Our Blog


Resting in Hierarchy

by Katie Comments Off

27th October

Resting in Hierarchy

By Katie, Guest Blogger

I was in the mafia growing up. The Catholic one that is. To lay people, what this meant was one connection leads to 100. And everybody has your back, as long as you fit the mold. It implies shared culture, a similar value system, and many shared experiences i.e. lavish Christmas pageants, sanctioned debauchery on St. Patrick’s Day, fish on Fridays during Lent, and a heavy dosage of guilt for actions not on the list of approved values. My childhood friends are raising their children in the same schools and neighborhoods we grew up in.… Read more


Composting Their Roots

by Guest Contributor Comments Off

20th October

Guest post by Sara Ohlin

CSC_6668The other evening I sat in between the rows of my raised veggie beds and carefully placed a luscious new top layer of compost around all the roots of my plants. I love doing this; it’s up close and personal; it’s quiet and peaceful. I speak to my plants, yearning for them to grow, loving them, tending to their needs. The black dirt blankets their roots in a pristine new coat. In the stillness I can practically hear my tomato plants drinking the nourishment down, smiling and giving off their musty tomato scent as a thank you.… Read more

Tags:

Personhood: Through the Lens of Play

by Sarah Lenoue Comments Off

22nd September

 

by Sarah Lenoue

IMG_1345

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My son was already 10 when I first discovered Dr. Neufeld’s work, so there has been some grieving about the things I didn’t understand, the ways I have fallen short. But looking back on his life through play, I find reason to celebrate. In Making Sense of Play, Dr. Neufeld cautions that the importance of play “has become eclipsed by the urgency surrounding children’s conduct and achievements” and that has been an all too familiar fault line for as long as I’ve been raising my son.

I was nourished by play as a child, and have engaged in creative endeavors that blur the work/play line as an adult, so creating space for my son’s play came easily to me.… Read more


Bouncing off to Kindergarten

by Sara Easterly Comments Off

8th September

by Sara Easterly

My firstborn daughter starts kindergarten tomorrow and my feelings, like hers, are a big ball of contradictions. Besides logistical worries that are sure to work themselves out in the first week or so, all of my feelings bounce down to two questions. Is she ready? Am I?

Tonight the Tooth Fairy will stop by our home for the fifth visit. Even though my daughter isn’t going to a Waldorf school, by Waldorf standards her lost teeth are indicators that she’s ready to read… which would presumably mean ready for kindergarten, awkwardly cute and hole-ly as she is!

The measures I’ve been using to determine her school readiness have been on a different developmental scale, though:

1.… Read more


Pirate Songs and Skyscrapers

by Amy Prestia Comments Off

26th August

As August draws to an end, we are approaching the start of a big school year!  My 11-year-old son, Liam, is starting middle school.  We chose a very small alternative public school for him that seems like it will suit him quite well in this transition from his elementary school, where space for play was protected, to middle school, where he is becoming developmentally ready to work toward an end goal in his schoolwork.

We met his new teacher a couple months ago, and he got his summer projects, which included a literary critique and building a balsa wood skyscraper that can support at least twenty-five pounds.  … Read more


In Hot Pursuit No More

by Guest Contributor Comments Off

15th July

By Katie, Guest Blogger

Dr. Neufeld wisely and humorously pointed out in Intensive 2 that entire professions are built upon harnessing the neuroses of their professional members. It is no accident SOME of the helping professionals I know, myself included, have a deeply felt need “to fix it” for others. We help not just because we like to and it is our professional duty, but because we need to. I knew my own neurotic pursuits were running away again when I was recently on the phone with a client, in the midst of major turmoil. I was home alone with my five-year-old son.… Read more


Getting to the Happiest Place on Earth

by Sara Easterly Comments Off

5th June

After a multi-year marital campaign, I finally convinced my husband to say yes to a family vacation at Disneyland.

Disneyland’s official tagline is “The Happiest Place on Earth.” My desire to travel there with my family wasn’t about seeking happiness, exactly. But I confess that spending months thinking about and planning for the trip did indeed bring me joyful moments.
Disneyland-Grumpy
In fact, as soon as my husband acquiesced that our preschoolers, now four and five, were “of age” and “of height” to make it worth our hard-earned vacation dollars, the catchy lines from Dada’s 1992 pop song, “Dizz Knee Land” played on gleeful repeat in my head.… Read more


Eleanor & Park Book Review

by Sara Easterly Comments Off

24th March

Eleanor&ParkAuthor Rainbow Rowell has just taken me over the rainbow… for a sentimental journey through adolescence in her outstanding young-adult novel Eleanor and Park (St. Martin’s, 2013), which recently garnered a Michael L. Printz Award for young adult literature.

It’s a tender story, portraying the sweetness and awkwardness of first love, the almost guttural pain of feeling like an outsider in the wounding world of high school, and the sadness surrounding the life of a teen in an abusive family environment. The characters are deep, funny, and endearing – most strikingly Eleanor, one of the heroes of the novel.

Eleanor is the portrait of a highly sensitive teen, a completely lovable character crossing the bridge from childhood into adulthood.… Read more


Keeping a Parenting Journal

by Sara Cole Comments Off

18th March

One of the very first times I watched a DVD courses by Dr. Gordon Neufeld, he casually mentioned while making a much bigger point that he kept a parenting journal.  That was all he said about it.  I’m not sure I how much I heard of the rest of the hour’s content. My brain became totally overwhelmed with a sort of shocked curiosity and the desire for more understanding about such a thing as  “parenting journal.”

And then my regularly scheduled busy, busy daily life kicked back in and as often happens, the urgent overrode that which I know in my gut to be deeply important.… Read more

Tags:

TV vs Playdate

by Sara Cole Comments Off

19th February

Ever since my children were small I’ve been aware of the social taboo around using the television as a babysitter.  I can remember friends whispering their confessions that they had used a half hour episode of Dora the Explorer to entertain their toddler while they grabbed a quick shower.  These days I hear parents verbally lashing themselves for using movies to entertain older children while they take care of the important logistical responsibilities of the week.

It is so easy to get on the “bad bad media” wagon.  However, in listening to a dear friend recount her woes of relying “way too much” on media to occupy her child, something that seems much more profound struck me – I use playdates the way she uses the dvd player.  … Read more


Thank You!

by Jenni Pertuset Comments Off

13th February

What a wonderful week of connection during Pamela Whyte’s visit to Seattle. We were so pleased to see so many of you at her Sunday presentation “Coming Alongside: Inviting the Whole Child” and other events throught the week. Thank you for coming!

The Seattle Neufeld Community also extends a HUGE thank you to Pamela for her generosity of time and spirit, providing so much to our community. It was a very full week, with Pamela leading the two Parent Practice Group meetings and a Q&A session, as well as kicking off the Neufeld Intensive II course in addition to her half-day presentation.… Read more

Tags:

A Culture of Invitation

by Sara Easterly Comments Off

4th February

In anticipation of Pamela Whyte’s Inviting the Whole Child presentation in Seattle coming up this Sunday, I’ve been planning to write about invitation. I confess, though, that it’s taken me three starts at this post to turn off the judgmental nag in my head who’s peering over my shoulder as I type.

