Why is it so hard to talk to kids about sex?

So many parents WANT to talk to their kids about puberty, sexuality, love and intimacy. We want our kids to come to us with problems, concerns, and questions and to respond to them honestly about such an important topic. So why is it so hard?

It’s hard because it is REALLY important. It’s hard because we don’t want to screw it up. It’s hard because we don’t have the words to say what we really want to say. Talking to pre-teens about sex requires authenticity. It calls us to be our higher selves. We have to admit we don’t know everything and we can’t protect our child from everything. It’s switching from being the all-knowing-parent-in-charge to the cheerleading-mentor-sideline-coach. It’s admitting ignorance and embarrassment. It’s feeling awkward and vulnerable. It’s feeling the shame of your past mistakes. It’s realizing we, too, are susceptible to the messages the media sends around not being good enough. It’s being open to whatever your kid wants to ask. It’s hearing about the inappropriate video your innocent child saw on the Internet. It’s opening up discussions on other topics like abortion, rape, oral sex, and sexual abuse that send you right back into hiding. It’s scary and so we run from it.

Talking about sex with your child is a big deal and it’s easy to get caught up in the fear, worry, and loss of innocence.

But there is a good part.

When puberty starts, this is our chance to communicate to our children how special they really are. That their bodies can do amazing & magical things and are worthy of being respected. That developing the ability to MAKE HUMAN BEINGS is pretty darn AWESOME!That our kids are powerful and magical and creative and that it all comes from being able to LOVE in a deep and intimate way.That everyone all over the globe has the same magical power.It’s about realizing that we are just as important and wonderful as our parents, that annoying kid in math class, the soccer coach, the homeless man and the President.

When parents and kids talk openly and authentically about sex, it creates a significant bond. When we giggle together, get embarrassed together, feel awkward yet honest together, we feel connected on a deeper level. For kids, it’s about seeing your parent in a new light: a friend, an ally, vulnerable and perfectly imperfect. It forms a bond of friendship that will last a lifetime. For the parent, it’s about letting your child be who they are meant to be. It’s allowing them to grow, to trust and honor them in a whole new way.

Talking to your kids about sex is hard, but we have made it easy. Purchase our Time for The Talk online program to watch with your 9-13 year old today and create a bond that will last a lifetime.

On sale until Tuesday, July 1st

Life Lessons from Facebook

Summer is here and it’s time to give your kids room to explore their individual passions and follow their bliss. But what if all they want to do is play video games? Or it’s day two of vacation and they are already bored and missing their friends?

If your kids passions are inconvenient or unclear, try tuning into your own. Children learn by imitation so one of the best ways to teach your kids to be happy, successful and passionate is to focus on your own life.

No one can tell you what your calling is or who you are meant to be, but you can learn to listen to the whispers the Universe is sending you! Knowing we are here for a reason helps us feel connected to something bigger than ourselves, helps us feel excited and purposeful about our lives, and therefore, is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children.

Before we can teach our kids how to listen, we have to trust it for ourselves. So often we think, “Competitive sports changed my life for the better and taught me so much, so my kids should be in competitive sports.” Or “My success came easily because I learned how to study, get straight A’s, and had lots of friends so I can’t imagine how my child will be successful with her negative attitude towards school.” When we assume our child’s path is the same as ours, it blocks us from seeing them clearly. We end up arguing with them, their teachers, peers, coaches, wishing their personalities were different, instead of remembering we are all perfect as we are.

Learn to listen to the whispers in your own life by doing these two exercises:

1- Start a list of “What I Want/What I don’t Want” and add to it every day. Go on FACEBOOK and notice any posts where you get jealous or annoyed. “I just passed the bar exam!” “Ran 10 miles today!” “Our view of Kailua Beach”. Jealousy isn’t bad, it’s just a sign that you are meant to have that, too. Anything you feel a physical or emotional response to, add it to your “What I want/What I don’t want” list. Whether it’s a vacation, a new job, or going back to school, your higher self knows what’s next for you and it’s always better to pay attention to the whispers instead of waiting for the Universe to knock you upside the head. For example: Shelly was annoyed by her friends tri-athalon posts and everytime they started talking about it, she rolled her eyes and walked away. Once she realized her gag-reflex was a sign from her higher self, she started playing tennis once a week, something she loved doing before her kids were born, and taking more bike rides with her kids. Now she is happy for her friends that they are doing what they love, because she is doing more of what she loves.

