Coach’s Response to the Question: “How do I stop criticizing and snapping at my kids?”

I don’t know anyone who never snaps or criticizes their kids, but I know everyone wishes they did it less. I asked 11 coaches to tell us their point of view on this topic. The challenge for you is to pick the one that resonates MOST with you and practice it for a few...

Some Not Too Lame Family Rules for Smartphone Usage

At some point, most teens will have a smartphone and will prefer that it’s attached to them at all times. My 12-year-old son literally went from his phone never being charged to him wanting it attached to his body at all times. The good news is that I now know that...

Why I’m Glad I Shattered my iPhone Screen

  “To err is human, to forgive, divine.” ―Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism I finally made the decision to get the iPhone 6 plus. The truth is, I vacillated on it because I feared it would be too big and awkward. Once I got it, I was pretty excited and fell...

Follow Your Joy, Teens Wreaking Havoc & What Great Parents Do

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT “Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.” ~Joseph Campbell “People who follow their joy experience the fullness of their being,” says Robert Holden. How do we follow our joy? There is...

Raising Kids Who Are Good, Kind People Still Matters

Responsibility and kindness are important to many parents In a survey done by Pew Research in the Fall of 2014, it came out that the quality that most parents want to teach their children is responsibility. In groups that identify as consistently liberal, coming in...

Smartphones: the Good, the Bad, & the Sexty

Social media has given us this idea that we should all have a posse of friends when in reality, if we have one or two really good friends, we are lucky.” ~ Brene Brown My oldest son is 12 and I am noticing him keeping his phone right by his side, trying to look at it...

What Great Parents Do Well

Donald Miller, author of the new book Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy, reports that healthy and high-functioning people often have parents who do not hide their flaws, especially from their own children. “Healthy people tend to come from...

15 Parents Share their Thoughts about Technology and Our Kids

This week, at our local public middle school, we hosted a Principal’s Coffee chat where technology was the topic. In small groups, we brainstormed about the upsides to technology and the things we wonder (and worry) about…the questions that are swirling in our brains....

It’s Too Late, You Snapped at Your Kid. Now What?

So you snapped. Maybe you overreacted or said something you wished you didn’t say. Yes, it’s true, it’s the human condition – we are imperfect. (I like to say that we are perfectly imperfect) It doesn’t mean we just resign ourselves to reactive behaviors. We should do...

Use Common Sense with Digital Media

Last night I went to an event where the founder of Common Sense Media, Jim Steyer, spoke. It was interesting on many levels so I wanted to share what I learned 🙂 About Common Sense Media Do you use their website for your family? Quite honestly it’s been our go-to...

You are humanity's greatest hope.

Get Your "Be More You" Guide Here

The other day my son came home from school and I ignored him.
Or that’s what it might have looked like. But really, I was connecting on his terms.

Read more Expanded Views on Parenting.

It kills me a little bit. When my kids come home, I want to check in: “How was your day? I’m glad you’re home. Who’d you hang with at lunch today? How’d the test go?” I want a hug, maybe even a snuggle.

And they need to chill.

Thus the apparent ignoring. To be honest, I do welcome my kids home—and then I leave them to their own devices for a little while. And yes, it is often a device. They want to relax and be on their phone a little, so I give them that space.

It wasn’t always this way.

I used to bug them with questions, insist on being with them. They’d been gone all day. I was happy to see them. Weren’t they happy to see me? Wasn’t it my job to reconnect?

When they were little, they often did need to reconnect. We’d have a snack together. We’d snuggle and read a story or play Legos while they told me about their day—the parts that mattered to them. Who was mean to who or how they didn’t get the class job they wanted or that they wished they had had a cupcake for snack.

I don’t always get many details these days, but I’ve learned that if I push I get less. If I let my kids address their own needs first, it’s easier to connect. As they’ve grown their needs have changed, so we worked together to create a practice that works for both of us.

One day while they were buried in their phones, I was sitting next to them asking questions and getting long pauses, eye rolls and grunts – I walked away hurt and angry. A little bit later, they came looking for me mood changed, ready to engage.

I could have been sarcastic, “Oh, now you want to talk to me” or angry “I don’t feel like talking with you now” or shaming and punishing “You spend way too much time on that phone. I’m going to take it away.” But I didn’t. I took a deep breath so I could control myself from reacting based on my own hurt feelings, and I tapped into my kids needs – their need for space when they first get home. I thought about how when I walk in the door after a busy day, I don’t always want to answer questions. I want a chance to unwind and do my own thing even for a few minutes.

“So you guys need a little time to chill on your phones first thing when you get home, huh?”


“You know, when you get home, I’m happy to see you because you’ve been gone all day, and I want to talk with you and see how your day went. What if we have a little chill time when you first get home, and then I get to ask how you’re doing?”

“Sure, mom. Can we something to eat?”

And there we were – me warming up pretzels for them and them sharing something about their day—after they had their phone time. It’s what works for us. It might not work for you.

To find out what works for you, you need to know what you really need. In my case, it might have looked like I needed my kids to get off their phones, but what I really needed was to reconnect with them. It might have looked like they needed to text with friends they had been with all day, but really they needed to chill out for a little bit. Get curious about what you need in a given situation. Get curious about what your kids need.

Then ask yourself—and your kids—what would work. How can you connect while meeting your needs and theirs?

How about you? How do you deal with balancing your kids’ need for autonomy when you feel the need to connect?

Curious about how to create a closer connection with your kids? Or to be less reactive? Or to stop the power struggles? Schedule a FREE exploratory session with me here.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This