Indiana girl at heart 46062 317-350-0037 tparke@terriswritings.com MWF 9a-12p Tuesday-Thursday 2p-4pm Also by appointment

Leading with Trust: Believing in Others

I am a very trusting person.

One of my strengths in this area is that I trust people when they tell me something.

One story, where this strength helped, was during an activity during one of my first courses in graduate school.

We were put into groups, and we were given a problem. We were encouraged to figure out what was wrong, come up with steps to solve it, and try to figure out the origin of the issue.

The story was about a boy who wasn’t listening. His parents would tell him what to do, he didn’t listen.

His teachers would tell him what to do, he still did not listen.

There was a teacher meeting together with the parents to talk about what were the supports in his life that were missing that would help him become more able to listen.

As we were brainstorming, which is a very specific task where all ideas are good, no feedback is given about the ideas, and everyone keeps coming up with ideas for a certain amount of time, I made a suggestion.

‘What if he can’t hear?

What if it isn’t that he isn’t listening, but that he cannot hear what is being said’.

In this instance, that was what was happening,

A child could not hear, and therefore was not listening.


I have talked previously about my trip to France in 1990.

We went to France and Switzerland, and were located for about 2 weeks at a camp near enough to visit Lyon, France; walk into Switzerland and get some chocolate; and to visit the Peugeot Plant.

We were there to get to know each other as people, and were all careful to state to each other that we did not represent each other’s countries.

At the time, Europe was not known as Europe as much as it was known as individual countries. In France you paid with Francs, and in Switzerland it depended on what part of the country you were in to determine both the primary language spoken and I believe the currency.

My friend from Denmark ‘squished her food’. As we watched her, she was quick to say that smooshing all of her food together is typical in Denmark. She had a very specific reason for doing it, but I do not remember what it was.

My friend from Bath in England did not like carbonation in her coke. She was quick to say that this was not a Bath issue, and this did not represent England, but she did not like carbonation and she suggested that we all try it. I have to admit, a flat coke does have its merits.

Two boys from France and one of the leaders Gregoire, who was also from France, were the hardest to understand.

At that time, people in France were resistant to learning English. As they pointed out, they still spoke English better than we spoke French (my sister and me), but they had an accent that was hard for us to understand.

Those two weeks of learning to communicate, learning about each other, and experiencing the local culture, had a very strong affect on me and my approach to learning about and interacting with others.

If my go-to is to believe someone, then all of the problem solving we do, based on the facts as they are presented, are not me trying to prove that they are lying.

My feeling is we all have different interpretations of the truth, so if your truth is that you were hurt, then lets go with that and work to help you feel less pain.

Application

As people in your life tell you things that you know are not factually true (I call them bad reporters, or say they have ‘bad facts’), think about the payoff.

What is it about telling this misrepresentations of the truth or facts that is helping them gain? How are we promoting this by giving a response or feedback?

What can each of us do to help know the difference between ‘this is not your business’, which happens on occasion, and ‘I am misleading you in some intentional way’.

If your strength is pointing out misrepresentations of facts, what population does that work for?

I am best with teens/pre-teens. They tell me something that is not accurate and my response is ‘huh-that seems hard to believe’. I do not disbelieve them, but I do point out the reasons that make their statement hard to believe.

I am second best with building people up who have not treated themselves with the respect that I would like them to.

How do you think about groups of people , whether that be people who speak a different language than you do, people who are developmentally an adolescent, or whether they are people who have lived for many years, who do you connect with?

How can you use that connection to help their connections?

Something to think about.

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Parenting with Fierceness: Raising the Bottom

One of my favorite roles as a professional has been teaching a class for first-time substance users who were teenagers.

The program occured in Clinton County, Indiana and was funded through the Probation Department to help educate youth about substance use and abuse in order to help prevent future under-age/illegal use.

One of the phrases I used in that role was ‘raise the bottom’.

I have found, as a therapist working primarly with teens and youth, that encouraging the adults who are helping to provide teens with structure and consequences to ‘raise the bottom’ to be somewhat of an ambiguous term that at times needs an explanation.

When I think of this term, I also think of ‘failing small’.

Failing small is when we allow those in our lives, or in our care, to fail so that they experience some failure which can help motivate them to make some changes based on the consequences they receive.

For my own children, one of the tactics we used as parents was to state ‘That’s one consequence’ in the middle of a 4 year old’s temper tantrum.

Continue with the tantrum? That’s two consequences.

The actual consequences were discussed and determined later, when both the child and the parents had a clearer head.

I know, for myself, if I had followed the urge to hand out a consequence at the time it would have sounded something like ‘you are never going to leave your room again!!’ or ‘time out, no movie, no gameboy, and no television for the rest of the night!’