“You lost it yesterday when the girls were slamming the microwave door open and shut, remember?” she says. “That wasn’t exactly inviting the whole child.”

Ironically, the more my inner voice critiques me, the less I listen. After all, if I yearn to invite all that is within my children, I also need to invite all that is within me – including my own emotions that surface after a build up of the day’s frustrations get the best of me.… Read more


It Wouldn’t Be Heaven If You Couldn’t Be Bad

by Amy Prestia Comments Off

27th January

While driving in the car with my two kids the other day, a rather silly song came on the radio about 2 teenage rebel girls who mistakenly get sent to heaven upon death. They protest to the man in charge, saying “God, we’re the bad kids, we’re so nasty, mean and vile…” and then “God says, ‘How could this be? That’s really odd, I guess I’ll have to check my records…”

My five-year-old daughter had questions about this dialogue, which her ten-year-old brother patiently explained. “Everyone in heaven is good all the time,” he told her. There was a long pause in the conversation as they both considered this premise.… Read more


Integration

by Sara Cole Comments Off

20th January

As my world has contracted and expanded, imploded and exploded around me over the last six months, integration–the capacity to hold two or more things at once, such as two thoughts, feelings or beliefs–has occupied a very conscious point in my focus. As I’ve watched my own integration come and go with the intensity of the situations, I’ve aimed during hard times to search for even just that small glimmer of my own mixed feelings that helps pull me back to the thoughtful, balanced and caring person I want to be. In putting so much attention on my personal experience of just one aspect of Neufeld’s developmental paradigm, I find I’ve learn much to help me make sense of my children and to pass along to them–either through directly sharing, truly and deeply empathizing or just knowing what can be true for them.… Read more


Penguin and Pinecone

by Sara Easterly Comments Off

6th January

Penguin and PineconeI’ve recently returned from a ski trip and fluffy, white snowflakes are still on my mind… inspiring a review of a heartwarming winter-themed book called Penguin and Pinecone, written and illustrated by Salina Yoon (Walker & Company, 2012).

In less than 200 words complemented by stunning illustration, it’s a story filled with so many gems – gently touching on emergence, attaching through sameness, falling in love, play, alpha caring, the hierarchical wisdom of grandfathers, the hero’s journey, bridging separation, missing, holding loved ones close, transplanting children, an attachment village, a sense of home, togetherness without a loss of separateness, mixed feelings, and reaching maturity.… Read more


Creating Safety

by Amy Prestia Comments Off

14th December

On this anniversary of the school shootings at Sandy Hook, I am finding myself filled with sadness and with thoughts of how we can create safety for our children in the world in which we live. For the simple fact of it is that there is a lot about our world that is not physically safe, as we are so acutely reminded on this anniversary.

What is safety for our children? There are many ways we keep our children safe as parents: we keep them from running in the street, we keep out news of violence and horror, we make them ride in car seats or with seat belts, we keep watch over them in deep water.… Read more


How the Soft Heart of Luke Skywalker Saved the Universe

by Molly Hall Comments Off

10th December

Lego Luke and Vader

Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t seen the Star Wars movies, the following will A) give many plot points away, and B) make almost no sense to you.

Star Wars reigns supreme at our house. The characters find their way into almost all of our dramatic play–often in the form of Legos. We play endless games that center around these wonderfully archetypal figures: Luke, Leia, Darth Vader, Obi-Wan Kenobi. They are powerful, fascinating, and familiar, not just to us, but to millions of people around the world. We feel that we know them. We see ourselves in them. We place ourselves in the story and hope, every time, that good will conquer evil once again.… Read more


Lifelong Love for Learning

by Sara Easterly Comments Off

2nd December

Kindergarten is just around the corner for my daughter. Like any parent, I have a deep desire to see her budding emergence evolve into a lifelong love for learning.

While I know schooling is just one aspect of this, it’s a significant one. And so, in an effort to find the right fit, I’ve been touring schools.

With so many outstanding schooling options available in our city, I’ve been heeding experts’ advice:

1. Tour as many schools as possible – even those that may be unrealistic, if just for comparison purposes.

2. Begin touring early lest the process feel like cramming for a test, trying to squeeze all the tours into a compressed window of time.… Read more


Never Too Late to Reclaim Attachment with Children

by Sara Easterly Comments Off

28th November

Dr. Gordon Neufeld recently completed a series of interviews with Kids in the House. We’re pleased to have permission to run these terrific videos as a series on our blog to bring you Dr. Neufeld’s attachment-based, developmentally friendly parenting advice — in three minutes or less. Check back each Thursday for a new video. Enjoy!

This week: Dr. Neufeld talks about how to win back your child to reclaim your attachment and become their answer. (Sometimes the player is slow to load. You may need to wait a few seconds before you see it appear below.)




Dr.… Read more


Effective Consequences

by Sara Easterly Comments Off

28th November

Dr. Gordon Neufeld recently completed a series of interviews with Kids in the House. We’re pleased to have permission to run these terrific videos as a series on our blog to bring you Dr. Neufeld’s attachment-based, developmentally friendly parenting advice — in three minutes or less. Check back each Thursday for a new video. Enjoy!

This week: Dr. Neufeld talks about the importance of relationship in dealing with problem behavior. (Sometimes the player is slow to load. You may need to wait a few seconds before you see it appear below.)




Dr.… Read more


Tending to the Leaves

by Sara Cole Comments Off

18th November

This year has been a challenging one for our family and household.  Each of us, both adults and children, experienced big upsets which in turn impacted and threw off everyone else in our home.

Remainders from these disruptions and disturbances have accumulated this Fall.  I imagine us having cleaned up the trees felled by each storm that passed, but a few leaves from each tree remained, enough to make a sizable pile that now needs attending. What this looks like in my children is alienating behavior:  sibling bickering, arguing with adults, refusing nurturing, avoiding helping or sharing or working together.

As I often do, I’ve needed to find my way back to what is necessary for my children.  … Read more


Helping Children Who Are Dealing with Bullying

by Sara Easterly Comments Off

14th November

Dr. Gordon Neufeld recently completed a series of interviews with Kids in the House. We’re pleased to have permission to run these terrific videos as a series on our blog to bring you Dr. Neufeld’s attachment-based, developmentally friendly parenting advice — in three minutes or less. Check back each Thursday for a new video. Enjoy!

This week: Dr. Neufeld talks about things a parent can do to help a child who is being bullied. (Sometimes the player is slow to load. You may need to wait a few seconds before you see it appear below.)



Read more


The Value of Shyness

by Sara Easterly Comments Off

7th November

Dr. Gordon Neufeld recently completed a series of interviews with Kids in the House. We’re pleased to have permission to run these terrific videos as a series on our blog to bring you Dr. Neufeld’s attachment-based, developmentally friendly parenting advice — in three minutes or less. Check back each Thursday for a new video. Enjoy!

Parents are often concerned about shyness in their children. This week Dr. Neufeld explains shyness and talks about its value. (Sometimes the player is slow to load. You may need to wait a few seconds before you see it appear below.)



