The Fundamental Question Neither Alexa nor Siri Can Answer, But We Must

Recently, as I waited for an appointment at a coffee shop, I noticed a table with a dad, a woman that seemed like a good friend, and an older twinkling-eyed lady that from all indications was a special out-of-town guest. She talked with an accent and had brought uniquely crafted gifts for everyone. A girl about ten or eleven, the man’s daughter, sat with them.

Physically beside them, yet emotionally distant, she stared at a cartoon on her iPad and when bored with that inserted ear buds and began swiping her smartphone. While the adults carried on an animated conversation with lots of laughter, the girl’s expression remained indifferent. She looked up with the same blank expression when the elder woman offered her a gift. The man thanked the lady. He didn’t cajole the girl to say thanks. He did smile awkwardly as he took the gift, meant for the girl, who didn’t move a muscle to receive it. Not saying a word, the youngster settled back into her screen machine as the adults continued their lively interchange. She stayed that way the entire time. Even when they got up and left, she kept her gaze on her smartphone as she walked out the door, silent, preoccupied.

Like you, I have seen this tech family tableau many times before. Kids glued to a small screen, not present to the 3-D world around them, or all family members tethered to their devices, oblivious of each other. This time was different for me.

As fate would have it, I was reading about a concept called “Robopaths,” developed in 1972 by sociologist Lewis Yablonsky, who worried back then about the toll of a high-tech culture. As I observed the sad scene, I was actually reading:

“People may in a subtle fashion become robot-like in their interactions and become human robots or robopaths. This more insidious conclusion to the present course of action would be the silent disappearance of human interaction. In another kind of death, social death, people would be oppressively locked into robot-like interactions.” (Orlov, 2017)

Observing social death unfolding right before me as I read about social death was unnerving. “This changes everything,” I thought.

Two disturbing realizations occurred to me:

  1. Research won’t save us. All the research in the world about media’s impact will not change a thing for parents caught up in mass culture’s agenda for families. As an educator I value research findings as the underpinning of important information to determine best practices. Yet, contradictory research findings confuse parents, obfuscating essential issues. And, of course, experts will never all agree about complex systems; they can’t. Waiting for them to agree dooms us.
  2. Media literacy/media education won’t save us, either. This is a difficult one for me to accept because I so believe in and will continue to teach, promote and advocate for media/digital education–but now with new eyes. Sitting with chills down my spine as I kept peeking at the girl’s expressionless face hoping for a change in affect, something else stared me down that I couldn’t ignore—this thought:

Parents can talk to kids about reducing screen time or help them discern inappropriate media content from educational, healthy types—all they want. But these conversations become frustrating and often futile if children’s cognitive, emotional, and social developmental needs are not being met at the same time. A consistent pattern of uncooperative behaviors and surly attitudes prevent children’s willing participation in family media literacy activities.

While I yearn for research and media/digital literacy/education to make a significant impact, I also know they can’t make positive changes fast enough to counter the industry culture’s swift negative influences. For decades we have been telling, urging, and “shoulding” parents to make changes and look where it got us?

With social death and its normalization well underway, we speed up social death if we continue along this path.

We must start by first meeting children’s and teen’s developmental needs.

Most people know the developmental needs of our gardens, our crops, our forests, of our animals and pets. If we don’t attend to their needs, they end up with disease, illness, sub-optimal outcomes, even death. Over the past two decades of brain research, we have made huge steps in identifying the real developmental needs of our children and teens. So why is it so hard, as a society, to focus our attention on understanding and meeting vital human needs? Why are so many parents in this age of information left rudderless without basic knowledge of brain development to be able to grow children as easily and naturally as they grow their gardens?

Living in a culture we don’t create ourselves means we have to be super intentional and brave to be different. And we have to start focusing on what supports flourishing life in human, living systems.

I really don’t want people to become more like robots as robots become more like people—that’s not the world I will create by action or inaction. So, I must return to the fundamental question I have based my work on over the last thirty years, both as a parent and as a professional who helps parents:

“What is best for this child NOW?”

This question often leads to clarifying important assumptions such as:

  • What’s best for optimal development at every stage of growth, birth through young adulthood?
  • What’s relevant, appropriate, timely, and most productive for this child to flourish right now?

And those questions naturally lead to parental pondering like:

  • What’s best for my child according to my values as a parent?
  • What’s best for my child according to the image I have of her as an adult?

