Holding hands

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Calming Holiday Tip

Are you panicking, even a little, over the Holidays? With all the stress around family, food, traveling and unmet expectations, it's not surprising!

When you're more stressed, it's a given your child will also be more stressed. His or her stress (think overwhelm) will show up in behavior like not listening...even more than usual! Why? Because dys-regulation causes the left brain - the part that thinks in words - to go off line.


The more you remember to breathe, the calmer you'll feel. That'll shift the vibes and have a positive effect on your child. Then...rather than wearing yourself out repeating the same thing over and over, find a non-verbal way to get the result you want.

For example: Instead of repeatedly calling across the room, "Come over here!" Go to your child. Confidently take her hand or playfully scoop him up and bring him to you.

You'll conserve your energy, maintain your sanity and enjoy your Holidays so much more!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Parent Advisory!

**WARNING** Due to the recent change from daylight savings to standard time, your child may be crankier, more demanding, more prone to meltdowns and fighting with siblings.


Re-setting the clock throws off our circadian rhythm which causes our bodies extra stress for a few days or even a week or more. While adjusting to this change, both you and your child may have a smaller window of tolerance (ie: be closer to the breaking point.) Your child won't know that s(he)'s stressed out, but that's what his or her behavior will be telling you. Instead of letting it get to you, EXPECT IT an BE PROACTIVE!

Here are 5 stress-busting strategies to make this a more peaceful week:

#1 Make it easy - for example: order pizza (even if it's not something you usually do.) A good question to ask yourself is, "What is the one thing I require today to make my life easier?" And then give yourself that gift.

#2 Minimize activities for your child this week (If you must do something extra, be really, really selective and DON'T do it at night.)

#3 Eat "early" - your child's tummy doesn't know the clocks changed! (Remember..being hungry is a stress.)

#4 When it comes to bedtime: Start early! Stay on task! Breathe! Are you hoping your child will sleep later because s(he) goes to bed later? NOT happening!

#5 Since your child is going to wake up early anyway - and you probably will too...why not start a new habit in the morning and use that extra time to simply hang out or cuddle with your child for a few minutes. It will release Oxytocin, and you and your child will feel calm, close and connected. Can you imagine a better way to start the day?

In conclusion, when the going gets rough, REMEMBER WHY your child is acting the way s(he) is and say, "We're all a bit dys-regulated because of the time change but WE'RE GOING TO BE OK!"

In support,


PS: What are YOU looking for this holiday season?? Let me know right away by emailing me at kathy@parentingbeyondwords.com, messaging me on fb @Kathy Whitham or replying to this post and I'll be sure to include tips for exactly that in my upcoming holiday bonus report, "10 Must Have Strategies to Stay Sane and Peaceful This Holiday Season!"

Friday, October 21, 2011

A timely tip to build self-confidence

October 2011

I'm back! Did September go as fast for you as it did for me? Can I be honest with you? I've been letting the fact that I "should" have connected with you sooner freeze me up from just sitting down and writing to you. So today I got support by telling my hubby how immobile I was feeling and I took action by walking to my local coffee shop to write to you. I decided to free up the energy that it takes to NOT do something and remember my own advice - connection matters more than perfection!

I love the way you inspire me!


When my kids were little we would spend a lot of time at my parent's house. It was like a window into my own childhood. Lunch would go something like this: Are you ready for lunch? Do you want bologna or peanut butter? Do you want your bread toasted? Butter? Cut in triangles or squares? It's a lot to ask of a little kid!

In our desire to make our children happy and give them what they want, we have to be careful that we don't shift the parenting responsibility to them. Too many questions can feel overwhelming to a child. By taking responsibility, as the parent, for decisions about what's best for your child, you model self-confidence, build trust and become a secure anchor for your child.

Next time try, "It's lunch time. Here's your favorite sandwich." YOU know when they need to eat and what they like.

In Support,

PS: Would you like help with your parenting challenges? You can easily schedule a 50 minute Peace at Home Parenting Consultation here:

Friday, September 2, 2011

Defining Success

As I sit at the kitchen table drinking warm ginger tea at dusk on a summer cool, New England evening, the question of how I define success as a mompreneur is tumbling in my head.

I find myself thinking that I would definitely be drinking coffee were it morning. Earlier today I had an epiphany that I don’t like being told that coffee’s not good for me! I gather myself around my coffee in the morning and take pleasure in the deliciousness of the dark, locally-roasted fresh-ground beans brewing their scent into the kitchen. Yup! Today I stopped “shoulding” on my coffee and decided to simply enjoy it without apology - a good metaphor, don’t you think?