Read more


My Photo Lessons

by Sara Easterly Comments Off

4th November

I have mixed feelings when it comes to taking photos of my children. Like any proud mama, I want to capture all the big – and the small! – moments in their lives. I can’t stop time like I wish I could. It’s impossible to “freeze-frame” my children, or our family experiences, as I’ve yearned to do at many different points in their lives. Which is why it’s important to me to catch expressions, phases, and moments through photos.

At the same time… I don’t want to miss out on the prime moments because I’m always behind the camera, getting so caught up in documenting them that I’m not fully experiencing them.… Read more


Video Interview with Dr. Gordon Neufeld

by Jenni Pertuset Comments Off

28th October

ParentMap conducted an interview with Dr. Gordon Neufeld while he was in Seattle for The Seattle Neufeld Community’s inaugural conference. Have you seen “The Attachment-Based Model of Child Development“? Dr. Neufeld discusses what is meant by “attachment” beyond practices of baby bonding into the lifelong need we all have for relationship. Enjoy!… Read more

Tags:

Helping Children Flourish: Inaugural Conference in Review

by Sara Easterly Comments Off

18th October

DSC_9794Our blog has been quiet over the last few weeks, while we’ve been basking in the incredible energy and momentum coming off the conference, as well as resting and spending time connecting with our families. We’re excited, though, to be back in blogging action with an update on the Seattle Neufeld Community’s inaugural conference, which took place on September 28th.

Thank you so much to the 119 of you who joined us for the conference (and we missed those of you who couldn’t make it!). We had an outstanding time connecting and learning with you while diving into Dr. Gordon Neufeld’s material and deepening our understanding of the children in our care.… Read more

Tags:

Interview with Jenni Pertuset

by Stacy Lewis Comments Off

23rd September

Faculty-Photo-Jenni-Pertuset2Our pre-conference interview series wraps up this week with Jenni Pertuset, an authorized Neufeld Parent Consultant and Course Facilitator. She has been supporting strong families and struggling ones for over a decade. Her current work is informed by her experience as an Attachment Parenting International (API) Leader and as an attorney in tribal courts, though she would say her greatest experience has come through raising her own child.

We spoke about her introduction to Neufeld, her involvement in the Seattle Neufeld Community, and her personal experience with aggression in children.

How did you first discover the Neufeld material?

I first read Hold On to Your Kids when my daughter was an infant, but it was through hearing an API teleseminar with Gordon on the topic of discipline when she was three that I dove into studying this paradigm headfirst.… Read more


Understanding Tantrums, Fighting, and Aggression

by Sara Easterly Comments Off

19th September

Dr. Gordon Neufeld recently completed a series of interviews with Kids in the House. We’re pleased to have permission to run these terrific videos as a series on our blog to bring you Dr. Neufeld’s attachment-based, developmentally friendly parenting advice — in three minutes or less. Check back each Thursday for a new video. Enjoy!

This week: Dr. Neufeld talks about the many frustrations in a child’s life and how to cut down on resulting aggressive behaviors like hitting and fighting. (Sometimes the player is slow to load. You may need to wait a few seconds before you see it appear below.)




Dr.… Read more


Interview with Tamara Strijack

by Jenni Pertuset Comments Off

17th September

With the Helping Children Flourish conference on September 28th approaching quickly, our speaker interview series is winding down. Our hope is to introduce you to conference presenters, as well as to provide some information and insight on their presentation topics, whether or not you attend. We’ll conclude the series next Monday, and look forward to seeing many of you the following Saturday.
Faculty-Photo-Tamara-Strijack

It was a pleasure for me to speak with Tamara Strijack about play and anxiety, two topics–along with with defiance–that she will be speaking about at the conference. Tamara is a Registered Clinical Counsellor working on Vancouver Island and a homeschooling mom to two delightful girls.… Read more


The Truth About Screaming at Kids

by Sara Easterly Comments Off

12th September

Dr. Gordon Neufeld recently completed a series of interviews with Kids in the House. We’re pleased to have permission to run these terrific videos as a series on our blog to bring you Dr. Neufeld’s attachment-based, developmentally friendly parenting advice — in three minutes or less. Check back each Thursday for a new video. Enjoy!

This week: Dr. Neufeld talks about handling our own natural frustration as parents. (Sometimes the player is slow to load. You may need to wait a few seconds before you see it appear below.)


 

 

Dr.… Read more


Interview with Pamela Whyte

by Keiko Koizumi Comments Off

10th September

We’re running a series of interviews with our conference speakers, leading up to the Helping Children Flourish conference on September 28th. Even if you’re unable to attend the conference, our hope is that you’ll find plenty of information and rich insight here.
Faculty-Photo-Pamela-Whyte

I first heard Pamela speak back in May at the Annual Neufeld Parent Conference. As I sat in that packed classroom in Vancouver, BC, I felt awe-struck by this mama sharing her wisdom with us on how we can invite our children to exist fully in their messy and marvelous entirety. A personal challenge of mine for sure, I was soaking everything up!… Read more


The Growing Problem of Anxiety in Children

by Sara Easterly Comments Off

5th September

Dr. Gordon Neufeld recently completed a series of interviews with Kids in the House. We’re pleased to have permission to run these terrific videos as a series on our blog to bring you Dr. Neufeld’s attachment-based, developmentally friendly parenting advice — in three minutes or less. Check back each Thursday for a new video. Enjoy!

This week: Dr. Neufeld talks about the growing problem of anxiety in children and how to address it. (Sometimes the player is slow to load. You may need to wait a few seconds before you see it appear below.)

 

 

 

Dr.… Read more


Interview with Patti Drobot

by Stacy Lewis Comments Off

2nd September

We’re running a series of interviews with our conference speakers, leading up to the Helping Children Flourish conference on September 28th. Even if you’re unable to attend the conference, our hope is that you’ll find plenty of information and rich insight here.
Faculty-Photo-Patti-Drobot

I had the pleasure of talking with Patti Drobot about sibling rivalry, maturation, and sensitive children. Patti is a registered professional counselor (RPC) and parent consultant based in Vancouver, BC, who works with individuals, couples, parents, and adolescents. Her background is in occupational therapy with more than 20 years of experience as both a clinician and educator in the areas of neurology, psychiatry, and community mental health.… Read more


Change to Conference Program

by Jenni Pertuset Comments Off

29th August

Cindy Leavitt has resigned her position as Neufeld Institute faculty and is no longer part of the program of SNC’s Helping Children Flourish conference. We have emailed details regarding changes to conference plans to those who have registered for Cindy’s conference sessions. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.… Read more

Tags:

Interview with Sara Cole

by Guest Contributor Comments Off

27th August

Throughout August and September we’re running a series of interviews with our conference speakers. Our intention is to give you a better sense of the presenters you’ll have an opportunity to hear from at the Helping Children Flourish conference on September 28th. Even if you’re unable to attend the conference, our hope is that you’ll find plenty of information and rich insight within these interviews.

