Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday, August 3, 2012

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Book Review and Give Away: What Not to Say by Sarah MacLaughlin

 Sarah MacLaughlin and I are doing a book review swap today. Here's where you can go to see her review of my new book, Consciously Parenting: What It Really Takes to Raise Emotionally Healthy Families. 

I’m delighted to introduce you to Sarah MacLaughlin, author of the book, What Not To Say: Tools for Talking with Young Children. Sarah is a licensed social worker in Maine and the mother of a 4 year-old little boy, who gives her lots of practice with what to say (or not to say).

I’ve got to tell you that the positive parent in me was going crazy with the title of this book. I don't know about you, but at this point in my parenting career, I'm pretty clear about what I don't want to do or say as a parent. Of  course, sometimes that is what is most readily accessible, isn't it?!  

But once I actually opened the book, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the book was full of suggestions, helpful children's stories to read with your little ones if you're struggling with a particular issue, and lots of suggestions for what TO do. 

I was happy. And, it turns out that the way that it is written, the title is really perfect. She helps us all understand in simple language the phrases that most of us have heard and possibly used with our children, then what we need to know about it as parents, followed by suggestions for handling the situation positively. How great is that?!

What I love most about this book:
-It is short.
-It is easily digestible.
-No matter what page you open to, you’re going to find nuggets of wisdom.
-It is positive! Lots about what TO do with your kids. 
-It is based on current research on the brain, but I don't need a degree in neuroscience to apply it.
-Seriously, I loved the sweetness of having children's stories suggested that go along with the phrase to avoid with your young children. I always have parents asking me for stories and Sarah already did the work to find them! Yay, Sarah! 

This book would have really been a great resource for me when my own children were between the ages of one and six.  But even now that my children are older (8 ½ and 13 ½), there were still nuggets of wisdom that got me really thinking about my own journey and struggles as a parent. I definitely encourage you to check out this book and Sarah’s work.

I’m the book-end of Sarah’s month long blog tour. In the next day or so, Sarah will be giving away a Kindle Touch, so enter now if you’d like a chance to win! Details below.

Special Giveaway!
Please comment on this post about why you'd like your own copy of What Not to Say. Your comment enters you in the eBook Giveaway -- to win an ebook copy of What Not to Say: Tools for Talking with Young Children, in the format of your choice: PDF, epub, or Kindle format. Sarah will be giving away one copy at each blog stop and will announce it on the comments of this post tomorrow. Be sure to leave your email so we can contact you in case you're the winner!
Other stops and opportunities to win during this Blog Tour are listed on Sarah's blog here:
Also, you can enter at Sarah's site for the Grand Prize Giveaway: a Kindle Touch. Winner will be announced at the end of the tour after July 15th. Go here to enter:

About The Author
Sarah MacLaughlin has worked with children and families for over twenty years. With a background in early childhood education, she has previously been both a preschool teacher and nanny. Sarah is currently a licensed social worker at The Opportunity Alliance in South Portland, Maine, and works as the resource coordinator in therapeutic foster care. She serves on the board of Birth Roots, and writes the "Parenting Toolbox" column for a local parenting newspaper, Parent & Family. Sarah teaches classes and workshops locally, and consults with families everywhere. She considers it her life's work to to promote happy, well-adjusted people in the future by increasing awareness of how children are spoken to today. She is mom to a young son who gives her plenty of opportunities to take her own advice about What Not to Say. More information about Sarah and her work can be found at her site: and her blog:

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sleep, sweet sleep! $10 off series (through Sunday midnight eastern ONLY)

Did you know that the way you sleep (or not) is part of you SHOWING your early stories? And that when you take the time to integrate your daily life, as well as specific things that have happened to you, that you'll sleep better? And so will your children (beginning at birth!). 

I'm so delighted to offer $10 off this very special program that gives parents another way of looking at sleep issues. Rather than resorting to cry-it-out or wait-until-they-outgrow it, Ray and Mary offer something different altogether that respects everyone's needs. This series follows a real family through their journey to help their daughter (and themselves) sleep better and create a new understanding of each member of their family. We know you'll learn a lot listening to their journey, as many other parents have already.

