with parent. Take this time with your child
to read a story that is positive and inspiring. Reassure your child -
never diminish the seriousness that the child places on the dream
with comments like "that is silly, there is nothing to be afraid of",
that is not the world your child is living in at the moment.
Tell your child stories about yourself and how you overcame
your own nightmares, this normalizes the situation for your child.

3) Well before bed, tell a story out loud that involves the nightmare.
Together with your child, come up with alternate endings for the
story that empower your child. Rehearse the new story and play it out.
Give your child the option of creating an invisible magical toolbox
that has special things inside of it that relate to dissolving the recurring
threat within the dream. Your child can even create a toolbox out of a
shoe box, decorate it and put special things inside that may be ordinary
when he is awake, but becomes powerful and protective when he takes
them into his dreams with his imagination.

4) You can create a special ritual like putting lavender water in
a spray bottle and use it sparingly as special "protective" mist that
puts a shield around him at night.

5) As you pay attention to the symbols that seem to keep showing up
in your child's dreams, you can ask questions during the day that will
help you understand what your child is trying to work though. You
are looking for ways to help your child gain more emotional balance.
Look for clues that point in the direction where your child needs your
reassurance and support in dealing with a situation.

6) I would recommend, not too much eating before bed as this
can boost a child's metabolism and increase brain activity.
Keep it light and at least an hour away from sleep if possible.

7) When your child wakes fearfully, remember his brain is not
wired the same as an adults. It may take some time before he
realizes that is fully conscious and is no longer in the dream.
It takes children longer to "shake off" the dream. Offer lots
of reassurance and let your child talk about the experience.

As you engage your child to role play and feel empowered
to conquer the fear or conflict he is dealing with you will
notice improvement and a decline in the nightmares.
Persistent nightmares that lead you to believe that more
serious psychological issues are taking place should be
addressed by a trained professional.

With your loving support and guidance, your child can creatively
find ways to work through issues in his life that he is finding
challenging to deal with. When you use your inner guidance, you
will note patterns in symbols and how your child's mind is trying
to handle the inner conflict.

Never assume that you know exactly what is going on without
inquiring first. Ensure that you give your child plenty of opportunity
to express and answer questions that are designed to get to the heart
of what he is trying to work through. Remember to remain flexible
with your solutions. The mind ebbs and flows with thoughts, beliefs
and patterns, be in flow with what emerges and co -create beliefs
with your child that lead him to discover the power of "I can".

with love and light

Monday, April 16, 2012

Make Parenting Easier With This

Have you ever been lectured by one
or both of your parents ever in your life?

After the lecture did you ever say to yourself,
"Wow mom/dad is so right, what was I thinking,
I better go and... (clean my room, do my homework....)
right away."

I am guessing that most of you reading this did
not have the above thought just after having
been lectured.

So why on earth do we think that it will work with
our kids? Do we really believe that our lectures
will miraculously alter our child's behavior pattern?

Deep down, I believe that we know it will not.
We lecture because we are frustrated, overwhelmed,
tired or feeling a disconnect with our desire to
have a mutually respectful relationship with our
kids. Essentially, we are venting and hoping that
this venting will dissolve a behavior that we do
not want to experience.

Lecturing does not work because it is not open
communication and it makes people shut down
and tune you out. You CANNOT motivate
someone to WANT to do something, you can
only lead, inspire and model.

By learning how to respond instead of react, you
can learn how to ask questions from a response standpoint.
This is the language of open communication.

Jumping in and trying to offer immediate unsolicited
advice is not open and it can lead to your child
feeling exasperated because he feels that you are not

Research has shown that teenagers want their parents
to listen to them from their perspective. Just listen -
with presence, and remain in that state of true listening.
This means that you refrain from constructing a response
before the speaker has finished speaking.

Think back to when you were a teenager. Really get
present to remembering how that felt. Imagine what it
would have felt like if your parents really listened to
you from your point of view and that they really
understood you. Now imagine how that would
have made you feel - even if they didn't have an
immediate solution for you.

