Building Strength for Life and Love™

Grace McDonald

Author Archives

Our Need for Connection

Relationships are critical to our development. The brain needs connection to develop to its fullest emotional potential. The limbic brain, in charge of emotional development, needs environmental stimulation (that's us parents) to function well. Good limbic functioning means successfully learning to connect with others and identify and regulate feelings. Research has found that extended eye contact affects blood pressure and heart rate, supporting that our brains crave connection.The brain Read more [...]

M.O.V.E. Tool for communicating with your kids

M.O.V.E. is an acronym for a communication tool to address the immediate, emotional needs of your child. What I like about M.O.V.E. is that it gives you something easy to remember and implement when you are having a hard time with your child and can't think clearly. I have many opportunities to practice M.O.V.E. with my kids and so will you. Here are the four things to keep in mind: Mirror When your child is speaking to you, (or screaming), listen to their words, and mirror back what you see Read more [...]

Supporting Your Toddler’s Stage of Development

My older son is full of energy and curiosity, as he's in the exploration stage of development (18 months to 3 years old). I sometimes struggle with my expectations of his behaviour and being mindful what's appropriate for the stage of development he's currently in. Here's a quick summary of this stage:Your toddler's tasks in this stage - development of motor skills (running, using a fork), environmental discovery, and  differentiation (maintaining a sense of self as an independent individual, Read more [...]

The Importance of empathy

EmpathyEmpathy supports the development of emotional self-awareness. When we, as parents, regularly empathize with our kids, we teach lifelong tools to process feelings. Our job is to help them experience their emotions as appropriate to the situation. We can allow them to own their feelings without shame. We can also normalize feelings, helping them understand that most people would feel the same way in a similar situation.  In addition, we can assist them to develop language for identifying Read more [...]

Parenting Principles: Instill competence in your kids

Parenting Principle of the Day - It is our goal, as parents, to nurture competence rather than compliance. We are teaching our kids how to be successful in the world in all areas of life. This means facilitating their development of self-esteem and confidence and giving our kids the message that they are capable. Point out and praise their strengths and talents. Support and believe in their decisions. Give them lots of opportunities to practice new skills, make mistakes, and learn how to recover Read more [...]

Parenting Principles: Connect with your kids

Parenting Principle of the Day - Children's acting-out behaviour usually needs de-coding. It is often a protest against them feeling a loss of connection with their parents. Remember that everyone makes sense all of the time. A child may behave unkindly, which is not ok and needs boundaries, but underneath this behaviour is a need the parent needs to uncover and figure out. Usually when you think about the bigger picture, there are other things going on, like parents fighting a lot for example, Read more [...]

Parenting Principles: Listen to your kids

Here are four more to keep in mind:- "Getting" children is core. (Understanding from the child's viewpoint). Find a way to be in your child's shoes, especially when you find yourself in a power struggle.- Attunement comes from fully listening and fully loving the unique "otherness" of the child. Remind yourself that your child is an other, separate from you. They think, feel, operate, and like things differently that you do. Respect and embrace the differences.- Deep listening is Read more [...]

Parenting Principles: Meet Your Kid’s Needs

I am listing below the principles of parenting. There are 10, so I'm breaking them up, and focusing on a couple at a time. All we can do is keep these in mind and aim to do our best, (remember - increase consciousness, decrease reactivity). Here they are:Children do best when their emotional needs are metThough it can be exhausting, our job as parents is to meet our kids' needs. You know your children well and know what they need. When you witness your child in need, help them work through Read more [...]

Aim to be more conscious

Be less reactive and more conscious! Set this as your goal, and you’re doing a good job. We cannot be responsive, regulated, and available to our kids 100% of the time. Do the best you can to manage you’re reactivity.  #imagoparent #consciousparenting #connectedparentsthrivingkids #gracemcdonaldcounselling


Tip of the week: Parents, work on yourself!

A child who sees his parent in the process of becoming a conscious person will be equipped to do the same in his own life and will contribute to the increasing consciousness of our species ~ Harvelle Hendrix & Helen LaKelly Hunt #imagoparent #consciousparenting #connectedparentsthrivingkids #gracemcdonaldcounselling


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