I've been so intrigued by what I've seen and experienced with the work of Ray Castellino and Mary Jackson (of and BEBA (Building and Enhancing Bonding and Attachment) in Santa Barbara, CA. I've learned so much about myself and my own early patterns, and have wished I had known this information when my babies were little.

You see, I had a baby who wouldn't sleep. Who struggled to nurse. Who was colicky and fussy. It never occurred to me that the way we went through our pregnancy together and the way his birth happened had anything to do with his behavior as a newborn, a baby, a toddler, and into his later years and particularly how he slept. We muddled our way through and eventually he started sleeping better. (And now that he's 13, I have a hard time getting him to wake up before noon.) But I wonder how different it could have been if I'd had some additional understanding and tools to help us!

Ray Castellino and Mary Jackson explore a real-life sleep challenge with Beth and Scott and 2 year-old Beata. Listen in as they learn how to help her sleep and understand why she isn't sleeping well in the first place. This weekend ONLY, get $10 off this one-of-a-kind series. (Full series includes the recording of the teleseminar with Ray Castellino, 3 recordings with Beth and Scott, transcripts of those audios, and the recording on Story Sharing as well. Normally priced at $50, the series is available this weekend only for $40!)

For more information and to hear an audio clip, click here.

This deal ends Sunday at midnight eastern time.

If you want to sign up for the Daily Deal emails, and receive a new deal each day through July 31st, click here!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Deal of the Day for Consciously Parenting

We're trying something here at The Consciously Parenting Project for the month of July ONLY. We love the idea of Groupon, so we thought we'd try having our own Deal of the Day. You get a good deal and a sampling of what we offer and we get our resources out into the hands of people who need them, which is why we created them in the first place.

We've put together 31 days of good deals- from free items to nearly free items, deep discounts and other good deals. You can check the page daily to see what we're offering or you can sign up to get a daily email with the basic information delivered to your inbox. Each day, you have 24 hours to respond to the offer before we take it down and put up a new one. Offers begin and end at midnight eastern time each day.

For example, today ONLY, we're offering a 60-minute consultation session with me for only $75- that's $15 off! We've only offered this once before and don't plan to offer it again anytime soon. Limit 4 per family. Sessions (phone, Skype, or in-person) must be used by Dec 31, 2012.

What do you think? Have any requests? If you like our work, please help us to spread the word about our resources and this special event. Thank you!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day to the Father of my boys

Dear Ryan,

As I think about this Father's Day at this juncture in our lives together, I really want to celebrate the Father you are to our boys today.

Palm Harbor Auto Show 2012

Scouts Promotion 2012

Josh's first pilot lesson
Supporting Josh in the plane

View from the spoil island, camping

Beehive Adventures

Trying out the my office

Getting ready to camp on a spoil island summer 2011

NYC subway, summer 2011

Happy Birthday, Josh!

Fantasy of Flight, Nov 2011

It has never been about perfection in my eyes, but about willingness to try again when things didn't go well.
Pinewood Derby 2012

I love your adventuresome spirit and I know our boys do, too. From the time they were little, they've enjoyed being thrown up into the air, giggling with delight as you caught them.

Beehive Buddies
Homemade cardboard box smoker

As they grew older, it was camping adventures and now learning about bee hives. You bring your own curiosity to your fathering and a willingness to figure out how to make adventures  happen.

You're navigating your own way through the twists and turns of parenting and forging a relationship with your boys in a way that's different than the relationship I have with them. This is as it should be.

It isn't about perfection. It isn't about always knowing what to do, but it is in realizing when it doesn't feel right, about knowing your own story and getting to know yourself as a parent. It is about paying attention to how the relationship feels and learning to adjust your sails when necessary. And we all have moments when we realize we're pointing in a direction we didn't intend to go.

It isn't always easy. And maybe living with a "parenting expert" isn't the easiest thing, either. But I see you and I appreciate the efforts you are making. And so do our boys.