Here are 2 ideas that might be interesting
to try out:

1) When your teenager is in a receptive mood,
ask her this, "If you could write a column in a
magazine that parents would be reading,
what advice would you give them?"

2) Make a list with your teen and co-create rules.
On the left side of the list are your agreements
(both parent and child agree to ...) on the right side
are a list of expectations (from both parent and child)
When you both agree to the list of agreements and
expectations, both of you can sign it.

The agreements and expectations are not one sided,
they are created for and by both parent and child.
When an individual feels ownership of what he is
creating, he will be more likely to stick to his agreements.

As you play with alternatives to lecturing, you will
soon notice that your relationship with your child
starts to reflect the newfound respect that they feel
for you. The connections you are forging will
serve you as you inspire your child to go forward
in life with values and attitudes that support his success.

With love and light
Melinda Asztalos

Monday, April 2, 2012

How to help kids be responsible

Children are naturally egocentric so it stands to reason why they don't see the value
in expressing compassion to another when their budding personalities have caused
another to feel hurt.

It is hard for kids to say "I'm sorry" and feel what that means, WITHOUT making
themselves feel like they are "bad".

That is the challenge here. We want our kids to take responsibility but we don't
want to make them feel like losers because they made a mistake or could not handle
their frustration in the heat of the moment.

Forcing them to say "I'm sorry" will get the words out but it will do very little
to teach true empathy. So here are some positive solutions for everyday life.

Find out what is driving the problem that the child seems to be having,
(i.e., trouble sharing , being mean to sibling, etc.) Determine what your
child seems to be needing in the moment and doesn't  have the skill to get
appropriately. What emotional need is behind the behavior driving your
child to behave in this way?

Address your child's concern and help her see how her behavior impacts
the people in her world:

Parent:  "I can see that you were arguing with your brother about that toy,
and he walked away crying, what's going on?"

Child: "He won't share anything, ever."

Parent: "So you are saying that Tommy won't share anything, ever with you,
did I get that right?"

Child: Yes

Parent: " I can see how upsetting that can be for you, it's no fun to not get
to play with toys you want to play with is it?"
( avoid the urge to tell her/him what to do at this point just see from your child's perspective)

Child: Nods in agreement

Parent: When you were angry and yelled at Tommy,
how do you think that made him feel?

Child: Sad, I guess

Parent: Yes, I get that too. I was wondering, do you have any idea how both of
you can make a plan that works so you both get to share all the toys ?

As you work with your child to find creative ways to solve the problem, notice
your child's energy shift as you focus on the positive aspects of the new plan.
If another sibling was involved invite him or her to join in on the problem solving.
Once you've all agreed to a plan that is realistic and works for all members then
you can address the responsibility part.

Parent: Now that we have a great plan, how could you have done things differently
this morning so that Tommy would not have felt hurt?

Child: I could have.......

Parent: Yes I think that would work really well. What do you think you can do now
that would make both of you feel better about what happened? Your words and
your actions are so powerful. How can you be powerful and show Tommy
that you care?

By first addressing what drove the upset  you are validating how your child is
feeling, NOT agreeing with the behavior, just showing that you "get it".

Then, as you problem solve, your focus shifts to what CAN be done -
it shifts to what you both want instead of feeding the energy of the reaction itself.

When you get some solutions that are realistic and do-able, then you re-direct
to taking responsibility. Your child is now much calmer and feels like he has been
heard - this makes it alot easier for him or her to listen to you.

You are helping your child see how powerful he is in the world with his thoughts,
words and actions. As this becomes a habit in your family, your child will naturally
gravitate towards this way of being and thinking. You also help him to "clean up"
by focussing on how he can make amends in a way that does not shame, blame
or attack his self esteem.

