A Parenting Communication Course

Image shows cropped photos of 4 diverse families-parents and their children, smiling. laughing, and hugging. Text states: Now Available on Udemy! Healing Our Families Healing the Parent-Child Relationship by Marlene Dillon, MACM. A communication course for parents! Enroll, today.

I absolutely love learning! If you follow my posts, you know that I am constantly reading new books, I’m somewhat obsessed with TED talks and I’m all about all things personal development. 

As much as I love to learn, I absolutely hated being a student. I struggled with keeping up with the class. I could not match the pace of everyone else because it took me a little longer to dissect things. I needed to hear it a few more times. I needed to practice the new skill in order to process. I needed to pause to internalize. 

I realize now, as an adult, that there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s just the way I learn. This is why I love the online courses I’ve taken on #Udemy. I get to learn my way. I can sit and map things out in my journal. I can pause and practice a skill. I can replay what the instructor said as many times as needed. Most of all I can learn without the added pressure of not keeping up with the group. 

If you haven’t heard, I wrote a communication course for parents that’s available on Udemy. It’s called Healing Our Families: Healing the Parent-Child Relationship. It’s a course to empower parents to have better relationships with their children.

Healing Our Families: Healing the Parent-Child Relationship is an an independent online communication course, written by a parent to empower parents.  

When you enroll, you receive the entire course. You don’t have to wait ’til a certain time on a certain day of the week to receive an email with permission to view the next lesson. If you’re ready for the next lesson, simply complete the current lesson. There’s no pressure to keep up with others taking the course. You can take as much or as little time as you need. It’s on your schedule. 

As a parent, I know how challenging it can be to show up to rigidly scheduled evening zoom calls, and weekend webinars. I have signed up for, and missed, so many of them, because our lives can be so hectic and unpredictable, especially outside of work. 

With my course, you work at it in your time. Each lesson includes a short lecture video (that you can pause and repeat, as needed), and journal reflection questions. These reflection questions help you internalize the concepts, understand yourself and your child better so you can build a stronger relationship. 

The lectures are short! 😮 You’d think since I’m long-winded on my blog posts the lectures would be crazy long, but they’re actually under 10 minutes. I was so committed to getting the information to you powerfully and quickly, that I didn’t want to take the chance that you would not complete the lesson because I was talking too long. So I trimmed out the excess. #urwelcome 😆

“What is a communication course for parents, anyway?” In short, working in schools, being in parent groups on social media, and observing the relationships around me, I noticed how many parents don’t know how to talk to their kids, and don’t know how to get their kids to talk to them. Through my work with my children’s book I’m Proud to Be Natural Me!, my work in the Chicago Public Schools, the Boys and Girls Clubs, in churches as a youth leader, and having a master’s in counseling, I’ve learned a bit about communicating with kids. 🤓 (Plus, my tween routinely overshares to me so I know this is a skill I can definitely teach. 😆)

Blah blah blah The course is really great. 😆 The concepts are simple enough for you to listen to the lectures, do the journal assignments, and change the way that you talk with your child that same day. I break down everything and keep it super relatable. I give examples so that you can understand how it plays out in real life  I even explain to you how to make time for the course in your busy schedule. 

This is a highly recommended, tremendously game-changing, and ridiculously inexpensive investment in your family.

If you are a parent who is struggling with your relationship with your child, if you know someone who is struggling with communication with their offspring, get the course, or gift it to someone.

Blessings!

If you have questions about the course, message me on my Facebook page.

Marlene Dillon Empowerment Specialist

Are You Listening? Parenting: Cause & Effect

Image of curly-haired woman with hand cupping ear as if listening. Text states: Are you listening? Marlene Dillon Empowerment Specialist mdillondesigns.com

Am I the only one who can initially be a little judgy?

When I wrote and illustrated I’m Proud to Be Natural Me! my intention was to teach children the lesson parents seemed to have missed. I wanted to increase children’s self-confidence by teaching them to embrace their natural beauty. What I learned from observing children was that their parents were often the main ones causing their insecurities. So I started hosting empowerment workshops to teach parents how to use their words and behavior to instill confidence in their children. Point is that my focus has always been on the children.

Moment of honesty…. Most of the problems parents share with me about their kids are actually caused by the parents. However, it is not compassionate to say that when someone comes to me in distress wanting to vent about their child. So I just listen and empathize.

I choose to be compassionate because I am a parent, too. I know if I was venting my frustrations to someone and the first words out their mouth were, “Oh, that’s your fault,” I would feel so attacked. I would never speak to them again. 😆 Plus, I learn so much more (and offend way less people) when I just shut up and listen.

Since I typically don’t get to share my judgy knee jerk responses with parents directly, I’ve decided to do it here. (That’s the purpose of Facebook, isn’t it? 😆) Please note that I judge myself, too, so try not to be offended. After each judgy response, I will give a more detailed explanation…..

