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May 2013, Issue 8



Concentric Circles Music Magic



Live By Choice



May 2013, Issue 8


This Month Features

Open to Understanding May 2013 Contributors

Linda Guirey

Carol Ferguson

Lisa Fenton

Chloe Jonpaul

Lisa Hein

Dorothy Whitfield

Fern Weis

Understanding and Peace How well can we really understand

page # 7

By Diana Dentinger

Conscious Understanding Guiding your children down the path

page # 8

By Lisa R. Hein

Using Communication Ways to touch your child’s heart

page # 13

By Dorothy Whitfield

What You Heard Is not what I meant!

page # 15

By Fern Weis

Magic Music From stress mess to symphony in your home

page # 18

By Lisa Fenton 2

May 2013, Issue 8


This Month Features

Blending Families How to help children with divorce

page # 21

By Carol Ferguson

Generation Gap It’s a communication gap

page # 23

Like and share our Facebook page

Live By Choice Not by Chance

page # 24

By Linda Guirey

What Do You Know About Concentric Circles

page # 27

By Chloe Jonpaul

Reach out to the Contributors

page # 29-30 3

May 2013, Issue 8


FEEDBACK Your feedback is welcome. This is your magazine too. Let us know what would help you find inner peace in parenting your children. Contact Inner Peace Parenting Magazine Magazine Privacy Policy

I was in the States recently. I live in Italy and create each magazine issue by networking via internet, Facebook, LinkedIn and Skype with parenting experts worldwide. Most of the articles are written by contributors from the USA and a few other English speaking countries. Well it turns out that one of the contributors this month lives only 20 minutes from my dad in Florida. Lisa Hein and I met at his house and spent the afternoon talking about our current and future projects.

Copyright 2012 Diana Dentinger Inner Peace Parenting Magazine Sviluppo CCT sas - Italy All rights reserved under the International and Pan American Copyright Conventions. Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited without written permission from the publisher. The publisher assumes no responsibility for the unsolicited materials.

It is powerful and fun to see how this magazine connects people who never would have met if not for a common goal... to bring more peace and understanding into families. We both shared stories of our lives and why we decided to dedicate ourselves to helping families, parents and children. Thank you Lisa for taking time to come over! She is publishing another book this fall and would appreciate your support. There are other contributors who are published authors putting themselves out there to reach parents like you. Let’s join together to spread their message. You can find updates about their publishing dates on our Facebook page. Please like and share our Facebook page so more families can have fuller and happier relationships! This month is all about “Understanding”If you would like some help understanding your children and loved ones, contact me and let’s see how I can help! Here’s my calendar: Diana Dentinger's Calendar

Diana Dentinger, Editor Inner Peace Parenting Magazine 4

Open to Understanding May 2013 Contributors

Linda Guirey

Carol Ferguson

Lisa Fenton

Chloe Jonpaul

Lisa Hein

Dorothy Whitfield

Fern Weis

Diana Dentinger Editor in Chief


Understanding and Peace How well can we really understand By Diana Dentinger

There are no two ways about it: Understanding a loved one gives you that feeling of connectedness. Is it really possible to understand?

Diana Dentinger As a Neurobiology Therapist, Diana Dentinger has studied both both psychology and behavior based on emotional memory stored in the middle brain. She created the Personality & Needs Profile as the primary tool she uses to help parents understand the essence of their children. She offers complimentary consultations:



Conscious Understanding Guiding your children down the path By Lisa R. Hein

I love that word ‘conscious.’ It commits me to understand that I have to make a concerted effort to want to do something with awareness. It holds me accountable to know that all my energy is going into creating something magnificent. It shows me that no matter what is going on around me, I need to have a ‘conscious understanding.’ Being a phenomenal parent means that we must stay focused and are committed to raising our consciousness to be all that we were meant to be. We have been blessed to receive these amazing gifts called ‘children’ and should want to be involved in their well-being and making sure they become all they were meant to be. With so many philosophies in our path it can, at times, become very overwhelming. If we choose, or dare to believe in ourselves, while feeling excited that we were hand-picked to raise these children to be healthy, happy and all God wants them to be, then we are on the right path.