Through a space of love you teach empathy and how to problem solve using the
heart and the mind together. This process does not take alot of time when you
get used to it and imagine how much time you will save in the long run when
your child gets the hang of it!

With love and light,

Monday, February 27, 2012

Showing your child who's the boss. What is it going to cost you?

From generation to generation the idea of the parent
being the boss has been so deeply ingrained and 
accepted that it is not very often that we question
the depth of the cost of being boss.

Being the boss says, you need to do what I want and
what I need when I need it. When your child asks "Why?"
 with those big inquisitive yearning eyes, the boss
usually replies, because I said so. 

Being the boss has nothing to do with being a leader.
When our children are babies, we do everything for
them and sometimes it is difficult to acknowledge that
we need to be flexible as we adapt to their constant
growth and stage of development.

When you need to show your child who is the boss
you leave little room for your child to feel autonomy.
You leave little room for your child to feel like his
voice and opinions matter in the world. Yes you
can control what your child is doing by imposing
your will but what is the long term cost of that?

Your child will grow up believing that he needs to
seek approval from outside sources in order to feel
worthy. He will grow up feeling like he is less than
and needs to adopt certain characteristics in order
to be somebody, not so good in the teenage years.

Does this mean that we let our kids do
whatever they want? No. It means that we let go 
of the boss mentality and adopt the leader mentality. 

A leader recognizes the consequences of his
interactions with people long after the conversation
is over. A leader guides without imposing his will.
A leader inspires others to be their greatest selves. 

A boss says, "Do as I say because I am
your parent and I know what is best for 
you in every situation."

A leader says, "Trust me to guide you and I will lead
you to trust your inner wisdom and teach you skills
to live a life that you love."

Take a look deep within and honestly ask yourself
why you need to be a boss. Is it because that is
the way you were raised? Is it because deep
down you believe that you are powerless and
you need to be in control to be powerful? 
Is it because you are afraid that your child
won't turn out the way you think 
he should turn out if you are not the boss?

These are very tough questions. If you are willing
to really look at them, you are ready to dive into
the arena of conscious parenting where your
leadership skills will empower your children
and inspire them to believe in themselves.

A child who's spirit is guided and honoured is
a child that sees life with eyes that have not
been darkened with negative self-limiting beliefs.

Being a calm leader is far more powerful than
being a boss and it makes your parenting
journey much more joy filled. Your child is
under your "control" for a very short period
of time. In that time you can inspire this brave
little soul with great skill and wisdom.

With that kind of power you can change the world. 

With love and light

Friday, December 23, 2011

Why Your Kids Need You To Be OK

Keeping your cool in a situation is tough even for the most patient.
There are some days when you are just not sure that you can keep
it together and stay out of that typical knee jerk response.

Here is a little eye opener to keep you focused on your child's perspective.
Our kids need us to stay calm so that their world feels stable. To us, a
simple incident is no big deal and we may be able to recover quickly,
however, to a child who has only been on the planet for a few years,
his/her brain cannot process information the same way that you can.

Kids scope out their environment by sensing the energy that is within it;
especially the energy that comes from people that they are strongly
connected to. If they sense that you are in a state of overwhelm, they
tend to "act out" or "misbehave", Why? because they do not have a
better coping strategy as of yet.

Sometimes they just don't know what else to do with the intensity of
the energy that they feel and they respond automatically with fear and
that fear has many faces:

Anger, defiance and /or a complete inability to regulate the strong
emotions that they are trying to process.

When you are calm and when you have taken the necessary time to
recharge your own batteries, you are much better equipped to handle
their big emotions. This does not mean that you need to dive in and
try to find a solution for them to self soothe. If you want to de-escalate
a volatile situation here are some basic steps:

1) Stop what you are doing and thinking and breathe. Make
a very conscious effort to just notice what is going on inside
your body and how intense your feelings are.

2) In a calm manner, validate what your child is going through -
this does not mean that you condone behavior this means
that you are taking this moment NOW to tell your child,
"I HEAR YOU and I can see from your eyes".