Happy Father's Day, Ryan!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Guilt: Are You Alive Enough?

When I first saw the cover of Time magazine's issue with the nursing 3 year-old on the cover, I had really mixed feelings. I believe that a nursing relationship is a private matter and that mother and baby/child need to negotiate this relationship according to what works best for their family. Breastfeeding can be a wonderful way to nurture a relationship that goes well beyond nutrition, but this photograph felt like something else.

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests babies nurse "for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child."*  That last part is critically important. As long as is mutually desired. I nursed my kids well into toddlerhood and that worked for us, but it doesn't work for everyone. What anyone else does or doesn't do with their kids should have little to do with what you feel you "should" or "shouldn't" do with your kids. Get information. Make informed decisions. But don't do something because you feel like you should. If it isn't coming from your heart, it isn't going to create connection. And just because something isn't right for you doesn't mean that it doesn't work very well for another parent.

When I moved beyond the picture on the cover of Time, I was struck by the title. Are You Mom Enough?

What does that mean? Are you mom enough for what? I see parents every week who are struggling with the things that have happened since they became a parent. Whether it is a mom who doesn't want to breastfeed anymore but doesn't know how to transition away from it, or parents who are struggling with what happened with their birth because it didn't go the way they planned, I see parents who are all doing the best they can do. And they all have something in common: guilt. They wish they felt differently. They wish something happened differently. They wished they'd known something they didn't. They wish they had been braver, smarter, faster, had a better doctor, or known how hard becoming a parent was really going to be.

Feeling like they're "enough" is not part of their stories. I don't often see parents who say, "I'm so glad that I ended up with the c-section." I hear parents who didn't want it to go a certain way and who don't know how to deal with it when it happened differently than they'd planned.

Instead of it being yet another competition to see who is "mom enough," why don't we see if we can be connected more deeply to our own aliveness, embrace our unique circumstances and decisions, and become compassionate enough to support parents even if we don't understand their decisions and choices. What if we all embrace our humanity, knowing that we're all doing the best we can do with what we've been given? It is in our aliveness, in our consciousness, our awakeness, that we can wise up to the fact that some publications thrive on feeding the guilt mothers are already feeling. When we realize that if we are simply ALIVE, compassionate, and empathic as parents, we can remind each other that we're ALL doing the best we can do until we all feel it within our own bones.

Let's feed a movement of love, compassion and support for each other, instead of the mommy wars. We're all raising this next generation in the best way we know how given our own personal life experiences and challenges. What can YOU do today to encourage another parent? To build up instead of judge? To lift up another parent who is struggling? Tell me about it. Let's make this world a better place- together.

* Pediatrics Vol. 115 No. 2 February 1, 2005
   pp. 496 -506
   (doi: 10.1542/peds.2004-2491)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Book Club starts tomorrow!!

The Consciously Parenting Book Club Starts Tomorrow!!

Tomorrow, we'll be delving into the world of Navigating by Inner Guidance and What (on earth) are your child's behaviors communicating?! 

"Inner guidance doesn't have formulaic solutions, but always comes back to connecting with your children in the relationship, holding the importance of everyone's needs whenever possible."

We'll be looking at what it means to parent by inner guidance and we'll look at some tools and some science to help us shift our understanding of our own behaviors and the behaviors of our children. If you're familiar with my Brain Stoplight, we'll be looking to see how it applies to our parenting, along with understanding the concepts of regulation and dysregulation. We'll explore some real life questions and help you apply the ideas to your own life!

If you'd like to see a real life application of these ideas, check out last week's blog, Reconnection, Not Perfection

Book Club FAQs
Do I need to have the book to participate?
No! You can join in the calls and you'll get a sense of what the book is about. It is a great opportunity to ask your questions if you've been reading the book, though. Remember, you can get the first three chapters right now at no cost!

I can't make the live calls. Can I still play?