This week our series continues with an interview with Sara Cole by guest contributor Katie Stallman:
Speaker-Photo-Sara-Cole
I am grateful to Sara Cole who took time to share her journey forward with the Neufeld Paradigm. A graduate of the Neufeld Institute Advanced Studies facilitator program, Sara is one of the founders of the Seattle Neufeld Community and a steady and humble arm providing continuing education, guidance, and support as other parents begin to grapple with what it means to be the “answer” to our kids.… Read more


Interview with Dr. Deborah MacNamara

by Sara Easterly Comments Off

19th August

Throughout August and September we’ll be running a series of interviews with our conference speakers. Our intention is to give you a better sense of the presenters you’ll have an opportunity to hear from at the Helping Children Flourish conference on September 28th. Even if you’re unable to attend the conference, our hope is that you’ll find plenty of information and rich insight within these interviews.

This week our series continues with an interview with Dr. Deborah MacNamara.

Faculty-Photo-Deborah-MacNamaraHow did you come to discover Dr. Gordon Neufeld’s work?

I was working as a counselor and on faculty at a university with a freshly minted Ph.D.… Read more

Tags:

Screen Time and the Developmental Process

by Sara Easterly Comments Off

15th August

Dr. Gordon Neufeld recently completed a series of interviews with Kids in the House. We’re pleased to have permission to run these terrific videos as a series on our blog to bring you Dr. Neufeld’s attachment-based, developmentally friendly parenting advice — in three minutes or less. Check back each Thursday for a new video. Enjoy!

This week: Dr. Neufeld talks about managing screen time with your children while still fulfilling their developmental needs. (Sometimes the player is slow to load. You may need to wait a few seconds before you see it appear below.)




Dr.… Read more


Pre-Conference Interview: Colleen Drobot

by Molly Hall Comments Off

14th August

Our pre-conference interview series continues with Colleen Drobot, B.Ed., Dip. Of Special Education. She is a registered professional counselor, parent consultant, and educator. She is a faculty member in the Neufeld Institute and has worked with Dr. Neufeld’s approach for seven years. She uses his developmental model in her private practice, in school settings, and for community presentations. Colleen is a mother of two and draws from her personal as well as professional experience to support parents and professionals in gaining insight, opening their hearts, and leading by their intuition.

What first drew you to the Neufeld material?

Faculty-Photo-Colleen-DrobotColleen Drobot: I was struggling with my son, who came into the world quite intense and very sensitive.… Read more


The Day Bobo Died

by Stacy Lewis Comments Off

10th August

One particularly sensitive child with a lot of frustration and sadness plus one especially fizzed-up, spazzy child plus one tapped-out mama looking to hide equals one tough, terrible week.

How to survive something like this? One moment at a time, I suppose.

And so one day, after I had watched myself skirting the boys all morning, starting at Mica’s high-pitched screeches and unsuccessfully trying to clamp down on Orlando’s frenetic movements, I decided to face reality.

What I really decided was that we were going to run away from home, as my friend Sara calls it. Something needed to change, and I had come up with a vague plan of going to the beach and then for ice cream.… Read more


Sibling Rivalry

by Sara Easterly Comments Off

8th August

Dr. Gordon Neufeld recently completed a series of interviews with Kids in the House. We’re pleased to have permission to run these terrific videos as a series on our blog to bring you Dr. Neufeld’s attachment-based, developmentally friendly parenting advice — in three minutes or less. Check back each Thursday for a new video. Enjoy!

This week: Dr. Neufeld talks about the common problem of sibling rivalry — how we, as parents, often unintentionally exacerbate it, and the kinds of things we can do to decrease sibling conflict. (Sometimes the player is slow to load. You may need to wait a few seconds before you see it appear below.)




Dr.… Read more


Interview with Cindy Leavitt

by Sara Easterly Comments Off

5th August

Cindy Leavitt has resigned her position as Neufeld Institute faculty and is no longer part of the program of SNC’s Helping Children Flourish conference. We have emailed details regarding changes to conference plans to those who have registered for Cindy’s conference sessions. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.
(editor’s note, August 29, 2013)

Throughout August and September we’ll be running a series of interviews with our conference speakers. Our intention is to give you a better sense of the presenters you’ll have an opportunity to hear from at the Helping Children Flourish conference on September 28th.Read more


Teenagers and Peers

by Sara Easterly Comments Off

1st August

Dr. Gordon Neufeld recently completed a series of interviews with Kids in the House. We’re pleased to have permission to run these terrific videos as a series on our blog to bring you Dr. Neufeld’s attachment-based, developmentally friendly parenting advice — in three minutes or less. Check back each Thursday for a new video. Enjoy!

This week: Dr. Neufeld talks about the healthy and unhealthy reasons why teenagers pull away from their parents. (Sometimes the player is slow to load. You may need to wait a few seconds before you see it appear below.)




Dr.… Read more


Top Tips for Developing Independent Kids

by Sara Easterly Comments Off

25th July

Dr. Gordon Neufeld recently completed a series of interviews with Kids in the House. We’re pleased to have permission to run these terrific videos as a series on our blog to bring you Dr. Neufeld’s attachment-based, developmentally friendly parenting advice — in three minutes or less. Check back each Thursday for a new video. Enjoy!

This week: Dr. Neufeld talks about the paradoxical approach of generously inviting our children’s dependence on us in order to cultivate their independence — the ultimate agenda of development. (Sometimes the player is slow to load. You may need to wait a few seconds before you see it appear below.)




Dr.… Read more


When a Child is Bossy

by Sara Easterly Comments Off

18th July

Dr. Gordon Neufeld recently completed a series of interviews with Kids in the House. We’re pleased to have permission to run these terrific videos as a series on our blog to bring you Dr. Neufeld’s attachment-based, developmentally friendly parenting advice — in three minutes or less. Check back each Thursday for a new video. Enjoy!

This week: In this two-minute video, Dr. Neufeld talks about an escalating problem in North America: children who are bossy and controlling. (Sometimes the player is slow to load. You may need to wait a few seconds before you see it appear below.)



Dr.… Read more


Ducks!

by Sara Cole Comments Off

15th July

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

© Susanne Krogh-hansen | Dreamstime Stock Photos

One of my favorite parenting role models is the duck.  I love the image of a mama duck with her babies following diligently behind.  These funny creatures always entertain and amaze me.  Their whole process is completely no-nonsense.  Mama leads and ducklings follow – no arguing, convincing or conversing about when, where or how.

A duckling’s instinct to follow mom, where she leads reminds me of my own children’s need for me to be their true north. From Nova’s truly delightful DUCKumentary, here is an awe-provoking example.  We meet baby wood ducks, who determined to respond to their mother’s call, make a true leap of faith.… Read more

Tags:

Is Time-Out an Effective Form of Discipline?

by Sara Easterly Comments Off

11th July

Dr. Gordon Neufeld recently completed a series of interviews with Kids in the House. We’re pleased to have permission to run these terrific videos as a series on our blog to bring you Dr. Neufeld’s attachment-based, developmentally friendly parenting advice — in three minutes or less. Check back each Thursday for a new video. Enjoy!

This week: Is time-out a good form of discipline? Dr. Neufeld shares his insight to answer this question. (Sometimes the player is slow to load. You may need to wait a few seconds before you see it appear below.)



Dr.… Read more


What Does Good Attachment Look Like

by Sara Easterly Comments Off

4th July

Dr. Gordon Neufeld recently completed a series of interviews with Kids in the House. We’re pleased to have permission to run these terrific videos as a series on our blog to bring you Dr. Neufeld’s attachment-based, developmentally friendly parenting advice — in three minutes or less. Check back each Thursday for a new video. Enjoy!

