In today’s blog I am chatting with Jules Hare, Author of Raise Future Leaders: 3 Simple Steps to Transformational Parenting.
Heike: Hello Jules. Thanks for taking the time to virtually chat about your new book “Raise Future Leaders: 3 Simple Steps to Transformational Parenting”.
The topic of raising future leaders is all the more important these days given our current Covid situation. Parents are struggling. Kids are struggling. Your book offers help. So, I’m very glad we could do this.
First off, I want you to know that I really liked the book’s funky illustrations and its simple three step approach. It’s an easy read: clear, concise and straightforward. And then it introduces this lovely twist of parental self-awareness which takes your model to a whole other level. Intriguing to say the least. But, before I jump into asking you some specific questions about the model, would you please give those who haven’t read the book (yet) a quick overview of how the model works.
Jules: Get ready, you’ve heard these steps before… some of you may even remember them from Kindergarten…
STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN.
For parents, these basic steps when directed inward awaken new perspectives of the old patterns and programming at work within us. When we shift our focus to prioritize our own growth potential and trust in ourselves as leaders, we empower our kids to do the same. All this begins with Stopping, Looking and Listening to ourselves as well as to our kids.
Heike: Great. Thanks. My first question deals with why you think this model is better than more traditional top down parenting models and how, given today’s culture of time scarcity, parents can put your model with its extra steps into practice.
Jules: For over 20 years I’ve worked as a Cranial Sacral Therapist. What I’ve seen and believe more and more clearly with every passing year is that our reality is created from within us. The way we perceive the world, the way we react to our environment and the people around us, it all starts inside of us. The MOST transformative sessions I’ve facilitated have been the ones where a client connects deeply to and holds space for a part of themselves that holds rich wisdom: that they finally Stop for, Look at, and Listen to this part of themselves.
When parents allow challenges with their children to reveal to them that which is really wanting their attention INSIDE themselves, then their children innately see and come to trust this process too. Does it take courage to look deeper, to not immediately brace against discomfort? Yes, absolutely. But not as much time as you might think; it just takes a lot of repetition and practice which only gets easier over time.
Parenting is full of ‘practice playgrounds’, when we shift our perspective to practicing and learning TOGETHER and SHARING instead of the ‘top-down’ approach of ‘telling’, we empower our kids to trust in their own potential too. After all, no matter how old we are, we ALL want to be honoured and respected for who we are. Why would we then, as parents, not honour our kid’s innate wisdom and build trust alongside each other as equals learning and teaching each other?
The end result is that children grow into becoming their own great problem solvers. This not only actually saves time, but, is the piece that teaches them to trust their own judgement, gain confidence and prepares them to naturally step into leadership roles. In a nutshell, through practice we become better at it and as we become better at it, it takes less time. Therefore, we create, not only stronger more confident kids, but also more abundance of time in a state of presence. In some instances, it helps to eliminate time scarcity. This is just one of the reasons that’s it is a more wholistically effective and balanced parenting model.
Heike: My next question is about distraction. In your book you talk about a young woman who, as a child, wanted to tell her mother that she has been sexually abused. When she approaches her mother, she finds that her mother is busy and distracted. Consequently, she loses her nerve and doesn’t share the story of her abuse for years. That is a pretty devastating story for any parent to hear. I don’t know of a parent, myself included, who hasn’t been, at one time or another, distracted and not fully attentive to the child standing in front of them. Within the context of your model could you speak to how parents can more easily recognize when they are distracted and what to do when these situations arise?
Jules: True. All parents (and humans for that matter) get distracted. Sometimes those distractions are of extreme importance. But, there’s no way our kids could have or need our attention all of the time: that’s too unreasonable of a demand on anyone.
I want to make it very clear that this model leaves room for lots of learning leaps (aka mistakes), it’s not about protecting our kids (or ourselves) from getting hurt or experiencing uncomfortable feelings.
I used that particular example because it’s an extreme example of what could be lost when we don’t Stop, Look and Listen. In the situation you’re referring to, the parent was prioritizing her own reality so much so that she wasn’t able to slow down and be present with her child. She was so distracted that even though her child was in front of her, she was unable to re-focus here attention in order to STOP. As a result, she couldn’t see that her daughter was struggling. She didn’t STOP to LOOK. Therefore, she was unable to offer or create the space needed for understanding: to LISTEN.
When parents continually practice these 3 simple steps for themselves, they become more aware and attuned to their own reactions and patterns of behaviour. This leads to their gaining a greater awareness of their own tendencies to get distracted. Once aware of their own patterns, it becomes easier for them to differentiate between their own reactions and those of their child’s. It then also becomes easier to recognize their child’s varying reactions, expressions, body language and behaviours. They come to know when something is serious and in need of immediate attention, and when it just needs to be acknowledged as a challenge and revisited later. Like all things, raising future leaders is a process.
My transformational parenting model honours both kids and parents; it’s recognizes that they each have their own perspectives and priorities that vary greatly because they’re at very different stages of learning.
Heike: Thanks. That’s helpful. What would you suggest a parent do when they find themselves in a situation where they themselves have to disengage or they freeze because they do not know how to handle a situation? Is there a way to safely re-engage and create a solution that still works?
Jules: Great question! Who among us hasn’t been ‘thrown’ by a situation so much so that we’ve felt immobilized within ourselves? How could you possibly be present for your kids when you can’t even be present for yourself, right?!
Our family’s experience with COVID 19 is a great example of this. As news quickly unravelled that March break was going to be ‘extended’ and possibly for an indefinite period of time we all found ourselves off-kilter to say the least. My husband and I were grappling with what to do with our therapy practice. The kids, having been instructed to bring home their ‘indoor shoes’ and clean the important things out of their lockers and cubbyholes ‘just in case,’ were confused regarding their future at school. As I stated in my book, kids can palpably feel the elephant in the room. Telling them that “everything is fine” and “don’t worry” is like telling them their deepest instincts are wrong. They can very obviously see that things aren’t fine. To honour yourself and your child most in these situations you must be truthful.
Your depth of explanation isn’t nearly as important as your authenticity, especially in these extreme situations. Saying something as simple as “I don’t know”, or “I’m not sure right now, I need some time to process this” are all honest responses from you. It’s important in these moments for your child to know that you acknowledge they’re there and that they matter. When everything around them is so confusing and the person they look up to most seems so disoriented, this is all the more important. In our situation I remember saying “I honestly have no idea what’s going to happen. What I do know is that we’re going to get through this together. Whatever it looks like, we’ll all know we’re here for each other.”
As parents we feel the need to always be strong and protect our kids from the world. This transformational parenting model leaves room for them to develop their own relationship and trust in the world, knowing they have YOU, and your trust and love in their potential supporting them. As a parent it’s most important to accept yourself and where you’re at first. Your kids need to know that’s ok AND natural in intense situations, even when you feel overwhelmed or freeze. Just acknowledge that elephant in the room as soon as you can, and as soon as you’re ready….. befriend it, name it if you need to, and eventually you’ll be able to introduce it to your child as a possibly irritating but important part of your growth (and therefore their growth too).
Heike: Thanks so much Jules for taking the time to chat, share your insights and answer my questions. I feel more informed and I’ve already read the book. Always a pleasure.
For those interested in learning more about Raising Future Leaders check out Jules’ book now available in paperback at your local bookstore or on Amazon. Also available in E-book and audiobook at JulesHareShares.com
Once again Jules, thanks for creating and sharing this model. It’s impacted how I think about parenting as well as how I interact with others in general. It’s a resource I will share with others and no doubt refer to in the future.
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