The top three complaints I hear from parents are: “They won’t listen,” “They won’t talk to me,” and “They are always fighting.” As frustrating as all of these may be, these are typically parent-influenced problems.

Still with me? Okay… I’m about to break them down. Ready? Brace yourself.

PROBLEM 1: Parent: “They won’t listen.” Me: “Do you?”

We love to play the victim. We’re hurt and angry that our kids don’t listen to us, but we don’t listen to them. We think they are being dismissive and ignoring us, and can’t seem to understand why. Maybe they are responding to our behavior. We dismiss their wants (“Can I get the new ______?”), and sometimes their needs (“I’m hungry, can we go home?”), and go on with our day as if they said nothing. It’s not that we have to say, “Yes,” to everything, but sometimes we pretend like we didn’t even hear them, or we say we’ll talk about it later and never discuss it. Maybe we had a higher priority at the time, or just weren’t in the mood.

Well, they do the same thing to us. It’s not necessarily that they don’t hear us, but that what we need and want is not a priority to them so they tune us out. They follow our example.

PROBLEM 2: Parent: “They won’t talk to me.” Me: “Why would they?”

Have you ever had a jerk supervisor? You know the type that always seems angry, barks orders, and has no tolerance for mistakes? How likely are you to hang out in their office and share the intimate details of your personal life? Similarly, if this is the type of relationship we have with our child, why would they want to talk to us?

Have you ever been in a relationship, or had an interest that your friends and family didn’t support? Every time you brought that person around, or mentioned that topic, you got the eye rolls and felt tension in the room. It’s the same with our kids. Whether it’s that friend we can’t stand, or the fiftieth time watching that TikTok dance, our words and actions speak volumes. Our children’s behaviors (ex. changes in facial expression from joy to frustration, putting earbuds in while we’re responding, etc.) are often responses to ours. 

We tend to expect a certain level of relationship that we have not invested in. I don’t know about you, but I’m not sharing my personal experiences with someone who primarily barks orders at me. There is a certain level of rapport required to get me to open up. There is also a certain level of safety required. I need to know that when I am honest that your reactions are going to feel safe and that your responses will be supportive.

PROBLEM 3: Parent: “They are always fighting.” Me: “Do you blame them?”

This one might sting a bit. Children pick up on cues in their environment. If one child is treated more favorably, or regularly criticized, they notice. Not only are the favorite and the ostracized child aware of differences, so are the other siblings. If one child has a particular diagnosis, the other children notice how the parents care for that child and contrast that with the care/attention they receive. Messages about who’s important, who’s loved, who’s a “bother” are constantly being communicated. I believe that most sibling rivalries result from these types of observations.   

Now, this post is not about “blame,” it’s more about simple causality. These explanations are simplistic, and don’t cover all possibilities. The main point, however, is something I learned in school as I studied divorce and family therapy—”often the person who feels they are the victim, is actually the aggressor.”

What we see as our kids “acting out for no reason,” is often their compounded response to things we’ve done. I think we forget that our children are perceptive and have feelings. They are constantly paying attention to how we engage and learning how to interact with us and others.

If we are unhappy with the interactions we have with our children, we need to pause on blaming them and look at ourselves. Let’s check ourselves and see if we are creating environments that cultivate the type of relationships we desire.

Again, even though it may feel like it, this post is not about blame. I want you to have a better relationship with your child(ren), and for your kids to have better relationships with their siblings.

This is why I created my course, Healing Our Families: Healing the Parent-Child Relationship. In this 6 week course, I teach teach you how to listen, how to pay attention to the subtle things we do that can cause the little and big shifts in our relationships with our children. I give examples and journal exercises that help you recognize, heal, and shift how you communicate.

If you follow my posts, you know that I have a great relationship with my daughter. Even so, when I find myself slipping into old communication patterns, I use these same strategies that you will learn in this course to get us back on track. 

In the comments, you will find a link to my course. If you are a parent, struggling with your relationship with your child, Healing Our Families: Healing the Parent-Child Relationship can help you. If you are ready to transform your relationship and have better communication, check out this link to my course on Udemy.

Blessings!

Marlene Dillon Empowerment Specialist

Healing Our Families: Healing the Parent-Child Relationship is an online communication course for parents available on Udemy.com. You can purchase the course for yourself or gift the course to someone else.

This inexpensive course is a game changer. You receive the entire course at checkout, and work at your own pace. No schedule to maintain, or live class times you must attend. You gain access to the lectures and journal assignments and can even download teh Udemy app to your phone and work from anywhere.

Plus, when you purchase the course you can join my Facebook group to gain support from me and other parents taking the course. If you have any questions, feel free to send me a message on Marlene Dillon Empowerment Specialist.

Check out the link in the comments. Please SHARE.

Blessings!

#Proud2BNaturalMe❤️💜💙💚

Marlene Dillon Empowerment Specialist

Set Them Free

Image of the movie poster for movie Finding Forrester.
Finding Forrester is an inspiring movie featuring Rob Brown and Sean Connery. Check out the trailer here.