For children in the heat of anger and tantruming, this can sound very much like a challenge they will try to win.

During my sons’ middle school years, I supervised a Pregnant and Parenting Teen program. The program was staffed in 8 hour shifts.

The staff frequently became very frustrated with the residents in our care.  At the time I supervised this program, my own children were in middle school.

In addition, I have quite a stubborn streak, which can help me in guiding those who are dealing with people who like to be persistent. Those working to connect and motivate frequently experience an amount of frustration.

“If you decide to go toe-to-toe with a teenager, they will win”

“They are better and more locked into winning this battle, so as stubborn and persistant as you feel you may be, they are still going to get the better of you due to their super-power ability in this area”

Those are some phrases I said consistently when supervising staff who were having some frustrations.  

We then worked together to problem solve some trauma-informed, natural consequences to attempt to motivate our teens who were pregnant or parenting.

Now let’s think of this area in terms of parenting your own children:

When we raise the bottom, we allow our children to experience a natural consequence to their choice.

An example of this could be wearing shorts on a cold day. The child/teen will be cold if they do not dress appropriately for the temperature.  That is a consequence of dressing for summer in the winter.

If you do not turn in your homework, your grade will reflect that. A ‘0’ score brings down a percentage much more quickly than a score of even 50%, so turning in your homework will help your grades if you are motivated by grades.

These get tricky, because we as parents tend to remember all of the things we wish we would have known when we were teenagers, and can recognize that lecturing and informing our child about this will certainly motivate them.

Which it probably will, it just may not motivate them in the way you are seeking.

If they are self motivated, they may not need much guidance in terms of completing their homework.  If they are high achievers, the grades or feedback themselves generally motivate them.

As we think about what areas we want to work on as parents or employers, I encourge you to think of 1-2 things you’d really like to focus on.

I encourage parents to tackle one area at a time with a child in their life who is generating some frustration.

When I am meeting with teens or pre-teens, I encourage them to learn to recognize what the consequences are for their choices before they do the act of whatever thing they may be choosing to do at that time.

Learning to recognize their feelings about conseuqneces and whether or not they are motivated to change their behaviors based on the potential consequences is another area for teens and parents to think about as they make choices and consequences to them.

Utilizing In Your Life.

I would like you to think about something you’d like to focus on with someone who is in your life at this time.

What behavior would you like to spend less time focusing on talking about or dealing with, and how would you like to allow your child to spend more time allowing your child to experience that natural or prescribed consequence?

Some sources of frustration might be related to spending money on meals, movies, etc; working on grades/homework; or anything that is causing you frustration as you and your child interact.

Now I encourage you to set aside a time to meet with the person who you are having some frustrations with, and talk about some ways to handle this differently.

Maybe you check their grades less often, or you monitor their spending a little bit less, or maybe you give them less access to funds.

Now that you have thought of what to talk about, and thought of a time that might work for a conversation, I encourage you to talk during a peaceful time.

This time could be in the car on the way to somewhere, it could be during a meal, or it could be a scheduled time where you take into consideration their schedule and how they will respond at that time of day.

It could be at a time that just ‘pops up’. We call these teachable moments, and you as the adult or other participant in the relationship can work look for opportunities as they arise naturally.

One time that I will discourage you from choosing, when dealing with teens, is right when they wake up. Clearly, though, that is up to you.

To summarize:

‘Raising the Bottom’ means letting the person in your life experience real consequences to their behavior to help motivate them to make change vs. saving them/protecting them from all consequences.

I hope you can experience a little less frustration in an area that has been frustrating for you.

Thanks for reading!

 

Parenting with Fierceness: Some Drawbacks and Perks from a Mom of Twins

I was so excited the day in 1997 when our obstetrician told us we were having twins.

We had waited for them for just a little bit longer than some people do, as fertility was something that I had to work a little harder at than some other things I had set to accomplish in my our 25 and 26 years of life.

We found out at about 20 weeks gestation that they were both boys, so from then on we set to naming them.

As many can imagine, parenting them (let’s face it, being pregnant with them) has had its own set of challenges and rewards.

14 lbs is really too much baby for a uterus, and chasing two 18 month olds was enough to keep anyone on their toes.

I’m not even going to go into potty training two toddlers at once or teaching two of them to drive at the same time.

Who wins?

For today, let’s focus on game playing.

One thing I was never able to completely do was to parent them in a way where one of them was able to consistently ‘win’ at games we played together.

We played a lot of board games (or ‘bored’ games as my husband and one of my sons tend to call them) as they were growing up. The person who won the game was always the person who ‘actually’ won the game.

In Uno, we each tried our hardest to be the one to run out of cards first. In Monopoly Jr., the goal had something to do with Mickey Mouse, so that effort was put forth to win applied to that game as well.