2- Look back into your childhood and make a list of your favorite movies, books, TV shows, school subjects, activities, trips, experiences, friends, games to play. Look for the common threads! For example: My favorite things to play were real life games (store, house, school, bank, etc.) and board games (The Game of Life).  My favorite books were Ginnie’s Babysitting Business, The Popularity Plan, and, of course, the Judy Blume collection. The TV shows I liked were Growing Pains and Family Ties (no Star Trek or Crossfire for me!) and when I was 13 I wanted to be “Dear Abby” and write an advice column. If I had known life coaching was a profession, for sure I would have found it sooner. All the signs were there.

Just like me, your kids might invent their own career, or the work they are best suited for, hasn’t been invented yet. To best help them, focus on the big picture and what lights you up, then talk about it out loud.  Recognize the signs the Universe is sending to help you listen to your higher self and theirs. Your kids may not listen to every word you say, but for sure they are watching every move you make!

Want to feel more connected with your purpose? Want to feel fully alive as you help your kids find passion and confidence? Join me for my three week telecourse: Cultivating Passion and Confidence. Sign up by Tuesday, June 17th and get a free life coaching session with me!

How to enjoy your life

I just returned from the best vacation ever. The reason it was so fabulous is because I’ve learned to mind my own business. Five years ago, I would not have been able to enjoy it as much because I was addicted to worry:
“I hope no one misses their flight.”
“I hope no one gets sick before the trip”
“I know I’m forgetting something.”
“What if our luggage gets lost?”
“What if people don’t like the house I chose for us to rent?”
“There is no A/C, everyone is going to be hot and be mad at me.”
“I should help out with my little nephews more.”
“I didn’t do enough of the cooking/kitchen clean up. Is everyone mad at me?”
“I can’t be happy if the kids aren’t happy.”
“What if someone drowns? Get’s stung by a jelly fish? Attacked by a shark?”
“I should have planned it during better weather, I feel bad that it’s so windy/rainy/cold/hot/humid”
“Do they like the food I cooked?”
“Are my parents disgusted by my children’s lack of manners? Are my kids being annoying?
“Am I paying my fair share?”
“Are people bored? Should I make more plans? What if they don’t like the plans I made? Are they just going along to be nice but secretly they are annoyed with me?

EXHAUSTING

Worry and guilt are all-consuming distractions. They feel important and productive, responsible and thoughtful, but they are not. Worry and guilt are decoys. They steal our attention so that we don’t notice how amazing and beautiful and fortunate we are. On this vacation, my thoughts went something like this:
“Wow, this is the most gorgeous place on Earth.”
“How did I get so lucky.”
“The kids are having so much fun.”
“It’s fascinating how happy I can be even when others aren’t.”
“I love it here.”

Even when “bad” things happened, I didn’t take on responsibility for things that weren’t mine. My Mom fainted on a hike after I pushed her to keep going, even though she wanted to go back down. The old me would have felt horribly guilty the rest of the week, the new me says, “Oops, sorry Mom, guess I should have listened to you, next time, I’ll know better.”

We scraped the rental car, we got lost driving at night, kids got hurt and sunburned, we wasted money, we left a bag on the airplane, THINGS HAPPENED.
But life becomes wonderful when you stay in your own business.

The weather, sharks, jellyfish, drownings, faintings, plane crashes, lost luggage, car accidents, I file all these under “God’s business”

Are my family members hot, cold, annoyed, pleased, happy, sad, frustrated, hungry, bored? I file these under “Their business.”

“My business” is how I feel, what I think, and the actions I take. When I feel worry and guilt rising up, I ask myself, “What here is my business?” and “What action can I take?” I apologize, contribute more, turn on a ceiling fan, put on more sunscreen and then let everything else go. If there is no clear action to take, the worry is unproductive, wasteful, and I blow it off.
I use worry as a springboard to gratitude. I allow in the goodness. I accept the awesome and appreciate the beauty. I feel the joy.