Jennifer Joy Madden, a health reporter and digital journalism professor, author of How to be a Durable Human: Revive and Thrive in the Digital Age Through the Power of Self-Design, admonishes all of us: “Push to prioritize human needs.”

Absolutely. “Push to prioritize human needs” must be everyone’s mantra if we are to replace social death with social life.

Let’s see what could have happened if the dad in this story and the adults around the girl kept what’s best for the girl in mind; if everyone prioritized her human needs over her pseudo-need to be with her screens.

A Probable Story

The dad decides that he wants his daughter to be engaged in adult conversation because he knows it teaches her how to interact socially and, importantly, it helps her understand that she belongs to this community of adults—that her contribution to the conversation is important to them all. The adults want to hear what she has to say!

So before the outing, he would have a conversation with his daughter about it.

“Sweetie, I am looking forward to our time with Sophie and Irma. I am delighted you will be with us. You can bring your iPad and cell phone, but I don’t want you to take them out until I give you the go-ahead.”

“But I’ll be so bored just sitting there, listening to everyone.”

“You may be…but not if you ask questions and participate in the conversation. Let’s think about some questions you can ask. What are you curious about Sophie’s country, for instance?”

From there the girl uses her intellect and imagination, as her dad helps her write some questions down on note cards she can ask the lady guest. The dad has taken 20 minutes out of his busy day to prepare his daughter for the adult time because he knows that it’s an important thing for kids to participate in conversations—that it helps them grow a healthy emotional and social IQ. Plus it’s pure delight for him to observe his daughter thinking and creating.

So now, back in the coffee shop, this is what I observe:

The girl sips her hot chocolate as the older woman tells stories about her country and the people she knows there. The girl enjoys the stories, so she asks her questions. The two women, taken by her questions ask her how she came up with them. Such creative questions! The girl tells them how she thought up the questions, which leads to another lively interchange with lots of warmth and laughter around the table.

Then the woman takes out her special gifts and hands one to each of them. The girl listens to the story attached to each gift. When it’s her turn she is eager to share an idea—saying thank you quickly, she tells the older lady that she can look up the town where the lady’s gifts came from on her iPad, and they all can see pictures of it as the lady tells her last story.

“What a marvelous idea,” the adults agree.

The girl pulls out her iPad from her backpack and researches the small town, She has to go several places on the web to find the best pictures of the old village. While she does this the adults pass knowing glances around the table, silently proud of how the girl is using her tech knowledge to contribute to the conversation.

The girl cries out in glee when she finds the type of pictures she had envisioned, and passes the iPad around for each adult to see. The older woman asks the little one to choose her favorite. The girl does and the lady places the iPad in the center of the table so they can all look at the beautiful photo as she tells her last story.

When they stand up to leave, they all hug goodbye. The girl and elder woman walk out, smiling, their arms around each other.

Caring interactions enhanced by technology, a young girl’s creativity, and a parent’s fundamental question: What’s best for my daughter in this situation?

Human relationships come first when we put what’s best for our children first.

Long live social life!

 

Gloria DeGaetano, Copyright, 2017.

Reference

Lewis Yablonsky quote from, Shrinking the Technosphere, Dmitry Orlov, New Society Publishers, 2017, p. 194.

 

 

Cultural Maturity and PCI Parent Coaching

The concept of “Cultural Maturity,” developed by Seattle psychiatrist and futurist, Dr. Charles Johnston, is introduced in his latest book, Hope and the Future (ICD Press, 2014). Dr. Johnston recently presented a one-day workshop at the PCI Annual Conference, held June 27-29, 2014 at Eaglewood Resort, near Chicago. It was a day of deep thinking and high energy. Since the PCI students and graduates attending had read the book beforehand, they were well-prepared participants eager to contribute relevantly. Determined to apply Cultural Maturity in our work with families, we brought a concentrated effort to learn all we could.

Cultural Maturity is both a concept and a process. Johnston explains, “The concept of Cultural Maturity proposes that our Modern Age worldview cannot be an end point, that further changes are necessary—and happening.” (p.3) Johnson shows the necessity for us as individuals, and as a collective, to grow up—not in the traditional sense, although that’s definitely an integral piece. But to grow up in ways that will equip us to ask more appropriate, effective questions, come up with increasingly innovative, productive ideas, and embody real meaning and purpose in our actions and decisions. Cultural Maturity at its core is the “reorganizing of our thought processes” to include (but not limited to) refined holistic thinking, systems approaches, clear willingness to bridge polarities, and consistent effort to see the world and others clearly as they are with their strengths and limitations and without our projections.