This week: Dr. Neufeld talks about how children attach and what good attachment looks like. (Sometimes the player is slow to load. You may need to wait a few seconds before you see it appear below.)



Dr.… Read more

Tags:

Driving the Maze

by Sara Easterly Comments Off

1st July

Montana Road Trip ViewI’ve just returned home from a 10-day road trip with my husband and our two preschoolers. In that time, we traversed more than 1,800 miles and spent over 30 hours in a minivan as we covered three states – spending most of our time in Montana for visits with 29 people from both my adoptive and birth families, plus dear friends.

I prepared with maps, guides, and even a TripTik from AAA, but the journey was still like driving through a maze. From a geographical standpoint, it was Easy Street. I knew exactly where we were headed and how to get there.… Read more


What sleep has to do with developmental attachment

by Sara Cole Comments Off

24th June

In talking with other parents, I often find my side of the conversation turns to the necessity of honestly taking care of ourselves (or what Cindy Leavitt calls “resourcing” oneself) in order to show up fully as the parents our children need. Here is a post I’d like to share from my personal blog on one of the cornerstones of this subject.

********************************
One of my biggest soap boxes is SLEEP.

I strongly believe, based on lots of reading and personal experience, that each and everyone of us adults needs at least 8 hours of sleep per night.  And that those of us with small children need to plan for 9-10 hours of sleep per night to make up for all the nights that doesn’t go well.… Read more


Helping Children Flourish Conference: Early Registration is Open!

by Sara Easterly Comments Off

17th June

In case you haven’t heard the news, Early Registration is O-P-E-N for the Seattle Neufeld Community’s Helping Children Flourish conference! A big step for our brand-new nonprofit organization, this inaugural conference will take place on Saturday, September 28th from 8 am to 7 pm in Bellevue at Meydenbauer Center. We are honored and excited to bring this event to you and really hope to see you there.

Top nine reasons you should register for this conference:Helping Children Flourish Conference

  1. For in-the-trenches support and developmentally safe solutions for common caregiving struggles. We’re offering a total of 21 breakout sessions relevant to parents, educators, helping professionals, and other caregivers of children.

Read more

Contact us

by Jenni Pertuset Comments Off

10th June

We have discovered that we were receiving neither email nor messages sent via our Contact Us form. Yikes! We’re so sorry if we missed your message. We have now responded to the backlog of messages, but we know some have been lost. If you have a question or concern that we have not yet answered, will you try again? Our communication channels are functioning properly again, and we look forward to hearing from you.… Read more

Tags:

Thank you!

by Jenni Pertuset Comments Off

3rd June

We would like to extend a huge “THANK YOU” to all those who attended Cindy Leavitt’s presentation “Because I Said So!” on Saturday.

Cindy spoke about our alpha posture as parents, which provides the context from which we can provide the conditions our children need to allow them to adapt, becoming resourceful and resilient. And she provided insight and guidance for the “stormy weather” of aggression and counterwill (resistance and opposition) that is often stirred up when we provide the limits our children need.

I hope that you found something meaningful in it for yourself and your family. If you would like continue exploring this and other topics of child development and becoming the parents our children need, I invite you to join the free Parent Practice Group online or in person for conversation and community.… Read more


The Ultimate Futility

by Molly Hall Comments Off

28th May

The following post centers around the tragic events last December at Sandy Hook Elementary, and how they reverberated in my own heart and mind. It is with extremely mixed emotions that I share this. While I feel incredibly cautious about commenting on such a devastating tragedy, I also feel compelled to keep talking about it, for the sake of the many lives lost and the ongoing trauma of those left behind. My intention with this writing is explore how one goes on and faces the world after such things come to pass, not to cause any pain. But, in discussing it, I can’t help but to mention very heartbreaking things.Read more


Transforming with Braces

by Sara Cole Comments Off

20th May

Rosie, 9, got braces last week.  Technically she got an expander, the first part of a many step process stretching out over the next 18 months.  Her dad and I paid the full price in advance because of the discount offered, and after 5 days I’m satisfied we’ve already gotten our money’s worth.

Obviously this can’t be about the teeth because there is no way her overbite shifted radically in a few days time.  For me, our money amortized so quickly because of the parenting opportunities the orthodontic appliance has presented.

First, I get to orient my daughter to what is coming.  … Read more


Adapting Through Cookies, Tantrums, and Tears

by Sara Easterly Comments Off

14th May

If you don’t know about The Chocolate-Covered-Cookie Tantrum, a picture book written by Deborah Blumenthal and illustrated by Harvey Stevenson, you must!

This is a story originally published in 1996 that’s thankfully still in print – for very good reason. It’s a delightfully simple story, perfectly capturing the essence of being a child and the big feelings of not being able to get your way all the time. How huge that frustration is to the child, and how that ultimately leads to the goal almost every parent wishes for their child: that they are able to adapt – grow to maturity and be able to roll with, and learn from, life’s many challenges.… Read more


Soccer Mom

by Sara Cole Comments Off

15th April

My 12 year old son Theo can’t get enough soccer this year.  He plays for a select team which practices twice a week, plus at least one game per weekend. Since September he’s also had weekly one-on-one lessons with a coach he admires and likes. Over the cold rainy winter, Theo participated in the local indoor soccer league to keep his foot in the game. This spring break season, I find that I have agreed to thregWD4IWMmXpeWjiGNIgLzn7iXXO8KElrXS9dXO_AJACMe weeks of soccer camp in a row – one of the possibilities of being home schoolers is moving our school work to the afternoon to accommodate mornings of scrimmages, hilarious drills, and skill building games.… Read more


A Lovely (and Lucky!) Book for Spring

by Sara Easterly Comments Off

1st April

When talking about parents in the lead with their children, Dr. Gordon Neufeld often uses the metaphor of a mother duck with her ducklings lined up behind her. So when I first saw the cover for Lucky Ducklings, written by Eva Moore and illustrated by Nancy Carpenter (Scholastic, 2013), I was instantly excited about its potential.

Lucky Ducklings CoverThe picture book, a true story of a rescue that took place in 2000, did not disappoint. Though only recently released, it’s already become a favorite in our home.

The story begins with the Duck family, Mama swimming to shore and hopping onto the grass, followed by her ducklings: Pippin, Bippin, Tippin, Dippin, and Little Joe – the memorable duckling who’s always last of all, his curiosity of ladybugs, butterflies, and other wonders of the world so easily captivating this emergent little one.… Read more


Finding Our Soft Hearts

by Stacy Lewis Comments Off

23rd March

A couple of us moms were still preparing – skewering the hollow eggs so they could be painted, squirting small blobs of paint onto plates, and tying toothpicks to strings. The kids had just come in from outside and were flushed pink. Ms. Hayes suggested they sing a song, drawing them into a circle, and they held hands. Mica and I had come for the afternoon, to celebrate the beginning of spring.

Mica joined the circle and sang along, though he had never heard the song before. It was sweet. Then there was a part where you hooked arms with another and skipped around.… Read more


Latest Version #2

by Sara Cole 1 Comment

18th March

One of the things I so love about Neufeld’s material is how broad it goes – from helping me make sense of my children to myself to the world in general. One of the things I so love about our Seattle Neufeld Community is how deeply people take the material.