An example of this would be, " I can hear from your voice
that you are feeling very angry right now about this. I get that
you really wanted to…….I know that this is frustrating for you."
Listen very carefully to your tone - are you sounding
anxious, nervous, furious - take it to neutral.

3) Tell your child that you will be there to help him/her
through his/her feelings. An example of this would be:
" I love you so much and I am going to stay right
here with you and these big feelings." Please note
that this is not followed by a solution - you are not
giving unsolicited advice - you are being an anchor -
a solid rock for your child so that s/he can see there
is someone close-by that s/he can trust who knows
what to do now and who is present.

4) Stay present with your child, you do not need to
look for something to say or something to do. Feel what
your inner guidance is prompting you to do in the moment.
How do you know it is your heart leading the way and
not your head? Focus your attention directly on your
heart - even place your hand there to help you focus
and breathe. You child might ask questions or just
want to vent - be vigilant, don't rush in to answer.
You might feel that is would be best to remain
quiet and just listen.

5) Be prepared for your child to unleash a big
You told your child that you will be there, and
so you must stay and show that you are not
going to fix him/her, you are going to be present
and feel what is required in the moment of this
sacred connection. Just LISTEN and FEEL.

6) If your child says something like,
"You NEVER…… its not fair I can't ever……"
don't get into a power struggle by defending
YOUR position, hold steady and continue to validate,
remember this does not mean that you are agreeing
with or condoning inappropriate behavior, you are
simply acknowledging that you can see through
your child's eyes.

What separates you from your child is the knowing
that you have the capacity to not only see through
his eyes, you probably know what your child should
have done but you do not throw that at your child.
You have the capacity and the wisdom to ask your
child the right questions so that he can come to the
same wise conclusions.

In this way you are not just acting calm you are
BEING a calm leader who responds to your child
like the wise adult that you are. All that you need
to know in the moment will come to you when
you practice connecting to your inner wisdom.

Contact Melinda at:
with your questions on calm leadership and I
would be happy to post them in the monthly
newsletter with a response.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Advocating from a place of love

I recently had a phone coaching session with “Cynthia” who proved
that being a successful advocate for your child does not have to involve
frustration, fear and anger.

Cynthia's son was having alot of problems with his grade 3 teacher;
they just did not seem to understand each other. "Tom" began acting
out in class and refused to focus on tasks. As a result she felt that
punishing him by separating him from the other students would
solve the "problem".

Cynthia also began to look at Tom's behavior as a problem and her
feelings of frustration were pushing her to demand that Tom listen
to his teacher.

Through our coaching conversations, Cynthia began to recognize
Tom's learning style and with a few techniques, she opened the
door to Tom's world and gained powerful insight to the root
of his behavior. Cynthia could have challenged the teacher
and taken the route of "mother bear", instead she opted to
go the conscious parenting route with amazing results.

By engaging the teacher with questions and with her intention
set at working together with the school to help Tom find his
"place" Cynthia navigated her way to success. With
perseverance and a heart centred approach that demonstrated
to everyone involved that she was committed to helping
her son and that she was inviting the school to support her
efforts - she was able to work with the teacher and principle
in a co-creative effort that supported Tom's learning style.

This led to Tom's behavior transformation from
"troublesome" to trouble free.

Tom was being "heard" and appreciated. His mother made the
effort and connected with her inner guidance to lead the school
and her son to a place of balance that worked for the school
and supported her son.

Being a successful advocate requires that you trust your instincts,
listen deeply to the messages your child is giving you, verbal
and non verbal, ask questions that create connections and be
willing to work with the school in a co-creative effort.
When the principle and teacher involved felt Cynthia's confidence,
clarity and willingness to work towards a solution, the path that
lead to exactly what Tom needed began to unfold.

