Parents are so excited when they try a new parenting strategy and it actually works. They get inspired, keep trying, and most of the time they succeed. Confidence grows and kids feel it. Below are some of the Parent Success Stories about building emotional connection, setting limits, and solving problems with kids, you’ll find in Cynthia’s book, Ally Parenting: A Non-Adversarial Approach to Transform Conflict Into Cooperation.
Parents Work Together as a Winning Team
We participated in private parenting coaching with Cynthia, and as a result, we’ve experienced greater harmony together as parents. Since we have the same parenting approach now, it feels like we’re working as a team to face our child-rearing challenges. Our relationship as a couple has also improved.
Here are our personal experiences of learning effective new skills for parenting our 8-year-old daughter.
Mother: Participating in private parenting education training with Cynthia has given my husband and me a unified approach to raising our sensitive child together. Understanding communication blocks has been helpful in improving our relationship with one another as well as with our daughter.
One of my main goals for our coaching with Cynthia was to reduce my upsets with my daughter, which I’m happy to report I’ve been able to do.
Cynthia has taught me to understand my daughter more and to listen to her emotions rather than argue with her and try to control her. My daughter and I have also created ways in which she can manage her own frustrations before they get out of control. I feel much happier about the way I’m interacting with my daughter, and I will continue to use the parenting tools Cynthia has taught us.
Father: One of my main goals for working with Cynthia was to improve my daughter’s behavior and have her show respect by listening more to adults. I realized that I would use logic to try to get her to change, which wasn’t working.Cynthia taught me the importance of listening to and acknowledging my daughter’s emotions first. Doing so has improved my connection with her. My daughter is still challenging, yet I am focusing on how I can interact with her more effectively to help bring out better responses from her.
Special Time and Empathy Create an Agreeable 5-Year-Old Son
My husband and I came to Cynthia because of our high-spirited and creative son who hates time limits and doing what he is told. We struggle with every daily activity. We discussed the goals of behavior with Cynthia and realized that our son is getting connection and power through undue attention seeking and rebellion rather than through cooperation and independence.
We had gotten into negative reactions with him that has caused a vicious cycle. We decided to focus on connecting with him first thing in the morning through giving him attention and positive power. We set the timer for five minutes and he directs the play to do whatever he wants with one of us. We don’t do video games or watch T.V. Just fun together creating laughter.
I was worried that when the timer went off, he would have a tantrum. Instead, he just groaned, and I said, “We’re having fun. We’ll do it again tomorrow.” Then he was fine and we had the best morning ever. He was actually agreeable. Just five minutes of him being in control of playtime with us filled his need for power and connection in a positive way. We’ll keep doing devoted play each morning. Thanks, Cynthia.
Dad Stays Quiet So Teen Talks More
My wife and I recently started the month-long Accelerated Wisdom Program with Cynthia.
We came to Cynthia primarily to open up communication with our 13-year-old daughter. She wasn’t telling us much about what she was thinking or feeling, and that was a concern due to the many potential issues teens face.
At the end of our initial four-hour session, I was astonished to realize that what I thought were empathetic and encouraging comments were actually keeping our daughter from talking.
I would say things that apparently felt like an interrogation or were about me rather than her. I learned that these are two communication blocks called interrogating and me-tooism.
I knew that what I was doing wasn’t the best, but I didn’t know why or what to do instead. Cynthia totally understood my communication errors. I left our first session focused on stopping myself so that our daughter would have space to talk.
That week, our daughter came home and told us that she wanted to drop a class at school. I wanted to cut her off and jump in with my ideas and a story about myself, which would have shut her down in the past. Instead, I remembered that I needed to give her space to talk, so I stopped. I just said, “Okay,” in a non-committal way.
I was amazed that our daughter kept talking! I was even able to say that we could talk about it more later and help her make a decision, if she wanted.
My awareness and willingness to try Cynthia’s advice has made me feel closer to our daughter. I think she will learn to trust me more and share more as I keep practicing listening openly without judgment, interrupting her, or talking about myself.
Thank you so much, Cynthia. Your wisdom is amazing, and you give us the exact guidance we need.
Work With Your Child to Build Cooperation and Better Behavior
My son is 9 years old and loves to argue with me. He wants to challenge and disagree with everything I say. For example, if I tell him not to lean on the rope in the water, he’ll lean on it just to let me know who’s boss. I came to Cynthia for help because using time-outs and taking things away weren’t working and made our relationship worse. Cynthia suggested that I work with Jack’s nature. She said that kids like my son do better with facts and encouragement rather than attempts to control.
The day after meeting with Cynthia, I wanted my son to sit farther away from the TV. Rather than saying, “Move back,” I decided to give him information about the possible damage to his eyes that sitting too close to the TV could cause. He responded by moving back and asking me if he was far enough away! I couldn’t believe it. There was no fighting, and I got the result I wanted. Learning how to work with my child rather than working against and controlling him definitely gets the results I want and makes my son and me feel good about one another. Thanks, Cynthia!
Creating More Cooperation With My Daughter
I’m a mom of three children, ages 7, 5, and 3.
