The “Stay Connected Challenge™” with the Parent as Coach Approach

A Message to Parents

If you Respect me,
I will hear you.

If you Listen to me,
I will feel understood.

If you Understand me,
I will feel appreciated.

If you Appreciate me,
I will know your support.

If you Support me as I try new things,
I will become responsible.

When I am Responsible,
I will grow to be independent.

In my Independence,
I will respect you and love you all of my life.

Thank you.


Negative is the opposite of positive. Often, however we do not address the harmful actions of Negativity and focus only on positive attributes which are sometimes elusive and hard to put into practice. We must face the true and harmful state of Negativity and begin to erase it as much as possible and replace it with practical, results-producing Positivity!

Is it possible to completely erase all negativity from your parenting voice? Dr. Harville Hendrix of “Getting the Love You Want” and “Giving the Love that Heals – A Guide for Parents” states with no reservation – YES!  My husband and I recently attended a 3 Day Retreat for Couples with Harville and his wife and partner Helen – and our first “instruction” was to release and do not express ANY negativity for the entire three days!! GULP!!! Could we do it?

Release Negativity from your Relationship with your Spouse/Partner

Connected and positive parents create connected and positive kids.

What in the world does this mean? No complaining, no nagging, no rolling of the eyes, no arguing, no yelling, no sabotage, no confusing indirect communication….go ahead and do a relationship audit right now; what else comes up for you? It is important that we parents accept the fact that “change begins with me.” We all have to look in the mirror and take responsibility for what we are thinking, saying, feeling and doing around “negativity.” My husband and I take a daily relationship audit each morning to get the day rolling – nothing big and no drama (this was a hard one for me.) As your coach, I suggest you try it for 5 – 10 minutes each morning or evening. Give one positive acknowledgement, one praise, or one moment of respecting the other persons “qualities” not accomplishments.

Releasing the negative from your own voice often can leave one bewildered and quiet. My first foray into this new territory left me speaking about 80% less words in a day and I did not know yet how to replace my negative ideas and language with life affirming, uplifting, self-confidence-building thinking or speaking.  For the first time in my life I was truly “speechless.” And the fruit is so sweet! When you learn to communicate this way- it will influence your children in ways you cannot even imagine!

Here are some guidelines and action steps for getting started:

  1. Having fewer words to say in day often leaves open air space – this is the time to think about what you will say. Thinking about the alternative to negativity can be very creative and very energizing! Think more, speak less.
  2. Write down 10 new vocabulary words you can use with your partner that create positive momentum in your relationship. Use them!
  3. Consider how you like to be encouraged, edified, esteemed and valued. Share it with great respect and gentleness with your partner. You may need to write a letter.

Positive Parents, Kids and Teens Create Connected and Positive Families

Begin with the end in mind. Therefore if you have small children, imagine them as emerging teens or grown adult children. What is the most positive, loving, mutually supportive type of communication you can picture?

OK now let’s work backwards. How old is your child now and what will you do today –  right now as soon as you finish this article to uplift, edify and encourage their self-esteem that is age appropriate?

Here are a few more ideas to get some quick relationship building traction that will assist you in the Stay Connected Challenge;

  1. Stay Connected to your own inner voice as a parent – rearrange your inner dialogue and choose Positivity as you speak to yourself. Give yourself a pat on the back for the awesome parenting you are doing right now!
  2. Stay Connected to your partner, close family member or spouse. Read a good relationship book like the one I mentioned above to get more good ideas about how Negativity can kill relationships and families.
  3. Stay Connected with you Child or Teenager by learning to be encouraging but not over-praise with empty words. Write down 10 character qualities each child possess and speak to them using these words.

Diana Sterling is the author of The Parent as Coach Approach, 2008 White Oak Publishing. She is a Certified Family Coach and developer and instructor of Family Coach Training at Relationship Coaching Institute as well as wife, mother and step-mother. Visit and get your FREE full copy of her ground-breaking work The Parent as Coach Approach in e-book form where these practical tools and many more are explained in detail on how your desire to create connected, loving, healthy teenagers and young adults is POSSIBLE!