When they were about 4 years old, we got together with a childhood friend of mine whose son is about 6 months younger than they are.

As we were playing, she got a confused look on her face.

‘How do you decide which one is going to win?’

I looked at her with an equally confused look, since the person who won was the person who got the joy of winning.

She went on ‘Well, I tend to let my son win, so if you have two the same age, how do you decide which one wins each time?’

At that moment, I realized how another facet of having and raising twins is different than raising singletons.

My children have never individually been my ‘one and only’.  They have always each been one of my ones and only, but they have also had each other for as long as they have had their dad and me.

Parenting using a Zone Defense

Another incident that comes to mind from around the same age occurred when I took them to a playground with a childhood friend whose son is a little over 2 years younger than they are.

We went to a park in Fishers, Indiana, where she lived at the time.

There was a very large playground there, where we watched our children from far enough back to be able to catch them if any of them got too far away or hurt themselves.

We experienced some frustrations because some of the other parents (or ‘those Fishers parents’ as we called them at the time) watched their children from such a close distance that if their child ran quickly through the playground, the parents had to either book it to the other side of the playground set or jump up and go through the obstacles themselves.

Kind of like a zone defense vs. man to man in basketball. We utilized the zone defense, the one to one parents really put in a lot more legwork.

We were both amused when parents were on the playgroud itself. They had to do some interesting gymnastics to try to keep up with their child as they skirted out of arms reach.

These children, who we have now raised into twenty somethings and now have peers in college and in the workforce, are now much, much bigger than they were at 4 and 2 years of age.

In Summary:

The takeaway from this article is thinking about how, as we parent, are in relationships, and supervise others, are we providing that balance of support and autonomy.

We want our children to stay safe.

Those big giant heads help us to do that as we understand that they cannot meet their own needs.

As we are in relationships where we want our children to grow and become more automonous, how do we provide that support while also enabling them to have some small failures and to be independent in the process?

As someone who has supervised 20 something staff for many years, I started to hear ‘you are just like my mom!’ several years ago.

I have talked with staff about how their parents encouraged their independence, as I encouraged them to separate from their parents in ways that would help them to become adults who are able to work independently and productively.

This task, for me as a supervisor, is much easier than the task is for me as a parent.

As my children moved to Bloomington as 18 year old ‘adults’, I thought of all of the things my husband I had done to encourage their confidence and independence, and all of the things we have done that has allowed them to continue to rely on us.

Putting Into Practice

As you think about the people in your life who you are trying to help become successful, independent, good-enough decision-making adults, what are some areas that you feel you have success in?

What is one specific area that you can look at about what you have done, whether that is with a friend, a spouse, an employee, or a child you have a role in raising, that you can look back on and think

‘I am doing a pretty good job at that task’?

What areas can you think of where you are helpful to someone else?

Now I encourage you to think of an area where you have what I call ‘room for growth’.

As you think about that area, what is something that you think about that you can be doing presently to help yourself, someone close to you, or a future relationship you hope to have?

When you think about that area you have room for improvement in, what is one specific thing you can think about that you will try to be better about?

For me, I encourage myself to remember that 21 year olds have a lot of independence and a lot of questions about how to maintain that independence.

The next task: identify something you’ll do, make a note of it in some way that you’ll remember, then make an effort and do it.

Now decide by when….

Happy Friday! It’s definitely my favorite day of the week!

Gotta Let the Dog Out

And Other Things People Say and Do to Motivate and Stay on Task

Have you ever been somewhere, where you wanted to be at first, and then you wanted to leave?

I usually want to be where I am, and my brother usually wants to be where he is going next.  I have noticed that once I get somewhere, I have to give myself a schedule to leave or else I will just stay until everyone has left.

For him, he likes to set a timeline which allows him to stay long enough, and then he frequently leaves just a little bit before that time is up.

I think an accurate description for my brother and me is that I have stagnant inertia (or lack of inertia), so I like to stay where I am, and he has forward inertia, because he is always moving to the next thing.

Currently, I am grand-pup sitting.

I was sitting in my local Starbucks last week, where I have gotten to know several other people who also spend time in Starbucks.

My son, one of the puppy’s dads, was home sleeping, and so was Mosby, our puppy. He is just about 1.5, so he’s still got another 1.5 years of puppy-dom.

The person I was sitting next to had to leave to drive to a different town.  I utilized that opportunity to leave as well, since I wanted to make sure I got home to the puppy at a decent time.

I said ‘I need to let the puppy out’. This was a true statement, and was what was helping motivate me to move from my current location of Starbucks.

My new friend was reminded of someone who used to say that as his ‘goodbye’ line.  The person (he could not remember where his reference came from), used to say that everytime he was ready to leave.