I contacted Cynthia primarily because of my 5-year-old daughter’s screaming and my screaming in return. I wanted to learn how to discipline my children more effectively so that they would cooperate. I also wanted a much better relationship with my daughter. I’ve been working with Cynthia for over three months now with amazing results.Cynthia understands the source of my negative behavior as well as my daughter’s, so she can teach me the best solutions possible.
Through her parenting education process, I am making permanent positive changes in my interactions with my children.
Here is an example of how I changed my response to my daughter’s yelling and refusal to cooperate:
Recently, I was trying to make my daughter get ready for bed because it was late. I was focusing on my fears about what would happen if she didn’t go to bed. She resisted my “coaxing” and made controlling statements like, “I’ll come when I want to.”
In the past, I would have stayed stuck in my own thoughts, yelled louder, and started threatening her with consequences.
If I yelled, she would have continued to yell back at me. She might have finally come to bed, yet the result would have been an awful feeling between us. I would’ve been considered the “mean mommy.”
Through Cynthia’s wisdom and knowledge and my continual practice, this time I was able to stop myself from yelling.
Instead, I said, “I’m going to take care of your brother. Come to bed when you’re ready.” I walked away calmly, and she soon followed. She felt powerful, and I didn’t engage in the power struggle. I could understand myself, which led to managing my own emotional triggers.This is just one example of how I’ve gone from believing I’ll never be able to change to actually making changes that feel good and building closer relationships with my kids. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with Cynthia to create a harmonious home.
Parents Turn a Chaotic Home Into a Cooperative Home
When my husband and I first sought Cynthia’s help, our home was a pretty chaotic place. We have three kids, and we were having difficulty getting them to do their chores and take accountability for their actions without threats of taking away screen time, cell phones, or play time. These threats and punishments didn’t seem to change their behaviors over time, and my frustration as a parent was building.
I had attended two of Cynthia’s seminars over the past few years, and what she said made a lot of sense to me, but I wasn’t sure how to implement her strategies over a sustained period of time. My husband and I decided to invest the time and money in her individual parenting coaching program. Working one-on-one with Cynthia has made a huge difference in how we parent and how our kids respond to us. We learned how to set better personal boundaries, which of our behaviors cause our kids to tune us out, and how to engage with our kids in a more productive way.
It’s been a real blessing, especially for my relationship with my teenage daughter. Our daughter was having a hard time, and we couldn’t figure out how to guide and support her. We were getting caught up in her behavior and weren’t able to see what was behind it or how to deal with it. Through our sessions with Cynthia, we were able to create an effective plan and structure that helped our daughter become more independent, develop life skills, and improve her mood and outlook on the world. She and I have a better relationship because of our time with Cynthia, and I feel more confident to go through the teenage years with our kids because of the tools I’ve learned from Cynthia. I know that we will continue to check in with Cynthia over the years to stay on track and continue growing as parents.
Mom and Dad Create Family Unity with Teenage Son
My husband and I received parenting support from Cynthia for 1½ years with wonderful results. We attended one of Cynthia’s parenting seminars because we had been suffering through four years of an intense relationship with our teenage son who was 16 years old at the time. We were raised in China and believed we should have control over our son. He didn’t agree, so he stopped sharing with us.
Our goal was to improve our communication with our son. Cynthia taught us about communication blocks and how to decide whether you or your teenager has ownership for solving a problem. “Communication blocks?” We had never heard of them. We thought the problem was that our son didn’t listen to us, that he had the problem and needed to change, not us. Cynthia told us that if we changed, our son would change.
We hired Cynthia as our private parenting coach. After meeting with her for just two hours, we were impressed with how she was able to analyze our situation and point out what we were doing that caused our problem.
Cynthia encouraged us to talk with our son about communication blocks and ask for his opinion about them. We told him that we were working on changing. The first step was to stop giving him advice that he wasn’t even listening to. We also learned how to discuss important issues with him without judgment. Through doing so, he felt our respect for his own thoughts and feelings. Because we would sit back and describe the situation, he didn’t feel pushed by us and was, therefore, more open to our thoughts.
For example, we made him the decision maker about which college to attend. We said, “This decision is yours to make.” We listened to his thoughts about each college we visited, and if he didn’t like it, it was off the list, regardless of our opinion. Before working with Cynthia, we would have been very controlling and told him where to apply. We thought that was how to make sure he would be happy. We found out that this controlling approach only made him closed down and unhappy with us.
Over the past 1½ years of individualized parenting education, Cynthia helped us remove our communication blocks step by step, learn the proper parenting role for each problem, accept our son’s opinions, and create a “happy hour” during which we give him total attention.
Now, our relationship is much more relaxed, trusting, and happy. Because of these changes, our son is also happier, more confident, and has expanded his circle of friends. He recently said to us, “You are much better than before.” Cynthia, you are very important to our family, and we greatly appreciate what you have done for us.
Mom Creates a Successful Homework Plan with Son
I’ve been receiving private parenting coaching from Cynthia, and I needed help with my 7-year-old’s son’s resistance to doing homework.