At times, we can be so busy looking for the right ways or perfect answers to this parenting journey. We might try so many different styles of parenting that we don’t give ourselves enough credit. Maybe, after reading and sorting through all the different ideas, we may understand that we do know what we are doing when it comes to bringing up wonderful children. 7

When we question or walk in guilt, shame or fear, we end up becoming over-givers and may not be consistent with them. We may try to buy their love and feel that if they have everything they want, it will take the pressure off us. Really? Give children boundaries and consistency; not only when they are toddlers, but also into their teens. They look to us to help guide them on their way to make right decisions. Children do not wake up one morning and say, “I think today is the day I’m going to hurt and disrespect everyone in my path!” It is the way we choose to parent them that keeps them on a healthier walk. Communicate to keep a loving relationship flowing within the family dynamics. When we communicate with our children (age appropriate of course), come with good listening skills and respond timely then we do not have to fly off the cuff and spew out our great words of wisdom.

Let them see that you are taking time to gather your thoughts. It’s important for them to know you really took what they said to heart. They need to be heard, so we must listen to what is on their mind. If you are unsure of what to say, be still, and ask if you can get back to them after you think it over. Be clear on your actions, reactions, and responses is so very important. We don’t want to give our children mixed messages. Whether we are a single parent or a couple, it’s very important to stay on the same page while being consistent. Say what you mean and mean what you say. You don’t have to work so hard to receive an award for being a great parent. You will see the reward when your child is faced with a serious issue and because they know how to respond to it, come out unaffected. Raise children to be grateful and appreciative for everything that comes into their path, big or small, and teach it on a daily basis. Gratitude is a wonderful way to showyour family members how blessed you are. Being greedy is a type of behavior that leads to ungratefulness and discontentment. Know the difference, because greed definitely has some longlasting effects on their behavior. They will never feel content and will always be looking for more. Encourage your children to find their passion and to live it. It’s not our story, it’s theirs.


We are here to conduct the orchestra and allow each instrument, our children, to be what they were created to be. Of course there are boundaries, and yes we are to monitor what is going on. We are meant to inspire and empower them to know how to honor themselves for being who they are and not to feel that they must look to others for approval. To many times we see young children with such low self-esteem. They are sad because they feel like they don’t fit in or, they may feel unworthy.

3. Inspire them to be humble and grateful. When we are content with what we have rather than desiring more and more, it leaves us time to focus on more positive things in life besides wanting more ‘stuff.’ Children don’t have to have everything they see. It’s when they don’t get it all, they are more apt to be grateful when they do get things.

This is a serious issue that has caused too many children to go off the deep end. Here are five steps to promote children to feel proud of themselves while knowing they are capable of making healthy decisions: 1. Encourage them to eat properly and exercise. When our bodies are full of nourishment, we feel better, look better, and have more energy. Encourage them to play outside, go on walks, ride their bicycles or just enjoy the fresh air while doing their homework. Enough of the lock down they put themselves under because of all this technology! 2. Surround them with positive affirmations. We don’t need to let them live in a world of “I wish I looked like that, or I wish I could be her/him.” We must be healthy enough to know that each child brings something very special to this earth and that they are not meant to be little mini-me’s.

4. Don’t panic and compare. We try so hard to push our children to ‘fit in.’ If they don’t, we carry this fear that somehow we have failed. When given the opportunity to pick the right relationships, they will decide who they feel they want to hang out with because they have things in common. At times, we panic and try to make them do things they really don’t have any interest in. Learn to trust that they will find where they belong and fit in. 9

5. Don’t feel you have to keep them busy. I was interviewed on Fox television recently, and the topic was on, ‘Do we push our children to much?’ My response was “Absolutely!” When we put them in 3-4 activities at a time, such as sports, dancing, art classes, tutoring or whatever, we tend to overload them. It’s best to put them in one activity at a time so they can see if it is of interest to them or not. Allow them to make their own decision as to what they want to do. We don’t want to be the type of parent that forces them to do something they despise and are too afraid to tell you. It is our responsibility, as adults, to be good examples and to nurture our children so to be equipped to be wonderful and healthy young adults. Draw up a manifesto, where you commit yourself to being available to each other and outline what the rules are so that the entire family is clear what is expected. Then, abide by them. It’s good to get everyone on the same page knowing what is and isn’t acceptable behavior towards one another.