Watched the movie Finding Forrester again after over a decade, and had so many flashbacks. This movie is very special to me. For a season, it was the glue that held me together.

While I was in school, I was dealing with a faculty member who didn’t want me there. Each time I met with them, they encouraged me to quit the program and let me know that I didn’t belong. I didn’t tell anyone (until they crossed the line) because I didn’t want to make waves, and honestly I thought they might be right about me. The program was challenging and I was dealing with a lot at the time. I honestly considered dropping out many times, but each time I remembered the vision that got me there in the first place.

In my last semester, I was having some health issues—some acute pain that made attending classes extremely challenging. Sitting for an hour was excruciating. My classes were 3 hours. Most of my professors were supportive, as I made them aware of my condition at the beginning of the semester, but one instructor took it personally. As a result, I was given an ultimatum. Despite knowing my condition, I was instructed that if I wanted to graduate, I had to be on time for every class for the remainder of the semester, to remain in class for the entire time, and not leave early. I believe the exact quote was, “I don’t care if you have to lay on the floor….”

I was devastated, but quitting wasn’t an option. I was too close to the finish line. I didn’t know how I was going to honor their request, but I knew I didn’t have a choice.

Enter Finding Forrester. After that interaction, I began watching this movie every day before class. Watching this young man keep his head despite how he was being treated, and his eventual triumph, gave me hope. I recorded 3 minutes of dialogue from the movie in my phone and would play it as I walked to class. I would listen to his victory and the subsequent applause seconds before I approached the door to the lecture hall. It kept me going.

I didn’t miss a class. I wasn’t late. And I stayed the whole time. On my graduation day, that discouraging faculty member found me (I intentionally avoided them, lol). They admitted to having misjudged me and congratulated me on my success in front of my entire family.

Their words meant nothing. That was not my triumph. Of course, it was AWESOME to watch them “eat crow.” 😆 But my triumph was each day as I pressed to get to class on time. My triumph was enduring hours of shifting in my seat without shedding a tear. My triumph was in not forfeiting numerous semesters of lost sleep, effort, and sacrifice. And my ultimate triumph was when I made it through that last excruciating minute of the class that held my graduation hostage.

Each day as I walked and listened to his professor “eat crow,” I felt his triumph. It stirred up my inner strength to get through my own storm. I’ll forever be grateful to that movie (well the writers, directors, actors, etc.) because it got me through. It gave me hope.

We never know how our gifts may support someone else down the road. How many times has a song helped you get through a tough moment? Someone had to make the choice to do the work and release that. That book that you’ve been putting off writing, that piece you’ve been considering creating, that screenplay on your laptop you’ve toyed with completing….. You have no idea what your gift may help someone through. We have no idea how our gifts will support people we may never even meet….

I am on a journey to stop hiding my gifts and hoarding my creations. I accept that it’s time to set them free. I hope you’ll join me in letting your gifts see daylight. Who knows whose lives we’re meant to touch? Think about it….

Blessings!

Marlene Dillon Empowerment Specialist #Proud2BNaturalMe❤💜💙💚

Thoughts Are Suggestions

Image of a young woman with curly hair holding a cellphone. Text states: "A thought is a suggestion —to keep or discard is our choice. Marlene Dillon Empowerment Specialist mdillondesigns.com

Cellphones (which according to my tween are just called “phones” 😆 ) have all these cool features, now. Some of them can be both helpful and annoying. One of those features you’re probably familiar with is predictive text. If you don’t know what that is, predictive text suggests words and phrases that you can use to reply or complete a sentence.

Today, I was at the sink and an unsettling thought came to me. It was so disturbing that I said out loud, “Why would I think that?” Instantly, I knew that I wouldn’t think that on my own. I wouldn’t voluntarily create a thought that makes me feel sad or scared.

That’s when I realized for myself that thoughts are suggestions. I have read and heard from various authors and teachers that “we are not our thoughts.” It’s another thing to have a personal experience that shows how true that really is.

As I thought more about it, I realized that thoughts are more like predictive text. We don’t originate them. They are little floating suggestions. My hunch is that our thoughts are potential matches for what we are already thinking or feeling, similar to when we start a sentence in Gmail and a few words appear that can complete the sentence. We don’t have to go with the suggestions, because we know they didn’t come from us. We get to choose.

From now on, I want to look at my thoughts this way. It’s very freeing to know that I get to choose what I think about. And it’s even more freeing to know that thoughts that feel bad, scary, etc. are just suggestions that I can choose to discard. I don’t have to ruminate on them. I don’t have to worry about them. I can just say, “No thanks,” and choose a better thought. Now, that’s empowering.

If you have a tendency to freak out over unpleasant thoughts, this may be empowering for you, too. You can begin to look at your thoughts as merely predictive text that you have the power to choose or discard.

Blessings!

Marlene Dillon Empowerment Specialist#Proud2BNaturalMe❤️💜💙💚

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