And it’s amazing how good, good can be.

My secret trick to motivate yourself and your kids

Do you want to inspire your kids to work harder? Contribute more? Feel proud of themselves? Recognize their accomplishments? Be inspired? Feel motivated? Well I have a secret little motivational trick to share with you that works like a charm.

When I was in college I lived in a house with 5 girls. None of us really knew how to clean but every few months the filth grew to intolerable levels and we would start complaining. “She always leaves her stuff out” “I can’t walk barefoot or her breakfast residue sticks to my feet” Basically, “Someone ELSE needs to clean this house but it shouldn’t be me!”. We tried nagging, chore charts, team efforts, passive-aggressive maneuvers, but nothing worked as well as this magic trick: Permission to BRAG. We tacked up a piece of paper and every time you did something brag-worthy, you wrote it down. Everyone wanted recognition and to be viewed as a team player, and soon we were racing to take out the garbage so we could write it on our brag chart.

Bragging, done right, celebrates our accomplishments and inspires us to continue working hard to do good things for ourselves and the world. My partner and I (in TimeforTheTalk.com) start our weekly meetings with brags. I ask clients to email me their brags in between coaching calls. At dinner time, my family and I go around the table and brag about ourselves.

Bragging got a bad rap when it was tied with superiority. To imply “I am better than someone else” is not the energy to cultivate in your home. To brag with “I am amazing, beautiful, hard working, and so is everyone else” is the kind energy I want to be surrounded by.

What you see in others is a reflection of what you see in yourself so when you see the world as judgmental, it means you have a lot of judgment. When you see the world as a scary place, it means you have a lot of fear. You cannot view the world as beautiful and inspiring, if that doesn’t reside inside of you. In order to be surrounded by positivity, you must first learn to cultivate it in yourself.
In our busy, never good enough world, it’s easy to get bogged down by all we have yet to accomplish. Our to-do lists, shortcomings, and mistakes never seem to end. Switching your focus to what you ACCOMPLISHED and what you are PROUD of, motivates and inspires you to do more of the same.

Here’s some brags from my clients (whose names I’ve changed) so they will let me share:
Kayla thought she hated her job but didn’t know what other kind of work she wanted to do. After only a few weeks of coaching, she realized she actually liked her work, but hated her commute. She realized that if she could ride her bike every day, that’s all it would take to make her happy. Six months later, she has moved out of state, works at her kitchen table for the same company, and rides her bike everyday when she takes her kids to and from school.

Maya was an empty nester. With her kids off at college, her days seemed to drag on with not enough things to fill them. She had a job, friends, activities, but they all left her feeling dissatisfied. Even things she used to enjoy left her feeling empty and unfulfilled. After a few months of coaching, Maya has accepted her calling and living the life she was meant to live. I’ll let you hear it from her, “I feel excited about life again! Even though this journey is scary and my self-doubt follows me wherever I go, I am loving this new exciting adventure I am on. I even secretly couldn’t wait for the kids to leave again after winter break so I could get back to my new life (I can’t believe I admitted that). Now I find there just isn’t enough time in the day to do all the creative things I want to do, which is a huge change!”

Now it’s your turn! If you want to create a more positive, inspiring world, leave a brag below! When you acknowledge your goodness, you give permission for everyone else to do the same. And don’t you think our world needs more goodness?

Here’s a few of my brags:
I wrote my blog today and if you are reading this, it means I also got my newsletter out!

I had a wonderful weekend skiing with my family and instead of worrying about the expense of it (an old pattern of mine), I focused on how happy I was to financially contribute to the ski resorts in a difficult, drought year.

Despite strong temptation, I have not posted anything about my kids on facebook that would embarrass them. And they seem to be embarrassed by just about anything these days, even brags! 🙂

Now you go….I dare ya!

Do you dread the holidays?

Whether it’s the divorce, the strained relationships, the passive aggressive agendas or the drunken political commentaries, holiday gatherings can bring out the worse in us. Here are the top 5 reasons why you dread this time of year and how to make it better.