While Cultural Maturity reflects basic changes in how we think and understand, it also changes the way we relate to others and to the collective. Johnston writes: “Cultural Maturity involves two related change processes that are each today fundamentally reordering the human experience. The first change process concerns our relationship as individuals to culture as a whole; the second concerns basic changes in how we understand.” (p. 6) (For a more thorough understanding of the concept of Cultural Maturity, I highly recommend you read Hope and the Future. I am a novice here and certainly can’t do it justice in a short article.)

Since our conference, I have reflected upon Cultural Maturity in relationship to how PCI Coaches bring in elements of it during their coaching process with parents.

So far I’ve thought of three basic ways PCI coaches are taking steps toward a more culturally mature framework in family support. image of family-1

1.         PCI Coaches strive to hold, reflect, and refer to “a both/and reality” for the parents we coach.

Most of us have ingrained habits of thinking in polarities of “either/or” such as saying to ourselves: “Either I will solve this problem, or I won’t be happy.” “I won’t have peace of mind until this thing is resolved.” It seems normal to think this way because it is a stretch for most of us to move beyond polarity thinking. By framing reality as “either/or” we see the world in opposites, reality partitioned off into one way or the other. We fail to see that these polarities actually encompass a greater reality. As Johnston points out, “The concept of Cultural Maturity proposes that the reason we still too often miss the ‘obvious’ fact that polarities reflect larger systemic realities is that getting our minds around a more systemic picture requires a maturity of perspective that we are only beginning to be ready for.” (p. 32)

In our PCI coaching process, we work to open the door to that “maturity of perspective” by helping parents get more comfortable with the larger reality of their current situation. For instance, entering into a coaching process, a parent is usually fraught with anxiety, worry, and at her wit’s end about a parenting challenge. This is normal. Otherwise, she wouldn’t be seeking our help. Of course, she wants relief from this discomfort—quick and simple, preferred. She usually also wants expert advice—someone who “knows better than me, tell me what to do.” And she wants to see the results appear in her child/children—overnight would be nice—after all, she is paying you to be her coach.

If parent coaches “bite” any one of these three hooks, we fall off into polarity thinking and can’t be a competent professional or a conscious catalyst for the client.

Caught up in the reality of the problem, it’s so human not to see the “other reality”—the reality that exists in a “both/and” world. Showing compassion and understanding for the problem, while at the same time pulling the curtain aside to reveal some of the good in the situation—without dismissing or trivializing the problem—requires new sensibilities and skills from family support professionals. PCI Coaches are trained intentionally to put. and keep, both realities “out on the table” during the coaching process:

A.       The reality of the suffering, the challenges, the problems.

B.       The reality of the parents’ strengths, as well as the children’s and family’s strengths; the resources presently available; the good in the situation that is present now.

The first reality is draining the parent and the system, so much so in many cases, that the other concurrent reality is no longer seen, acknowledged, or appreciated. In the early stages of the coaching we listen with great care and empathy, being wise about when and how to ask about any of the good in the dilemma. I like to begin my coaching with two empty baskets—either real or metaphorically—and let my client know that in the first conversation we will be filling that basket with the problem areas and what is not going well—all the troubles. Then in our next conversation, we will fill the other basket with the client’s strengths that have gotten her this far in her parenting and in life; along with her child’s/children’s strengths, the family’s strengths, the resources available to her—external and internal—and anything else that she can think of that energizes her and helps support her in feeling creative, competent, and confident.

When these initial coaching conversations are completed, we have a fuller picture of her current reality. The contents of the two baskets then interplay within the coaching process, helping to bring insights and practical ideas. For instance, the research in positive psychology shows that using our strengths consciously to proactively deal with a challenge can be extremely effective. When clients are in touch with their strengths as they deal with worries and anxieties, the “both/and reality” serves them well. And often, it is surprising, but usually reassuring, to realize that life consists of problems and solutions both, ever dynamically interacting. Our goal in PCI parent coaching is not to solve the problem, but to help empower the parent to address their problem with creativity and integrity from their highest self for the best solution/s available at the time. Practicing “both/and” thinking helps us be present to a larger reality for our client and increases the chances we will meet this goal.