My cup of Bali or Ethiopian anchors and inspires me as I plan the business of my day - listening inside to what I require to move my business forward and feel fulfilled at the end of the day. The answers come as I sip.

As a mompreneur, I can now put all the energy I want into the entrepreneur part without having to work around my three kids - now grown. But it wasn’t always like this and it’s the MOM part of mompreneur where I measure my success.

Back when they were younger, I was single and self-employed. I don’t even think the word mompreneur existed. Mostly, I felt overwhelmed and exhausted trying to survive each day, be a good mom and make money in a way that was both flexible and satisfying. Looking back, I would give anything to have known how to get the support I so desperately needed so I could have been calmer and more present with my kids and been able to enjoy them the way I wanted. At the time, I saw no alternative to being superwoman. This left me stressed out and physically compromised.

As my kids got older, I began to understand the impact my stress was having on them and knew I needed to change. With support, I became more emotionally present, and began to take better care of myself. I realized I didn’t have to do it all. These changes were key to the amazing relationships I have with my children and the creation of a business that allows me live my passion by helping families enjoy peace and harmony at home. At the core of my success is knowing that connection matters more than perfection.

So how do I define success? I look into the face of each of my children: The sweet dancing eyes of my oldest daughter who reclaimed her life from drugs 5 years ago and now lives with gusto, laughter and love; The deep turquoise pools of courage and determination in my middle one to boldly live the full beauty and expression of who he is; and the copper reflection, in my youngest son, of the brilliance, longing and possibility of a dancing physicist.

When I look at them...I see success.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Squat and Breathe

I just got back from California where with a mix of wonder, amazement and pride, I joyously watched my baby boy graduate from The College of Creative Studies at U.C. Santa Barbara.

Looking at my son, John, and his fellow graduates in all their brilliance and creativity, I could see a future of infinite hope and possibility. I could also see...I've been a good Mom.

Well, it's June! School's ending. Summer's starting. I imagine there are a number of ways you might be feeling about that. There's no "right" way to feel, but I'm curious, "How is that for you?"

I really want to support you with exactly the tips you need for calm, confident parenting all summer long! To do this, I need you to answer two questions:

1) "What's your biggest parenting challenge?"

2) "What's the one burning question you wish you could ask me about parenting or discipline?"

You will find a link at the bottom of this post to easily answer these questions for me so I can send my most relevant parenting tips to your inbox every 2 weeks ... cool, huh?

Are you a scary giant?

I know it might sound unreasonable, but when your little one starts to get dys-regulated, (i.e. starts whining, being defiant, or melting down) getting down to your child's level can make the difference between a situation that ESCALATES and one that SETTLES DOWN. So squat down to his or her level and breathe.

Did you know your child could feel threatened simply by you standing over them? It's true! That's because a young child's brain is still dominated by the amygdala, the primitive, survival brain responsible to protect them from danger. Squatting down immediately decreases your child's unconscious fear response and breathing is regulating for you.

From this level it's also much easier to establish eye contact - not by trying to force it, but from a place of calm presence. This kind of eye contact calms your child down and helps you and your child feel closer. Why? Because it releases oxytocin, the anti-stress hormone in your child's brain (and yours too!)

Can you imagine how good it will feel to be the safe haven in the storm rather than the thunder?

In support,


P.S. Please go to this link now and answer the two questions. http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/F32MDLD

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Wizard of Oz & Mr. T...huh?

You know how in the "Wizard of Oz" the wizard appears big and loud and frightening and mean?

Remember at the end when Dorothy and her three friends are cowering before him ..... Toto pulls the curtain back to reveal a small, uncertain, scared little man hiding the curtain?

In my recent tele-class, I compared your child's challenging behaviors like: defiance, disrespect, aggression and even withdrawal to the big, scary projection of the wizard. I showed you that if you pull back the curtain you'll see a small, scared, overwhelmed child behind those behaviors.

With that in mind, I just had to share this short, fun video in which my friend and mentor, child behavior expert, Bryan Post, shows how "time-in" gets through to the scared child behind the curtain.

Doesn't it make sense to lovingly connect to your child when he or she feels overwhelmed?

Watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxFvQI89z4c

Mom ... Dad ... This is where it's at!

What do you think?