1. You believe you HAVE TO participate. Believing you HAVE TO, is like building a prison around yourself and throwing away the key. Nobody likes feeling powerless. Recognize that you are CHOOSING to participate in this awkward family gathering, because you prefer it over the alternatives. If you opt out, your wife may divorce you, your Dad will write you out of his will, or everyone will talk bad about you while your gone. As concentration camp survivor Viktor Frankl once said, “there are two ways to go to the gas chamber, free or not free”. If he can walk to the gas chamber with freedom, surely you can choose to visit your in-laws. Or not. Stay home, go to the neighbors, pass out food to the homeless. Celebrate your freedom of choice with pride, not guilt or blame.

2. You are pointing your finger the wrong way. Although it’s easier to blame our family, what we really don’t like is who WE become when we are around them. Terri turns into a wimpy doormat when she’s around her Mom. Kevin’s own inadequacies get triggered when his brother brags about his accomplishments. Julie gets embarrassed by her children’s poor behavior and becomes “Mean Mommy”, embarrassing herself even more. Realizing it’s YOU and YOUR BEHAVIOR that bugs you, gives you the power to change it. Ask yourself, “How can I be true to myself, even while surrounded by family?” Focus on what you value and ignore the rest. Every time Terri felt overshadowed by her Mom, she focused on the beautiful things around her. Kevin doesn’t value being reminded of his shortcomings, but he does value cheering on his favorite football team. Julie made sure she used HER best manners by focusing her attention on the lovely food and interesting company. Commit to being a person YOU like and experiencing the things YOU value.

3. The holidays bring up unprocessed emotions from the past. We aren’t meant to live perfect & easy lives. We are meant to learn and grow and the holidays can be a time of great teaching, if we let it. What genuine emotion are you trying NOT to feel that the holidays stir up in you? Sadness? Anger? Embarrassment? Fear? Find a quiet place where you can lock the door and allow yourself to feel whatever feeling wants to come up. Ask yourself, “Where in my body do I feel this feeling?” “What does it feel like?” “What color is it?” “Does it have a shape?” “Does it have a sound?” If you can OBSERVE and ALLOW this feeling to be in your body, it will move through you in about 90 seconds. If you avoid, suppress, or fight feeling this feeling, it can stay with you for a lifetime of holidays. Sink into your emotions like you sink into a bathtub. Soak for a while in whatever shows up. When the water gets cold, stand up knowing your emotions don’t have power over you.

4. You don’t like your reality. There’s nothing like a family reunion to remind us that we are still unemployed, still single, still broke, still fat, still addicted, still inadequate and unworthy. But when my clients look at what they say to themselves, they are WAY harder on themselves than any family member. Mom- “How’s that diet going that you started last year?” Your self talk- “Oh God, here we go again, my mom knows I’m fat and lazy and it’s nobody’s fault but mine and I suck. I’m an undisciplined loser.” Mom’s self talk- “I care about her and wish I knew how to help her.”  Make peace with your reality so no one has the power to trigger you. I weigh 50 lbs. more than I’d like to and that’s ok. I am $19,000. in debt and that’s ok. My car is 15 years old and that’s ok. My kid has anxiety and that’s ok. Be sure to speak only facts, not opinions. You are not stupid, poor, fat, or a bad parent. People will always judge you, but you get to decide how you judge yourself and there is great freedom in making peace with the circumstances of your life.

5. You take family too seriously! Stop “shoulding” all over your family and put the FUN back in dysFUNctional. Your family should not be perfect, nice or welcoming. They are who they are and like it or not, they are yours. Pretend like your holiday gathering is a movie, would it be a comedy or a drama? Study the characters, their mannerisms, voice tone, and words, so you can act them out later. Write a script before hand and see how close you get to reality. Watch the movie play out and re-write the ending to make it funnier. Get together with a friend after and see whose family is craziest.

This is your life, your family and your holiday. Make sure the best of you shows up for it. Use it as a time to grow personally and become aware of areas you still need to make peace with. If you are tired of letting the holidays bring you down, schedule a life coaching session with me and we’ll make this your best year yet.