Because I didn’t think he was getting enough practice in school, I enrolled my son in additional tutoring. I had to constantly push him to do his homework as well as his tutoring work. He’d say, “Ok, I’ll do it. I’ll do it.” I would keep pushing, and he would get upset, cry, scream, and say, “I hate tutoring.”
Cynthia helped me realize that I was taking on my son’s homework as if it were totally my issue rather than mine and his. She taught me how to talk with my son about homework being a joint problem to solve together since he is too young to figure out when to do it and to be committed to doing it on his own.
Cynthia suggested that my son and I develop a homework plan together.
My son knows that I’m seeking parenting coaching, so I had a problem-solving discussion with him. Here is how our conversation went:
Mom: “Remember how I’m getting help with parenting? Well, I talked to my coach about the homework battles we’re having. She gave me some homework to do, and I need your help with it. She suggested that we come up with a homework plan together. I shouldn’t be getting so angry and frustrated about you not doing your homework, and you should be taking more ownership for doing your homework. We’ll figure out how you can take part in developing your homework plan so that you’ll know what you’re supposed to be doing.”
Son: “Great, Mom. Now I can help you with your homework like you help me with mine.”
Mom: “Yes. So, tell me, how do you feel about homework?”
Son: “Sometimes, I don’t like it, especially the extra tutoring work I have to do.”
Mom: “What do think about the tutoring work?”
Son: “I don’t like it most of the time.”
Son: “Because it’s hard, and it’s a higher level for me. I get frustrated. Sometimes, I don’t like the homework from school because it’s harder now.”
Mom: “You find the homework hard, and that’s the part you don’t like?”
Mom: “So, when it’s hard, does that make you feel like you’re dumb? Does it frustrate you?”
Son: “Well, no, not really. Most of the time, I don’t feel like I’m dumb.”
Mom: “So, tell me what you really think. What do you think about taking tutoring away?”
Son: “I’m not sure. That’s a really hard question. Well, my tutoring work is hard in the beginning. It gets to newer levels, and it’s way beyond what I know. But, there are good parts, too. Since I’ve been doing the extra reading comprehension work in my tutoring, I found a reading test in school easy.”
Mom: “Yeah! The purpose is to make school easier. Does the tutoring help you feel confident about yourself in school?”
Son: “I feel really good in school this year because I’m ahead of everyone. Last year, I could hardly do addition. I didn’t feel good about myself then.”
Mom: “What do you think, then, about continuing the tutoring?”
Son: “Yeah, I don’t think I want to stop my tutoring. I think I want to keep going.”
Mom: “Ok, we can continue. If you find it difficult, we can talk to the teacher and cut down from 10 pages to 5 pages, keep you on a certain level longer, or go slower. Let me know when it gets too difficult so we can talk to the teacher.”
Mom: “Ok, let’s make a homework plan. When is the best time to do homework?”
Son: “I need time to have a snack first when I come home.”
Mom: “Do you need time to do anything else?”
Son: “Yeah, maybe to play or read to help me relax.”
We decided to use the term “unwind time,” which my son really liked. We set aside 30 minutes of “unwind time” after school each day, 30 minutes to do whatever he wants — snack, read, and/or play.
I identified a potential problem of my son reading for 30 minutes then wanting to eat, and I brought this up to him. He decided on 15 minutes for eating and 15 minutes for fun. He will be responsible for setting a timer. After 30 minutes, he will do his homework first, which should take about 20 minutes. Then, he will do his tutoring work, which should take no more than an hour.
My son suggested a minor change when he has special days. “The plan has to change on the days I have activities,” he said.
For example, today he told me that he is going to come home and eat while doing his homework since he has a special activity. He decided that after homework, he’ll do his activity, come home, and then do his tutoring work so he can go to his friend’s house to watch the basketball game.
My son was looking forward to taking on responsibility for following his homework plan. We both signed the agreement and posted it.
This morning, he woke up excited and said, “Mom, I’m so happy that I have a plan today about my homework.” Then, Cynthia reminded me to set up a check-in date. I’m worried that my son won’t keep following our plan. She explained that everyone needs to be recharged when they make a determination. Rather than getting mad at him if he starts to slip and feeling like I have to start nagging, have a check-in session. Discuss again how it’s going and remind him how much better he feels when he takes responsibility rather than having me take over and nag him.
I am so excited to be viewing homework as a joint problem to solve together with my son and to be using my collaborative parenting role skills so I won’t feel taken advantage of and used. Thank you so much, Cynthia.
Added Note from Cynthia: Because children often don’t stay excited about doing homework, this mom also used the Director Role After-Then Strategy to ensure follow-through.
©2017 Cynthia Klein, Bridges 2 Understanding, has been a Family Success Coach since 1994. She works with parents and organizations who want more cooperation, mutual respect and understanding between adults and children. Cynthia presents her expertise through speaking and private parenting coaching sessions. She works with parents of 5 – 25 year-old children.
To learn how Cynthia can help you solve your specific challenges, contact Cynthia at www.bridges2understanding.com, email@example.com, or 650. 679.8138 to have a complementary 45-minute discovery session. Why keep suffering? It’s time to change!