Cynthia, who made the choice to be a conscious parent,
began to see the opportunities not the obstacles and allowed
her inner wisdom to lead the way. It always amazes me that with
the right intention, with unwavering focus and with love, out of
nothing and no way, we can find a way.

With love and light
Melinda Asztalos

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Unlocking Unconscious Patterns

Have you ever caught yourself saying something
to your child and remarking to yourself,
"That sounded exactly like my mom (my dad)".
Sometimes this is followed by a chuckle
because we are reflecting the comfort and
nurturing that we have experienced from
the way that we were parented, other
times we are mortified because we've
repeated a way of being that we swore
as young adults, we would never adopt.

Right or wrong, good or bad is a lot
less important than becoming aware
of unconscious patterns. The more
aware we become the easier it gets
to make choices in the moment
that reflect who we want to be.

When we parent unconsciously, we are
parenting in "reactive" mode. When "hot"
buttons are pushed that cause parents
to either react intensely or to withdraw
completely, there is an indication here
that there is a potential for growth
present. Your child has just helped you
to identify a pattern or an issue that
brings forward something that is important
or painful or both.

I remember telling my daughter one Friday
evening as we were grocery shopping that I would
be going to a seminar on the following Saturday
and that her favorite babysitter would be with
her for most of the afternoon. My daughter paused,
then looked at me with tears in her eyes and in the
most heartbreaking little voice she told me that
she was feeling very sad because she missed me and
she just wanted to be with mommy - then she began
to cry softly. I got down on my hands and knees in
the parking lot and looked her in the eye and
I could feel my entire being become overwhelmed
with pity and empathy and I felt a deeply distraught
feeling in the pit of my stomach.

I pulled myself together in that moment and made
a conscious choice to be fully present in the moment.
I recognized, painfully, in that very moment,
I was on the verge of projecting one of my childhood
experiences onto my daughter, seeing her
as myself feeling alone, scared and vulnerable.
I decided to pull back on the emotional onslaught
and simply to relate to this child in front of me,
dealing with this situation, in this moment.

I proceeded to mirror what she was expressing so
that she would know that I was listening, I then
validated her feelings and we proceeded to find
a way to climb up the emotional ladder together
by recognizing that we were together in the moment
and that we would not waste this moment with
unhappy thoughts of the "projected" future.

Gradually, my daughter eased out of her sadness
and fear and we had a really great evening, not
to mention she had a fabulous time with the
babysitter the next day.

Our feelings are our most sophisticated guidance
sensors. If we can stop in the moment and pay
attention to our feelings, we can become aware
of what we are creating in any given moment.
Being in alignment with the positive things
that we wish to have or achieve means that we
need to generate positive feelings that allow
the receiving of that which we would
like to manifest. Creating habitual patterns
within your family dynamic that resonate with
peace, joy, love or exhiliration, places you
and your family in alignment with your natural
state of being.

Practicing conscious behavior and recognizing
patterns that present a golden opportunity for
growth, will naturally bring about a gradual
state of expanding consciousness. The more that
your consciousness expands and the more you
practice becoming aligned with the harmony,
peace,love, joy, etc. that you desire, the
faster you will understand the power that
you have, that is deliberate and joyous creation
as opposed to creating randomly by default.

Whether we believe it or not, accept it or not,
like it or not, we are the creators of our
experience. We are the creators of that which
we call our life situations. What is it that
we are focusing our attention on? That which
we desire or the lack of it?
What are our dominant thoughts?

When our buttons are being pushed, what is
the drama that takes place inside of us?
Who are we relating to? Are we in the moment
or is there something in the background
that we are trying so hard to defend or justify?

Our beautiful, precious children have
"something on us" that other people in our
lives do not. The ability to push our buttons
like no one else. We can choose to see this
as a tremendous opportunity for growth and
healing. The next time you hear yourself
saying something your mom (or dad) would
say that does not please you, smile to
yourself with love and forgiveness and
embrace the opportunity in front of you.

In love and light,
Melinda Asztalos