2.         PCI Coaches are parent coaches, not parenting coaches.

This is an important distinction. We coach the person who is the parent, who does the parenting. Therefore, we are parent coaches.

In developing the Parent Coach Certification® Training Program between 2000-2003, I was acutely aware that there was no such profession as “parent coaching.” I carefully and intentionally used the word, “parent” and not “parenting” because I wanted to highlight that we were working with the parent as a “whole person,” not working with a mom or a dad to “cure” a parenting issue.

Becoming a teacher in the early 70’s set me on a trajectory in a quest for “wholeness” in my work with children and families. Back then that meant to address the cognitive, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of the child or parent—as many aspects of the human as possible. In fact, a book, aptly title The Possible Human by Jean Houston, impressed me with the notion of growing our capacities as human and therefore our “wholeness.”

Today, to address the “whole child” or “whole parent” means different things to different people. Daniel Siegel, for instance, wants us to consider the “whole-brained child” and rightly so. However, Scott Shannon and Emily Heckman in their book, Parenting the Whole Child offers advice on supporting the child’s bodily and nutritional needs as well as his mental ones. This is another important way to consider “wholeness.” Dr. Sears’ popular approach takes into account the family system—if baby isn’t sleeping through the night, it’s not enough to address baby’s needs, but that of the whole system, as well. Of course, wholeness of the child, the parent, the family, and the system are all dynamically alive within each and with each other—and the concept of wholeness in any one of them just got a lot more complicated.

In our workshop with Dr. Johnston, we saw first-hand how difficult it was to describe “whole parenting.” With a list of positive adjectives such as compassionate, caring, and empathetic, he pointed out we didn’t include traits such as boundary setting or making difficult decisions. Oops, we just left out the other polarity. It was easy to get complacent and fall off into “either/or thinking” despite our best efforts not to.

But even though it is a difficult task to address the “whole” parent or “whole” child, it doesn’t mean we don’t continue to strive to do it. In “whole parent coaching” we remind ourselves to be vigilant in what we are noticing; to stay our of labeling and to focus in the present on what the person, who happens to be a parent, is relating to us.

In Hope and the Future, Dr. Johnston reminds us, “…personal maturity…mean(s) that we better bring the whole of ourselves to our determinations.” (p. 109) As PCI coaches we look within and strive to be as conscious of our own wholeness during the coaching process. This fortifies us for the tasks ahead in order to be the best catalyst for a positive change process that we can be. We use our expertise to recognize more of the wholeness of the parent, and to that end, draw out new understandings and capabilities during the coaching process.

3.      PCI coaches work to construct relevant, meaningful questions during the coaching process.

Our year-long parent coach training program gives family support professionals plenty of practice in constructing questions. We focus on “questions of hope” in the attempt to help parents stay energized while dealing with a difficult issue. However, in considering the “both/and reality,” and the value of “wholeness” as aspects of Cultural Maturity it’s important that we don’t “fall off” into only asking questions of hope.

Constructing a question that frames the larger picture and retains a “both/and reality” can be challenging as most of us experienced during the workshop. But when we came up with a question that really “worked,” wow! Talk about an a-ha moment. Developing more “holistic questions” often meant we had to move out of our comfort zones or forgo pre-judgment, or both. Our minds were stretched while our hearts opened during this powerful exercise.

As we continue with PCI coach training, after such an experience, there has been an exhilarating and responding, “Yes,” among the students who attended the workshop. “Yes, I want to get even better at asking questions.” “Yes, I realize the need to craft the questions I ask during the coaching process more carefully to encompass the client’s purpose.” “Yes, a holistic approach to asking questions is very powerful and I want to and will do more of this.”

(It is important to note here that Dr. Johnston’s next book out on Cultural Maturity will be released in January 2015 and has more details on developing such questions. I will definitely keep you posted.)

At PCI we know that these three areas (“both/and reality,” coaching the whole parent, and constructing meaningful questions) we address in our training and in our parent coaching are merely baby steps in beginning to engage Cultural Maturity in our work. But baby steps we know we must take, understanding that as we do, we grow our capacity for a “maturity of perspective” that will make our work with parents that much more productive and fulfilling—for both coach and client!

Copyright © Gloria DeGaetano, 2014. All rights reserved.