The calls will be recorded live at 10:30am eastern on Wednesdays. If you're unable to join the live call, we'll have the calls available for replay the following weekend. Just sign up for the Book Club and everything you need will be sent to you.

I like being able to listen to calls like this at my own convenience and to listen to them again later. What can I do?

The calls will be available for purchase so you can explore the ideas at your own pace, or explore the ideas again next year or as your children grow. You can purchase them while the series is being recorded at a discount here.

I'd like to purchase the book. Where can I get it?

The book is only available right now through the Consciously Parenting Project's website as a PFD or a downloadable mp3 audio book. Now is a great time to buy the book because we're having an early bird special! Eventually, the book will be available as a printed book, CDs, and in other e-book formats, but we're still working on those.

Do I have to join the Facebook group to participate in the Book Club?
No! You can just listen in on the live call or to the recordings. The Facebook group is intended to be a place to ask questions and continue the discussion with other parents who are exploring the ideas of the book. It is a private group, meaning only those who join the group can read the posts and join in the discussion. Join here. 

The call will be recorded in case you miss it. And do let me know if you have questions for the call by posting on my blog comments or adding questions to the Facebook group. Hope to *see* you tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sunday, March 25, 2012

E-book Give-Away! Consciously Parenting, Book 1

Today is the day!! 

I'm launching my first book as an e-book and an audio book: 
This is the first book in a 4-part series. I'm SO excited to get this book off my computer and into the hands of parents.

I'm also excited to announce that I'm giving away an e-copy! 
Scroll down to the bottom of this post for how to enter. 

If you win and you already bought it, I'll refund your money!

You can also click here to sign up to receive the first 3 chapters at no cost to you.  Here's an excerpt from the book:
As parents, we have a steady diet of conflicting information coming at us from all directions. The long list of essential dos and don’ts has most of us spinning our wheels in indecision, not knowing what we’re actually supposed to do to parent our children. We follow parenting advice from “experts” even if it doesn’t feel right because we aren’t sure what else to do or we feel that someone else must know what our child needs better than we do.

Consciously Parenting is about listening to your own inner guidance system, trusting your own inner voice about what is needed in your family and for your child. It is also about finding what you need and finding a way to meet your own needs in a way that still respects the needs of your child and the needs of the relationship.

Consciously Parenting gives us a compass and a map to help guide us on our parenting journey with 8 guiding principles based on current science, using intuition as our guide. No one knows our child the way we do and yet we’re so close to our own children that we can’t always see the bigger picture. Consciously Parenting is about gaining a different vantage point and remembering that the most important thing we can do as a parent is to focus on the relationship.

We’re going to make mistakes. And that’s OK. Actually, “mistakes” allow us the opportunity to reconnect and repair the relationship when there has been a disconnection, which is a critical part of attachment. Sometimes we will reach out to reconnect and sometimes it will be our child. And sometimes it will take a while before we can see that our own story is getting in the way of reconnecting.

Parenting is a journey, not a destination. We’ll take “wrong turns” and end up in scary back alleys, but we need to remember that it is only a wrong turn if we don’t learn from it. Eventually. Lessons will be repeated until learned and parenting does a great job of providing opportunities for us to learn.

We become parents because we want to have a loving connection with our children. We want to feel joy and wonder and we become frustrated when we feel anger, resentment, confusion or pain, when we see our child is suffering and we don’t know how to help her. Or maybe we’re aware that we are the one in pain. When we begin to focus on the communication behind the behaviors, we begin to see our child in a new light. And we begin to understand ourselves more deeply. Parenting becomes a gift, a treasure.
             Copyright © 2012, The Consciously Parenting Project, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Mandatory Entry:
  • Simply leave a comment below letting me know why you’d like to win!
Additional Optional Entries: (not required to win, come back here and leave a separate comment on this post for each additional entry.)
Enter to win @tcparentingproj e-book! Enter thru 4/1/12!
  • Giveaway Details:  The give away will be open until midnight EST Sunday, April 1, 2012. Winner will be announced by Monday, April 2, 2012.
  • No purchase necessary to win.
  • Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.
  • If prize winner forfeits or does not claim the prize, prize will be re-awarded at my sole discretion.
  • Void where prohibited by law.
  • Make sure to leave a separate comment for each entry. Winner will be chosen at random!
  • Odds of winning based on number of entries.
  • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
  • NOTE: In order to enter the contest you must leave a comment on my blog post. To leave a comment scroll to the bottom of the post fill in the form. (If you are reading this via RSS, you will need to visit my actual blog to post a comment.)
  • If you purchase the e-book and win a free copy, we'll refund the amount of your e-book purchase.
  • Good Luck!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Navigating by Inner Guidance in Parenting (book excerpt)