I have the great pleasure of sharing a poem with you from Jen Enich, a member of our SNC family. I am touched by her courage in sharing her vulnerability, her personal understanding of Neufeld’s ideas and her own creative expression that incorporates these ideas. I’m sure you will relate to what she expresses as well as enjoy and appreciate it as much as I do.… Read more


Missing Mommy

by Molly Hall Comments Off

13th March

This winter I have been rehearsing a play. The joy of doing theater, one of the great loves of my life, has been immense. But it has not come without a cost. I’ve spent many evenings at rehearsal, leaving bedtime duties to my husband. My children miss me. They want more time with Mommy, and who can blame them? It’s especially hard on my daughter who is in school for six hours a day. An actor herself, she also has drama classes three days a week after school. So, she and I have been like passing ships lately.

This is not exactly my ideal.… Read more


What We See

by Keiko Koizumi Comments Off

6th March

It was Saturday night. I had just returned from dropping the kids off at their other mom’s place. After another fulfilling yet exhausting week of single parenting, I looked forward to the quiet uninterrupted sleep awaiting me. Walking to my bedroom, I noticed my 4-year-old twin boys’ bedroom lights were still on. I walked in and my jaw dropped. The entire contents of their closet were strewn about all over the room. Every single drawer was emptied.

My knee-jerk reaction was to punish. “I’m going to leave this mess and make them clean it up when they come home Monday. They need to learn that this isn’t okay!” Well, immediately I knew what that would look like in reality and the inevitable struggle and frustration that would cause us all.… Read more


Thank You!

by Jenni Pertuset Comments Off

20th February

 
Cindy Leavitt: Heart MattersThank you so much for joining us last week for our first SNC events!

The events went wonderfully. We deeply enjoyed bringing people together and connecting with you. Cindy’s presentations on parenting and our adult partnerships were moving and inspiring. (We invite you to continue the conversation in the online Parent Practice Group). Our “Night Out” event and raffle set us well on the path toward establishing a scholarship program for SNC courses. And we had a great time listening to Paul Durham and dancing to Miss Rose and Her Rhythm Percolators.

We’re tremendously grateful to Attachment Parenting International of Seattle for hosting Cindy Leavitt in Seattle in the past, and terrifically pleased and proud of the momentum built here to enable the launch of the Seattle Neufeld Community with capacity to host Cindy’s presentations and many other offerings, including a full roster of courses and a day-long conference (save the date for September 28!).… Read more

Tags:

Happy Ever After

by Molly Hall Comments Off

12th February

 

Happy Ever After is a funny concept. At the end of a fairy tale, when the princess marries the prince, I always think, “Oh boy, now the real work begins.” The real story. The quest. If you’re lucky enough to find someone with whom you want to share your life, how do you live out your Happy Ever After? How do you enter into each day? Each year? How do you bring your full self to the table? How do you make space for the fullness of another person? In a way, it is a hero’s journey. You are given a golden treasure—real love—and it’s your quest to protect it.… Read more


Planting Our Tree

by Sara Easterly Comments Off

4th February

Last month the Seattle Neufeld Community planted a tree. Our logo.

Seattle Neufeld Community Logo

We chose a tree to represent our organization because it so eloquently symbolizes growth and maturation. A tree is so perfectly reflective of nature’s design.

A tree doesn’t need to be taught how to grow from a seed into a blossoming, mature adult tree. Just like children don’t need to be taught how to mature. Sure, you can shape and prune trees, train them to grow just the way you’d like. But trees don’t require shaping to grow into mature trees. And in fact, sometimes shaping does them harm, getting in the way of nature’s plan.… Read more


Mattering Most Means Frustrating Most

by Sara Cole Comments Off

21st January

 

“We get most frustrated at the people we love the most because of course those are the ones we want to make it work with.” (Common Challenges, Session 5, 34:12)

At the moment, I’m watching Neufeld’s Common Challenges course from the Power to Parent series.  This quote about who frustrates us really caught my heart.

Gordon goes on to give this lovely example of validating and normalizing a child’s frustration with their parent.  “That’s why mommies are the ones everyone gets frustrated with the most.  They’re the ones that are supposed to be the answer to life.  They fix everything.”

How many times do my children tell me I’m stupid and they hate me?  … Read more


Futility in Nature: Lessons from a Hurricane

by Molly Hall 1 Comment

14th January

When I first heard that a hurricane was headed toward the Northeast, I thought, “Eh, let’s drive to Pennsylvania and wait it out at my dad’s.” No big deal. We had a van, the blessing of a little advance notice, and time to get there. But as it inched up the coast I realized: the hurricane is going to hit Pennsylvania too. It’s an unprecedented convergence of two massive storms and I am not going to be able to dodge it.

So I shifted gears into preparing. Like everyone in my area, I bought batteries, candles, a camp stove, canned food, and water by the truckload.… Read more


Happy New Year!

by Sara Easterly Comments Off

10th January

Happy New Year!

Don’t put your champagne flutes down just yet, because there’s more to toast. A lot of exciting things are happening for the Seattle Neufeld Community. As the Leadership Team’s Marketing and Events Director I’m honored to share some of the highlights with you on behalf of our full leadership team, who’ve been dedicating great time and energy for months now to bring more Neufeld material to Seattle in support of parents and other caregivers of children.

We’ve gone pro!
Last month, the Seattle Neufeld Community incorporated as a nonprofit in the state of Washington, and we’re in the process of applying as a 501(c)3 organization.… Read more

Tags:

Heart to Heart

by Stacy Lewis 1 Comment

31st December

As good as heart can wish

“You like Sofie more than me!” Tears spilled out of Mica’s eyes as the rain spit down on us. We were standing on the sidewalk. Sofie, the toddler I babysit once a week, was already in the car.

I was drawn into a squat before him, “Oh, Mica, that is not true. I don’t like Sofie more than you. But I see how sad you feel.”

We stayed like that, together. I was choosing not to talk too much, trying to make room for his feelings. Though it was also true that I was squatting in the rain, next to the car, on our way to pick up Orlando.… Read more


On Being Cared For

by Sara Cole 1 Comment

17th December

Gordon Neufeld’s integrated attachment-base developmental paradigm, and the many wonderful courses he created to share the knowledge within it, is geared to help us make sense of our children.  His aim is to equip us as parents and caregivers with the the necessary insight to raise up children, bringing them to their full potential and maturity.

However, Neufeld’s paradigm is more broadly a story of human maturation and development.  So as I look at my kiddos, I can’t help but notice a few bits about myself.

Nowhere do my personal weakness and lacks show up more clearly than in my marriage.  … Read more


Imperfectly Perfect Bunk Beds

by Sara Easterly Comments Off

12th December

The other day my four-year-old was playing on the floor with Bristle Blocks while I fiddled around nearby, picking up the house. She told me she was making a bunk bed, but I could see her struggling with its structural soundness, growing more and more frustrated each time the structure crashed.

It didn’t take long before she called for help. Without trying to solve the problem for her, I talked with her about the different ways she could keep the top bunk propped up, and then we tested each option together.