Protect Your Parenting Identity in an Industry-Culture

How do parents maintain a clear “parenting identity™” in a society always throwing us curveballs? How do we look beyond the sham of a commodified culture to what is most meaningful within us? A strong sense of self keeps our parental priorities straight, our authentic authority intact, and allows us a sense of creative freedom in our parenting that we can’t get from anywhere else.

In addition, being content and clear with who we are helps our children consider carefully who they wish to become. By transmitting our clear identity to our children—consciously, intentionally—they grow to be clear in their own identity. And what a great gift that is!

Children with a strong sense of self are much less likely to go along with the crowd and are more likely to take an unpopular stance and come out unscathed because they believe in themselves and what they stand for. Firm in their convictions, their inner world takes precedent over the outer one. And paradoxically, they navigate the outer world successfully and with much more ease than kids always looking “outside of themselves” for the answers.

To grow future innovators and leaders, parenting from a strong sense of your own identity is key. 

In my research over the last 30 years, I discovered two fundamental ways that help parents stay clear on their “parenting identities™” and communicate it effectively to their children.

 Know Your Values and Don’t be Shy About Telling Your Children What They Are

“If everyone was like our family, then we would be the weird ones, and not me.” That’s what one mom told her son when he was complaining about taking nutritious lunches to school when all his friends were eating Twinkies and Lunchables™. Taking time to do what we value, like providing healthy lunches for our children, may be unpopular in a culture that usually “pushes” the opposite of what is healthy and helpful.

So in our “industry-culture” making daily decisions from our core beliefs may not be possible each and every day—but definitely worth striving for on a daily basis. And when we fail, (which we all do) we must be gentle with ourselves and begin again, knowing it’s natural to be hard on ourselves when we don’t follow through in what we believe in.

Robert Quinn, in his book, Change the World, calls this “diminishing the self.” We all do it, yet when we do, we pay for it. “When we feel ashamed of something we’ve done, we get more divided. We feel bad, in part, because we know that we have the potential to be more than we are, yet here we are choosing to behave in ways that increasingly diminish the self. The more divided we become, the more disempowered, worthless, and unlovable we feel. (1)

When we find ourselves face-to- face with “our divided self” we can look within and ask ourselves: “What do I do next time with my kids that reflects what I truly believe in and not what the world wants me to believe in?  How do I talk with them about this?”

And there’s always a next time. The beauty of these “failures” is that they cause us to keep refining and clarifying what is most important to us. Soon our parental values and our parenting priorities are aligned and we and our children know this and feel it in the energy and aliveness—the vitality it brings to our family and everyone around us!

 Tell Your Stories—Unabashedly

When you tell stories about your past you re-connect to your traditions and values passed to you by your ancestors. Sharing these stories with your children is a great way to help you remind yourself of you parenting identity—where you came from and how you got to be the parent you are–most likely refining their ways and learning from them who you want to be and who you don’t want to be.

The importance of stories to connect and bind resurges often in social science research. A recent article in The New York Times punctuates the fact that telling your stories, not only provides a clear identity to your children, it also helps them become more resilient, more capable in the midst of challenges.

The article cites the work of Marshall Duke, at Emory University. He and his team set out to test the hypothesis:

“Do kids who know a lot about their families tend to do better when they face challenges?”

The researchers asked questions of four dozen families in the summer of 2001 and taped several of their dinner table conversations. The types of questions they asked on their “Do You Know Scale?” were: Do you know where your grandparents grew up? Do you know where your mom and dad went to high school? Do you know where your parents met? Do you know an illness or something really terrible that happened in your family? Do you know the story of your birth?

“They then compared the children’s results to a battery of psychological tests the children had taken, and reached an overwhelming conclusion. The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned. The “Do You Know?” scale turned out to be the best single predictor of children’s emotional health and happiness.” (2)

Why? When children know their personal history they have a strong foundation upon which to build their own.

Our personal stories are also important records of our personal history. They let our children know they belong to us—not to Facebook or the latest app! In Parenting Well in a Media Age, I describe the need for parents to create a “personally-generated culture” through telling their stories and supporting the feeling of belonging by helping children contribute to the family and to that which is greater than themselves. This is extremely powerful for developing a sense of self because the individual self is always a part of something larger than itself. When the larger whole—or society—is healthy, it’s easier to grow up with a strong sense of self. But when the larger society such as ours is wrought with negative messages and inappropriate images—daily, unrelenting throughout 18 years and beyond—it becomes increasingly imperative for parents to consciously create a “safe have” for their children which in no uncertain terms makes it crystal clear: “You belong here, with us. And not there, with them.”