We accepted the responsibility of bringing these children into the world and it should be our choice to stay away from things that are not healthy for us as parents. If your past wasn’t as wonderful as you would have liked it to be, please release it. Your children didn’t do this to you nor do they deserve to be punished because of it. Be an amazing example, mentor, teacher, and parent. Be the one that they and their friends run to. Teach them well and let them know that being true to themselves is really all that matters.

Lisa Hein Lisa is the author of the book “I’m Doing The Best I Can!” (They won’t always be cute and adorable). Her newest book, ‘Manifesting God’s Love In Your Family’ will be released in May 2013. For more information or to book Lisa for your next event, please visit her website at 10

I like who I am

I understand myself

Inner Peace Parenting Magazine

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Using Comunication Ways To Touch Your Child’s Heart By Dorothy Whitfield

Children, all children, want a great relationship with their parents. No matter how old they are. Regardless of the type of parent or parents they had growing up. There is something inside all of us that desires a deeper connection with the people that brought us into the world. I want to be transparent with you. I didn’t grow up in the picture perfect family. My parents divorced when I was 6 months, my mother worked entrepreneur hours, I could count on one hand the number of times I saw my father by the time I was 18 years old, and I behaved like a girl without a father. Reflecting on my life I realize that most, if not all of my misguided adventures could have been prevented if better methods of communication had been in place. Great communication allows us to better understand each other and the desires of our heart. We all want to feel like someone understands us. Knowing how deeply we desire to be understood, imagine what a gift it would be for your child to grow up with a parent that took the time to understand them.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” Napoleon Hill Who ever said “sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me” lied. Words mean something and to our children our words mean everything. Speak the truth in love. Lying to children when they are young may help their self-esteem in the moment, but it will damage your relationship in the long run. Our words, and actions, help us establish long term trust. When our children trust us with the little things, then they will trust us with the bigger issues to come.


Be The Example

Be The Example

Be careful what you say about other people and yourself around your children. Practice speaking the truth in love regardless of whether the kids are around or not. Remember, how you say something is just as important as what you say.

Listen. Really listen before you respond.

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change When your children talk do you give them your full attention? As parents we are often consumed with taking care of the house, work related concerns, family issues and everything else that comes with being an adult, that we rarely take the time to give our children our full attention. I’ve been guilty of it too, but when I see the look on our beautiful daughters face, I know that the few minutes that I took to show her that I value what she has to say were worth it. Those few minutes are an investment in your future relationship with your child.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7 For children asking comes easy, but for a lot of adults it is a struggle. Maybe it’s pride or maybe we were told, one too many times, to stop asking so many questions when we were a kid. Whatever it is or was, stop. Yes, I said stop. Start by asking your kids what they need from you and how they feel. Show them that you care about their feelings and their interest. Encourage them to ask you questions. Remember to avoid the “because I said so” response. Be The Example Be like a kid and ask. When we don’t ask for help we add unnecessary stress to our life. Asking allows the people that love us to express their love by serving us. Plus, it allows our children to see that there is no shame in asking, giving, or receiving. Children are a gift and when you take the time to get to know them you are on your way to building a healthy parent-child relationship that will last a lifetime.

Dorothy Whitfield Dorothy is a wife, the mother of 3 kids under 3 years old, and in charge of sanity at She has vibrant energy and loves helping other moms keep their sanity! Visit her at: 13


What You Heard Is Not What I Meant! By Fern Weis

From a recent TV commercial: Scene: Parents are in the kitchen. Daughter enters, hugs mom and screams: “I just got into one of the best schools in the country!” What the father heard: “I just got into one of the most expensive schools in the country!” This is a great example of how what you hear is not necessarily what was said. We see the world through our personal filter. The words that come into our ears can come out scrambled because of attitude, emotions, fatigue and stress levels. You’ve made it about you, even if, in that moment, it isn’t about you at all.