It is probably the equivalent of saying ‘I have to go, I have a meeting’, which I said a lot in my previous role as Director at a social service agency.

The thing was, I almost always did have a meeting to attend.  I supervised 13 staff, had meetings in four counties, and I have a tendency to chat.

Due to my own love of chatting, at work I try to limit my chatting times to right before I have to be somewhere.

This leads me to a couple of things to think about for today:

What things do you like to say when you need to transition from one location to another, and you don’t have a ‘work’ or  ‘obligation’ reason to do that?

What helps motivate you to go somewhere when you would rather stay where you are?

If you are someone who has trouble motivating yourself to start doing something, what self-talk, action, or reward do you give yourself to help yourself get it done?

If you are someone who is more likely to stay where you are, what words, phrases, or incentives do you use to help yourself get to that next place?

If you always want to move on the next thing, what timelines do you give yourself to stay where you are before moving on?

Now for today’s goal: Set yourself a guideline to do something, whether it is a work obligation, a fun obligation, or just something for you, and try to make that happen.

Now set a goal for when you want that to happen-how about today, tomorrow, or at least this week?

Kindle on a Beach
An Afternoon at the Beach is not something where I need to be motivated to be

Have a great day! Hope your motivational efforts are effective and help you complete a task or two today.

Growing Up is Hard to Do

Ever wonder what makes it so hard to grow up?

A good friend was talking with me this morning about this frustration. I have also noticed that kids who are around 20ish (I’ll always call them kids) are not nearly in the rush to grow up that I was.

Her specific frustration was about an adult in her life who is not as big of a fan of sharing the tasks related to maintaining their home as she would like.

She had been talking with her dad, who had noticed the same frustration occuring among females he knows who are associated with men in their lives.

As a parent of 2 boys and a wife to a husband, I recognize things I have done througout the years to encourage them both to complete tasks, and to be needy in other areas.

I like things done a specific way.

For instance, when we are all folding laundry together (something we do less often since they live in Bloomington, Indiana and I live in Noblesville), I like things stacked by the drawer they belong in once they are put away.

So, pants go in a pile, socks go together by user, and t-shirts go in a pile by owner.

Seems pretty easy, right??

I can tell you that it has not been an easy training for 2 of my 3 trainees. One of my sons has a brain that organizes similarly to mine, so he automatically does it what we call ‘the right way’.

My other son, who is a little craftier in how he completes his tasks, learned to fold v e r y, v e r y slowly. He would give me a hug when he was younger than 13 or so, which of course I appreciated.

Interestingly, he folded fewer items than the rest of us.

I watch the 20 somethings who work when I attend local restaurants, coffee shops, and clothing establishments.

One of the things I notice is that the teens and twenty somethings are very good at completing specific tasks.

Frequetly, if you give them a task, they put their head down, focus internally, and complete it.

Almost as if they had their face in a phone.

They can be very friendly while asking for your order, but being friendly WHILE they enter your order into the cash register seems more difficult.

Another thing I have noticed is that in the community where I live, there are older, pseudo-retired people who are helping the youth learn to take orders from people in eating/coffee establishments.

I get called ma’am, sweetie, honey, etc. more now than when I was younger, more spoiled, and cuter. Back then I was regularly called ‘princess’.

I never took that one for a compliment at the time, mostly due to the fact that it was not intended to be one.

A couple of questions to leave you with today:

What helps you complete tasks without being told to do them? What is your intrinsic (internal)  enjoyment at completing things that are necessary, and how do you go about getting those tasks completed?

What do you think is something, one thing, that you can do to help others around you complete the tasks about which you tend to micro-manage?

If the other person is a child, I encourage you to help them come up with a way to complete a small task, which you can then give them some positive reinforcement for completing.

This could be clearing their plate from the table, getting dressed without being asked, avoiding whining when asked to brush their teeth, etc.

It will be something that you want them to complete without your assistance.

If the person you are wishing would complete more tasks is a life partner, spouse, or loved one, I encourage you to talk together, at a time when neither one of you is angry, about a couple of tasks you each wish the other one would do more often.

Have a conversation, where each of you is allowed to speak and be heard, about an idea you have and then listen to the feedback about how your loved one, friend, or roommate feels about that task.

Come up with one for each of you, or one for yourself, and try to make it happen.

Hope you enjoy a youthful moment today. Enjoy your Monday!

2018 ends, 2019 begins: The New Year

As 2018 ended, I wrote and article about some of my aspirations for 2019. We have some pretty major changes coming up in our location.

Click below for an article posted on Thrive Global about New Year Aspirations. Happy Reading!

https://thriveglobal.com/stories/new-year-aspirations-heres-a-couple-from-me/

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