I left her to her bunk-building, but within seconds she was frustrated again, calling me back.… Read more


You are loved.

by Jenni Pertuset Comments Off

27th November

Last night, I carried my side of a deeply important and moving talk with my daughter in a funny accent that ranges the map, usually landing somewhere between Russia and Italy. As the voice of my girl’s beloved stuffy Domo, I navigated her through a wilderness of shame and guilt, regret, and forgiveness.

Domo travels with my daughter between two houses. He carries extra hugs and kisses from me when we’re apart, and through my characterization, he entertains her when we’re together. When she came home with him after nearly a week apart — her longest separation from me in all her seven years — I was pleased to animate Domo once again.… Read more


It’s Different

by Sara Cole Comments Off

19th November

As you read this post, you’ll find that I’m talking about parenting in a specific circumstance. While my writing about parenting an adopted child may not seem to apply to your situation directly, Neufeld’s paradigm explains life so broadly, I invite you to alter my specific circumstance to your own.  
***************************************
Sometimes I hear people say they love all their kids the same. Honestly, I think there is just no way we can.  Each of our children is so different – with individual temperaments, needs, experiences of the world, talents and humor.  We have to love them each differently if we are to truly see who they each really are.  … Read more

Hurricane Sandy Relief

by Jenni Pertuset Comments Off

12th November

Molly Hall, a regular contributor to this blog, moved a year ago from Seattle to New Jersey, just outside of New York City. Although we miss her terribly, her friends and family and the greater Seattle Neufeld Community also very much continue to hold her close and feel her warmth and engagement from so far away.

Had things gone as planned, you would be reading Molly’s warm, thoughtful, and encouraging words today. But when Hurricane Sandy hit, caring for her family during the crisis was clearly Molly’s primary focus. Her family is safe and — finally — warm, but there are many others who are still in great need.… Read more

Tags:

The Same Monster

by Stacy Lewis Comments Off

5th November

Grist mini monster

I was covered in kids, both of whom were unhappy and insisting they had had the smaller share of mama-cuddling. We were a pile of tired and I was in surround-sound stereo: “But I want as many minutes as Orlando!” and “Mica went first last night!”

I rose up, if not bodily, then in energy, exclaiming, “Everything can’t be the same! Because it’s not the same! You are fighting to have equal amounts thinking that is the answer but it is a losing proposition! It will never be satisfying!”

I was lecturing, which never goes well. I managed to gather myself, slowing my words, winding down, eventually arriving back on earth.… Read more


Staying Warm This Season

by Sara Easterly Comments Off

29th October

For a while there it seemed like Seattle’s summer just might leave off its coat and stay for a while. But the new chill in the morning air, and at dusk, signals the changing of the seasons.

Officially in fall now, the windows at our house stay sealed shut at night. We’ve piled extra blankets onto the bed. In the wee hours of the morning, our heater kicks in, waking me up a few hours later with that old, familiar electric-heat dry throat and alligator skin. I’ve been turning on the electric heater in the girls’ playroom – a futile effort, really, but I do it anyway, at least keeping tiny toes toasty in the two-foot area the heater effectively warms.… Read more


Monkey Business

by Bill Barnes Comments Off

24th October

My children are monkeys. And whose aren’t? They chatter and plot and throw coconuts at us. And they climb, how children do love to climb! My son Theo carefully assays every tree he sees, rating its ease of climbability, and making some complicated internal decision about how high is enough. Depending on the branches, sometimes he goes all the way to the top. My daughter Rosie likes to climb trees too, but what she really likes to climb on top of is us.

If I had to single out the most important insight I’ve had about parenting, it’s that we are meant to be firmly in charge of our children.… Read more

Tags:

Making Space for Immaturity

by Molly Hall Comments Off

15th October

A few months ago, I had a conversation with Cindy Leavitt about my five-year old son. I was working through an angst-ridden decision about whether or not to send him to kindergarten. I shared all the layers of it with her. A part of me really wanted to send him to school. I thought perhaps it would be an opportunity for him to build some resilience. He is extremely sensitive and fiercely attached to me. I thought it might do him good to try his wings in a nurturing school environment. But on a deeper level, my intuition was telling me that he wasn’t ready.… Read more


Knowing Our Goal and Missing Our Mark

by Sara Cole Comments Off

10th October

I’m having a parenting tangent this week. As in “diverging from an original purpose or course.”

My childhood pastor introduced me to the word tangent during a sermon when I was probably 10. He talked about the origins of the word “tangent” and at length about the concept of missing our mark. He used the example of an archer, who instead of landing an arrow squarely on the target, aims poorly and sends the arrow glancing off the goal. I was captivated by the idea.

So here’s what my parenting tangent looks like.

For months now, one of my goals has been to find a way to create a strong, warm connection with my kids before starting off into our day because everyone gets happier and everything gets easier.… Read more


Book Review: Oh No, George!

by Sara Easterly 1 Comment

21st September

I’m getting excited for Cindy Leavitt’s presentation, Discipline That Doesn’t Divide, coming up tomorrow morning in Seattle. I saw her give this talk in 2011, and got so much out of it the first time that I’m headed back – both for a refresher and to discover the new gems I always find anytime I hear Cindy speak. (There’s still time to register for this talk, by the way, and I hope to see you there!)

One thing that especially resonated when I first heard Cindy give this presentation is the concept of aiming to changing a mind instead of changing a behavior – as Cindy described, it’s about soliciting good intentions – rather than demanding good behavior.… Read more


Invisible Discipline: Creating Context

by Molly Hall Comments Off

20th September

Sometimes, when people see me responding to my children’s behavior—especially the less-than-desirable kind—I’m sure they wonder what the heck I am doing. I’ve seen the raised eyebrows, the judgmental looks. But I’ve learned to let them roll off my back. Don’t get me wrong, I know that when one of my kids smacks the other one, or shouts something unseemly in public, it’s my responsibility to keep them safe and help them move past it. And certainly, if they hurt another child, I help them to make amends. However, I know some people would also like to see a stern reprimand, or some show of displeasure—maybe a time-out—so that they can be assured that I am “disciplining” my child.… Read more


True Discipline

by Sara Cole 2 comments

18th September

In short succession this past week, I’ve had two experiences that illustrate differing ideas about discipline beautifully. Last Saturday, I took my kids to a Sounders soccer game.  I bought the tickets the morning of the game for $5, and we took the light rail to avoid traffic and parking.  The train, not surprisingly, was packed with green-shirted fans. My daughter (9), quickly found a seat, but my son Theo (11) and I were left standing near her in the aisle.

Now, one of the things I know about Theo is that for him, physical affection (aka roughhousing) is love. A hug is okay, but a big hug where I pretend gravity is weighing me down and I might crush him makes him glow with delight.  

Read more
Tags:

School: a New Frontier

by Molly Hall Comments Off

11th September

This is a very big September for our family. After two years of home schooling, my little girl is attending public school. In many ways, it feels like we’re entering a new world. We are doing the daily rituals that lots of our neighbors have done for years: packing a lunch, grabbing the backpack, driving to school, and giving good-bye hugs and kisses…  It’s exciting. It’s bittersweet. And, after a lot of careful thought about what our daughter needed, it’s time.