“You belong here, with us. And not there, with them” has become my mission. Remembering where our children belong keeps me fueled to help parents protect their “parenting identity™” however and wherever I can.

Copyright, Gloria DeGaetano, 2013. All rights reserved. 

References

 1.  Robert Quinn, Change the World, How Ordinary People Can Accomplish Extraordinary Results, (Jossey-Bass, Inc., 200, p. 78.

2.  Bruce Feiler, The Stories That Bind Us, The New York Times on-line, March 17, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/17/fashion/the-family-stories-that-bind-us-this-life.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0

 

 

 

 

The Connecticut Shooting: Possible Reasons; Likely Prevention

Numb. Shocked. Saddened beyond belief by the Connecticut shooting, like everyone else. Wanting to live in a world where children flourish carefree. Wanting to see young men—even those with mental challenges—express their anger in healthy ways and have no desire—or even one thought ever—of murder.

The complex factors that lead up to such a tragic finality can never be known. Yet, it moves me to isolate possible“reasons” and make sense of how our young get to this surreal “solution.” Why has life, his life and others lives become so meaningless? So easily annihilated?

In 1999 after the Columbine tragedy I had asked the same questions. Through a dark-night-of-the-soul experience I stumbled upon a series of understandings and then a conclusion of what I could do to help prevent such tragedies.

Gun Control:  Yes, the U.S. needs gun control. And gun control may prevent such tragedies.  But I am not so sure that gun control can stop a person who has a strong desire to kill from finding a gun to do it.

Violent Media and Violent Video Games:  Conditioning kids to act like killing machines is a real problem that I explain with Lt. Col. Dave Grossman in our book, Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill (ironically published right after the Columbine tragedy). Violent video games act like murder rehearsal, conditioning the brain and de-sensitizing the child from the repulsiveness of killing that an empathetic person would naturally feel. However, many kids play violent games and don’t pick up real guns to kill real people.

Caring Relationships:  Most people who kill others and/or themselves lack supportive relationships in their lives. This is evident by the time they pick up that gun. But how did they get to that point? Going through a school system, isolated, depressed children are very likely to encounter at least one caring teacher or a supportive peer—our schools are filled with them!

More Parental Love:  It seems that the shooters in most massacres come from loving homes with well-intentioned parents.

My Conclusion:  To create a mass murderer, a sociopath, a suicidal maniac, whether a middle-school student or a young man age 20, something happened—or perhaps better put—many things that need to happen for healthy development did not happen. Yes, we must have effective gun control, and schools must improve in providing effective ways for “loners” to participate and feel cared for.

But the most profound and effective way to prevent such tragedies is to make sure parents have the knowledge, skills, and will to make sure their children’s developmental needs get met. It’s that simple. And that complicated.

Parents, crushed in spirit by the overwhelming demands of modern-day parenting, need on-going dialogue and contextually-supported strategies to help them figure out in this age of information—just exactly what information is needed at this particular time for their unique child’s cognitive, emotional/social, spiritual development.

That exchange and creation of ideas and actions, new attitudes, improved habits, and renewed decision-making takes place within a trusting relationship with a professional with a big heart and a deep tool chest to make the types of positive changes that will make the big differences.

Of course.

The Parent Coaching Institute was born Sept. 15, 2000 after much angst, thought, pain, and some hope.

Today I wonder if this mother, gone forever by the son she brought to life, would have been able to better address his needs (and hers) with the help of a PCI Coach. I am haunted by this wondering because I know the answer.

Parents are Not Always Responsible for Violent Children

Parents doing their best are not totally responsible for violent children. Many moms and dads are confused about the appropriate developmental needs of children. It is very, very difficult for some moms and dads to obtain and implement this critical information and more difficult even yet, to implement in daily parenting decisions. That is the fundamental reason I started the Parent Coaching Institute–so that parents could work with a compassionate coach and learn how to make daily decisions aligned with their child’s brain development. This brain-based parenting will solve our bullying problems better than any bullying prevention program. When children’s and teens’ cognitive, emotional/social, and spiritual needs go unmet, violence to self or others is apt to happen–it’s what happens to all living things–without care, nurturance, and attention, all living things wither and die. PCI Coaches keep a focused attention on helping parents be their best and do their best to meet their child’s critically important developmental needs–the best prevention program available.    Continue reading