Consciously Parenting: What It Really Takes to Raise an Emotionally Healthy Family by Rebecca Thompson, MS

The following is an excerpt from Consciously Parenting book, Part I, Foundation of Relationships, to be released March 2012. For more information and to continue reading, visit: to sign up for more free excerpts and the first 3 chapters of the book at no cost to you.

Navigating by Inner Guidance

Now, as then, so many families are still struggling, and parents don’t know what to do. Many parents have gone from expert to expert only to find themselves back in the same place or in a worse place than they were before they followed the “expert” advice. At a very early age, most of us learned that the answers are outside of ourselves, and so we seek external solutions to our problems. We think that someone else is going to come and save us.

Part of the problem is that we’re afraid to not follow the advice of someone who seems to know what they’re talking about. Even when something about a piece of “expert” advice doesn’t feel right to us, we disregard that still, small voice within us, and things get worse. Or while we may know intuitively that something isn’t right or makes no sense, we don’t know what to do instead. In the past, much of the parenting information out there has been conflicting at best and misleading and damaging to relationships at worst. We’ve all heard so much information about parenting that we don’t know what is really correct anymore.

That’s where I found myself as a parent. I was listening to my heart and doing the best I could with the information I had, but it wasn’t working. I simply didn’t know where else to turn or what else to do to help my family out of the rut we were in on all levels.

Eventually, I realized the solutions to all the things we struggle with personally and as parents can be found inside us. Like the way back to Kansas was for Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, what we’re seeking can be found within. The difficulties our children present to us are opportunities for us to grow beyond where we are in this moment. My child wasn’t trying to manipulate me, but he was providing me with an opportunity to grow and learn. Parenting our own children provides a unique opportunity to learn about our early experiences. It puts a magnifying glass on those things that worked well for our own parents and those that didn’t. It allows us to understand how we feel about our own needs and the needs of our children, but only if we allow ourselves to be aware and see the parent-child relationship with new eyes.

Truly connecting with our children takes waking up, stepping into full consciousness, and reconnecting with ourselves and our own inner wisdom. It will probably be one of the most difficult things we will ever do, but it is also one of the most rewarding. I know firsthand that finding your own voice can feel daunting. Like stepping off the shore into the ocean, we must first go through the crashing surf before we reach the calmer, gently rolling waves on the other side. Everything becomes easier when we have passed through the rough water and found that we can handle what floats our way. However, it isn’t always an easy journey. Storms are bound to come up and test our ability to stay connected to ourselves in this new way. Indeed, parenting in this manner is a journey, not a tropical island destination at which we arrive with our luggage and simply  unpack and settle in with a frosty tropical beverage, happy kids in tow.

We’re going to start with you, and you will be modeling what it looks like to stay connected to yourself. By doing so, your children will learn to connect to their own inner guidance rather than looking at external sources to find answers. Your children are going to be on their own at some point, out in the big, wide world without you. Helping them find their own internal compass is one of the best things you can do to help them prepare for the real world. We’ll take a look at what navigating by the internal compass looks like at each developmental stage. (And these developmental stages are based on a child’s emotional or developmental age, rather than chronological age.)

With our parenting decisions, we have the power to create connection instead of disconnection, love instead of fear, peace instead of discord. Then we can return to our natural “perfect” state of harmony, peace, and joy.

Like what you see? Sign up for more at no cost to you!