by Carrie Contey

I’ve worked with thousands of families, researched development for years, and believe me – there’s no one right way to do healthy humanhood.

This is why experimenting in family life is crucial. You are evolving, they are evolving. Choose to EXPERIMENT! Be curious about what works for you and your family.

One way to start identifying opportunities for experiments, as in, “Let’s try something new…!” Is to know your tendency and try the opposite. Below I listed four possible scenarios that families grapple with all the time. Use these examples to get your wheels turning around your tendencies, and how you can experiment.

When the situation arises:

You feel rushed to get out the door in morning…

And your tendency is to:

Speed up, get annoyed and bark orders…

Experiment with this:

Slow down. Take a few breaths. Observe before making your request. Notice what your people are doing. Connect with them in their world before you say what you need. Make eye contact as you let them know what’s going to happen next. Finally, give yourself a moment to appreciate and delight in the fact that they are part of your world!

When the situation arises:

Your people argue and pick on each other…

And your tendency is to:

Yell over them and try to shut it down…

Experiment with this:

Pause. Give them space to see if they will work it out on their own. If you enter the dynamic, name how you’re feeling in a way that disrupts it, and still communicates what’s happening for you (i.e. “YIKES! I’m feeling frazzled by all of this arguing!”)

When the situation arises:

Your people complain, whine, or act in ways that are challenging for you during dinner…

And your tendency is to:

Take it personally, feeling disrespected, resentful, and dreading dinner time…

Experiment with this:

Shake it up! Have a “fancy dinner” one night, and encourage everyone to pretend to be their most proper selves (you can even talk with accents). Or have dinner in the bath tub, on the living room oor, or on a picnic blanket outside. Remind yourself what dinner is for beyond just getting some food into everyone – to connect and be together. Experiment with ways dinner can serve that goal.

When the situation arises:

Your partnership gets ignored because it feels like the kid(s) have precedence…

And your tendency is to:

Point the finger at your partner for not making any effort…

Experiment with this:

Take responsibility and give the love you’re looking for! Send a sexy text message during the day. Look your partner in the eye and thank them for doing something routine. (i.e. “Thank you for taking out the trash.” “Thank you for picking up the kids.” “Thank you for being on this crazy adventure with me.”). Surprise them with a date night and organize a sitter/etc.
Bio:

Carrie Contey is an internationally recognized coach, author, speaker and educator. Her work offers a new perspective on human development, parenting and family life. She guides, supports and inspires her clients to live with wide open and courageous hearts so they can approach family life with skill, spaciousness and joy. Carrie received her PhD in prenatal and perinatal psychology and is masterful at synthesizing and articulating the science, psychology, and spirituality of humanhood. She is the creator of “Evolve” a year-long “personal growth through parenting” program. She is also the co- founder of the Slow Family Living movement and the co-author of CALMS: A Guide To Soothing Your Baby. Carrie has appeared on NBC’s The Today Show, NPR, CBS radio and in many publications including Time, Parenting and The Boston Globe. Currently she lives, works and plays in Austin, TX but spends as much time as she can traveling, speaking, creating things that make family life more wonderful and living her very own extraordinary life to the fullest! To learn more, visit www.carriecontey.com