Tag Archives: Parent Coach

Modern Parenting’s Contemplative Roots

250_New-Fiddlehouse-SigI was reading Richard Rohr’s Saturday meditation from the Center for Action and Contemplation today and was impressed by how well it complimented what we know to be the best of “current” parenting. Should I be surprised by this? I suppose not since over and over again I’ve found the parallel between the ancient and timeless contemplative wisdom and what we think of as the “new best practices.”

In his reflection “Moralism Instead of Mysticism” Fr. Richard points out that moralism tells us we need to change and “do things right” in order to be loved and accepted. Many of us were parented this way and heard this message in church, school etc. It’s easy for our own children to get this message from us (even if we don’t mean to send it) and the world in which we live, work, and learn.

The contemplative perspective is inspired by the mystics who tell us that “what empowers change, what makes you desirous of change, is the experience of love and acceptance itself. This is the engine of change.” Fr. Richard continues, “when you fall into God’s mercy, when you fall into God’s great generosity, you find, seemingly from nowhere, this capacity to change.”

It’s not much of a stretch to paraphrase the message above and hear the voice of what I’ve come to call contemplative parenting.  When we immerse our children in generous acceptance, love, and encouragement, they gain capacity to change, grow, thrive and overcome all of the challenges they face. To use the language of the Nurtured Heart Approach, we nurture their greatness. Present Moment Parenting would say we are downloading positives into their heart. The foundation of the parent coaching I offer, both of these approaches are INCREDIBLY effective with challenging behaviors, including ADHD.

Even parenting approaches that emphasize natural and logical consequences, boundaries, and an authoritative stance are most effective with a foundation of unconditional love, acceptance, and positive regard.

Get in touch if you’re interested in more information about personal or parent coaching.

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Posted by on January 15, 2013 in Present Moment Parenting


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Not the Supernanny

At Fiddlehouse, we teach and use Present Moment Parenting. This approach was developed by Tina Feigal of Parenting Mojo and the Center for the Challenging Child. I am a certified Parent Coach and was trained by Tina in Present Moment Parenting at Adler Graduate School, Richfield, MN. “What’s a parent coach? Is that like the Supernanny?”

The answer is a resounding no. I apply the best of child development, education, and psychology when I provide coaching in Present Moment Parenting. I am not trying to create entertainment or get ratings. I am helping you be the best parent to your child.

Tina wrote a great article that is published on-line that talks about this. Click here to see Why I’m Not Like the Supernanny.


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Surprise Kids with Quality Time

Mommy was out of town, so I and boys Braden (4) and Cullen (1.5) were on our way up to the Shoreview Community Center, which is our favorite place to blow off a bunch of pent-up little boy energy during the winter months. We like to go the big indoor playground since he gym is usually full of too many stray basketballs to make it safe for Cullen to play freely. The boys were getting excited as we drove, and then we passed Flaherty’s Arden Bowl.

“Look Dad, it’s the bowling alley,” Braden observed.

“Yeah…” I started to say and then an idea hit me. “Would you like to go bowling?”

“Do you mean now?” He said, not quite sure what to make of this novel idea.

“Yeah, we could go bowling for a little bit and  then go up to the community center.” Braden was kind of shocked in good way. He couldn’t believe I was being so spontaneous. He has only been to a bowling alley once, with all of his older cousins, so the experience still held a lot of wonder and excitement for him. After putting on some cool looking shoes and being given a special 6 pound kid ball, he was ready to go.

We had a great time. Sure, it took his ball a good 5-10 seconds to get down the lane, but he still did a little happy dance every time he knocked a few pins down. Because there was too much room and two many heavy, toe busting balls around to let a one-and-a-half year old go free, I had to bowl with a toddler in one arm and swing a 15 pounder (ball, not kid) with the other.

My score was only slightly higher than Braden’s, but there’s nothing better than having your four-year-old yell, “NICE SHOT DAD!” and give you a high five.

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Posted by on March 2, 2011 in Stories


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Boys, Kindergarten, & ADHD

Barry MacDonald started a buzz when he published his summer Boy Smarts News on the topic of boy’s development and if the start of kindergarten should be delayed for boys to give them a more equal start. The response about that topic came back strongly that it really depended on the individual boy. No big surprise there, but what grew out of it was a surprising discussion about ADHD diagnosis and boys who start kindergarten early.

Teachers and staff are stretched very thin and don’t often have the resources needed to adequately assess the educational needs of children. Very few have had adequate training in holistic, effective, positive behavior guidance. Without this, it’s difficult or impossible to address the normal and often challenging behaviors of children.

ADHD has become the “go to” diagnosis for boys when there’s a challenge in classrooms, daycares, and school-age care programs. However, misdiagnosis often has tragic consequences. Karen Elkins, a consultant to parents of children suspected of having learning or behavioral problems, has this sto say: “Too often children who can’t keep up or exhibit disruptive behavior become loosely labeled  with ADHD or some other behavior or learning disability. Sadly, once kids get labeled this way, it’s often very difficult to get them un-labeled. over time, unless core issues are addressed, these children suffer and get left behind.” This doesn’t even mention the unknown and possibly very negative long-term effects of stimulant medication for children. Karen recommends that parents seek a thorough assessment to understand root causes before jumping to conclusions or solutions. Often ADHD diagnosis can be very subjective, especially when teachers are comparing children in the same classroom or learning environment.

But is all of this fuss just an attempt to get more press attention? Is it really much ado about nothing? Not according to Todd Elder of Michigan State University who did research that clearly shows that ADHD misdiagnosis is more common for children who are younger than their kindergarten classmates. This study takes care to avoid downplaying the existence or significance of legitimate ADHD in children, but indicates that similar students have significantly different ADHD diagnosis rates depending on when their birthday falls in relation to the school year. Elders study is soon to be published in the Journal of Health Economics. A pre-publidshed version is available to read online on the website. There’s also an article about it in the Vancouver Sun Times: One in five kids possibly misdiagnosed: study.

The behavior guidance techniques that I coach parents and educators in at Fiddlehouse are very effective at helping kids with ADHD as well as many other diagnosed and undiagnosed challenges. In fact, many children who were well on the way to an ADHD diagnosis no longer displayed the behaviors that got them there after parents and educators used the techniques that I teach. Be sure to get in touch if you would like to talk more about anything in this posting: or 651-274-0031.

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Posted by on September 18, 2010 in Present Moment Parenting


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Quality time and community service

For many fathers, thFather and Son Workingeir faith community is the best resource for intentional time with their sons. Dad and son breakfasts, camping trips, softball games and retreats are just a few of the excellent opportunities available at Twin Cities congregations for quality time.

Besides recreation, however, churches are one of the best places for dads to teach their sons about service to others and the community. This is important because boys who engage in service have a stronger sense of identity and belonging, especially when they serve with their dads. They learn about the intrinsic rewards of altruism and can begin to develop a personal ethic of responsibility for themselves and their community. If that doesn’t make it worth it, many stories provide anecdotal evidence that serving others helps prevent depression in boys and can even pull a depressed kid out of the doldrums. For more information and ideas follow this link to the Minneapolis Dads and Sons Examiner page.


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