As we navigate this new landscape, we’ve had the opportunity to practice many of the Neufeld concepts that we’ve been learning over the years.… Read more


Picture Book Review: The Art of Miss Chew

by Sara Easterly 1 Comment

5th September

So many children’s books published today aim to get the parents or other adults out of the way as fast as possible – or make them come off as complete dolts – in the name of making the child character the hero who solves his or her own problem.

As a children’s writer, I agree it’s imperative that children be the heroes of their stories, and that they should ultimately find their way through the story’s conflict to their own solutions. But that doesn’t have to come at the expense of including strong adult characters who are in the lead, caring for their children, and helping guide them through their struggles.… Read more


Accepting the Whole Child

by Sara Cole 1 Comment

31st August

These days, one rarely hears of children being punished for being left handed instead of right, or kids with a serious inclination for the arts sent to law school under threat of being disowned. We generally understand children’s need to be accepted for who they are. We are ready and willing to celebrate personality quirks, learning styles and inner passions.  But humans are more than their traits, we are also are a composite of the formative people in our lives. For me this is my mom and my dad.

Recently I attended a memorial service held for my mom’s oldest sister.  

Read more

The Privilege of Influence

by Molly Hall Comments Off

14th August

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to have such a deep attachment to my kids and, specifically, what a unique honor it is that, because of that attachment, I am able to influence them so profoundly. For better or for worse, who I am from day to day is literally shaping how they think, love, behave, and grow.

With some children, it can take a long time to soften their hearts, to make that deep attachment possible. Lots of things step in to keep them from being vulnerable. (And hearts can certainly be moody. Even a mostly-soft heart has its thorny days.) But once we get there, once our children’s hearts are wide open to us, we have a huge responsibility to use that connection well.… Read more


Slacklining It

by Sara Easterly Comments Off

6th August

A trendy sport at Seattle parks these days is slacklining – similar to tightrope walking, only it involves balancing on a belt strap that’s stretched between two attachment points, like trees. It’s also different from tightrope walking because the line isn’t rigidly taut; it stretches and bounces like a long, narrow trampoline.

While I’ve yet to give it a go, I know what slacklining feels like. I’m slacklining it every day in my parenting – taking it one foot at a time, trying to strike just the right balance, and keeping steady by fixing my eyes on the anchor point of providing the right conditions for my children to mature.… Read more


Beyond Good and Evil

by Bill Barnes Comments Off

31st July

One of my jobs is reviewing books, so I’m always reading something new. And since my son Theo (age “eleven-and-a-half”) reads even faster than I do, he’s always looking over my shoulder in the hopes that it will turn into a hand-me-down.

Last month I was reading some action adventure story and he wanted to know who the bad guys were. I told him a few details, but then I made a point to clarify that the bad guys weren’t actually, you know, bad.

This is not what eleven-and-a-half-year-olds want to hear, but it led to an interesting conversation.… Read more

Tags:

The Sadness of Sharing Mama

by Jenni Pertuset 1 Comment

23rd July

I take my daughter to “Kids’ Klub” at my gym, where the childcare is adequate, but far from stellar. I’ve helped the providers connect with her, and her with them, but the little ones tend to get most of their attention while the bigger kids are largely left to their own devices, with little intervention and lots of TV.

It has always been hard on my girl to share attention with younger kids, and at Kids Klub she faces that almost daily. I’ve focused on helping her feel her disappointment — if only she could feel sad, instead of mad, I’d know she was adapting to the situation and not just enduring it.… Read more


Noticing Tears

by Sara Cole Comments Off

17th July

So far this summer with our various family camps, travels and vacations (the kids and I are on a 2 week road trip right now), I’ve had quite a few opportunities to witness tears, in their many different iterations.

Since May, I’ve seen children experience tears of fear, anger, frustration, exhaustion and overwhelm. Adults (in a space separate from the children) weep similar tears, but also guilt, remorse, shame and suffering. I’ve noticed what I think of as tears of evasion – oozed from our eyes as we work to control and manage feelings that we would rather avoid, like someone crying “sad” tears when it looks to me they are really deeply angry.… Read more

Tags:

“You Were Supposed to Be This Colossus…”

by Molly Hall Comments Off

9th July

I was always going to be this superstar of a parent. It wasn’t even a question. From the time I was old enough to lift a doll, I just had an instinct for it. This is not ego; it’s the honest truth. And it springs from love. I have always loved children and had a natural gift for being with them. Over the years, I worked with kids in lots of different capacities: babysitter, daycare worker, French tutor, drama teacher, dance teacher. I loved it. I was fascinated by the art of communicating with kids and I worked hard at improving myself.… Read more


Out-of-Control Camping

by Sara Easterly Comments Off

4th July

Okay, people. You need to know that I’m conquering major feelings of personal inadequacy by writing a post with the word “camping” in the title. Even though I’ve gradually been learning to enjoy the sport, let’s just say camping isn’t exactly my forte.

It is, however, my husband’s. While we camped quite a bit* pre-kids, I’ve not felt up to giving it a go post-kids. I’ve skated through four summers with perfectly legit reasons why I couldn’t possibly entertain the idea of camping: two summers where I was humongously pregnant, followed by two summers chaotically spinning with two kids two and under.… Read more

Tags:

Stormy Weather

by Sara Cole 1 Comment

18th June

Many days the dog and I start our morning out with an early walk down by Lake Washington.  I find it a nice way to connect to myself and the larger world around me before engaging in the day with my children.

Friday morning took my breath away with the perfect cloudless sky, warm breeze, glassy still water and stunning views of Mt. Rainier.  This Monday morning was pretty much the opposite – moments after I walked away from my house the drizzle turned to a downpour.  With my hands pulled deep into my raincoat sleeves to keep them warm, water dripping off the bill of my cap and my soaking pants sticking to my legs, I watched the Mount Baker crew rowers work to keep their boats steady against the pounding waves while fellow teammates crawled back onto the docks.… Read more


Orchid Child on Roller-skates

by Molly Hall 1 Comment

11th June

In my ongoing quest to provide the conditions that my children need to flourish and grow, to feel both deeply nurtured and “called forth” into their potential, I am always walking a fine line. I make judgment calls every day. Is this too much for them? Should I push them a little? Am I being too indulgent? And, at the risk of stating the obvious, it is not easy. I try to stay true to my inner compass. I try to “see” my children clearly and provide what is needed. And, no matter what, I try to remain in my Big Mama posture so that, even when I make questionable calls, they sound true.… Read more


Softening by a Summer Splinter

by Sara Easterly 2 comments

5th June

My eldest daughter returned home from our family vacation last weekend with a half-inch splinter in her palm and I did a happy dance (even if just in my mind). Don’t get me wrong. The last thing I want is to see my daughter, who’s three-and-a-half, in any kind of physical pain. Pain aside, though, that splinter was a gift to my daughter and me.

I’d lost my parenting posture over our vacation, struggling a bit with personal overload and also having a hard time collecting her in the midst of so many other, more interesting sources of excitement.

For starters, there were her doting grandparents, who have a tremendous amount of love to give and delight in every opportunity to attend to her every whim, as grandparents so naturally do.… Read more