Conversely, remember that when you are sharing something and don’t get the response you are hoping for, it probably has little or nothing to do with you. Your listener is focused on how this impacts him or her. So what’s a person to do? It is easy! 1. Put your listening ears on. Be attentive and engaged in really hearing what the other person is saying. 2. Take yourself out of the picture. Easier said than done, but it is necessary at the time.

Let’s go back to the commercial. The father, concerned about how to pay for this fantastic education, has already shifted into worry mode. The pressure is on, and he may not be able to express sincere joy for her accomplishment. If so, his daughter is going to be disappointed at his lack of excitement. This incredible moment is now heavy with anxiety on his part, and sadness or resentment on hers. 14

People are trying to tell you something that is important to them. Do your best to put your reactions and needs on hold. 3. Put the other person first. Let her have her moment. Be happy or comforting, or whatever is needed. Now that you have refrained from reacting emotionally, it is time for you to consider what this conversation means to you. Sit with it for while, if you need to. A. Identify your concerns or fears. Be honest about them. B. Share them more calmly with those who should know. C. What is it you desire to accomplish or change? Write it down. D. What are the steps you need to take? Start taking one step at a time. E. Who do you need to ask for help? Call them up or write an email. Whatever you are feeling is real; however, how you react and respond can make all the difference‌ for both of you. Be in the moment. Hear what is said. Hear what is meant.

Fern Weis Fern Weis, Coaching for Parents of Teens. From silence to sharing and apathy to responsibility. Helping parents raise capable, self-sufficient kids. Visit her at or write her at Phone: 201-747-9642


It hurts to feel


What are you doing to understand?

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Magic Music From Stress Mess to Symphony in Your Home By Lisa Fenton

Do you ever feel like your children’s ears shut off, especially when you are in a rush? Are you wishing you had some fun-loving, child-friendly tools in your parenting toolbox that help your children cooperate? I can totally relate! As a preschool teacher with 17 years experience, I have had my share of days when I felt like a totally frazzled stress mess. I had children under tables, on top of tables, crying and spilling glue and paint, hitting each other, and creating noise like a train was running through my classroom.

My children and I would be late to our classes because I had a heck of a time getting them lined up to walk down the hall. After being introduced to music magic by Adaptive Physical Educator Ken Kitchelt, fondly known as Motor Ken, I was able to turn my preschool program from stress mess to symphony using singing. I found that instructions to my preschoolers became oodles more playful and fun when I sing them to a familiar or made-up melody. For example, when I sing an encouraging song like “We’re gonna walk, walk down the hallway” (sung to “Shake your Sillies Out” by Raffi), my young students lined up and we were on our way. After playtime with toys, I sing “Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere” (popular preschool song), and my young students’ ears perk up, and smiling children put the toys away. I have noticed that children respond to songs used in daily routines because they create a light-hearted atmosphere and boost the fun that otherwise feels like a chore.


Giving empathy to children through singing is another effective tool. One of my 3 year-old preschoolers, who has a sunshine smile and contagious laugh, has a hard time watching his mother leave the classroom at drop-off. His face turns to sadness and his lip plumps out in a pout. Initially, his reaction was to hit whoever sat beside him. To help him move forward, I began speaking to him in song to empathize with his sad feelings: “If you’re sad and you know it, cry a tear” (Parody of the song “Happy and You Know It”). I made a very sad face, tilted my head to the side, and made sad whimpers. As I gently touched his cheek, he made eye contact with me and said with a melancholic tone, “want hug.” Instead of hitting, music magic helped him be seen and feel calm. Another preschool child’s mother witnessed my singing empathy and used the strategy with her 4 year-old son. She shared that using the “Happy and You Know It” melody as empathy, helped her connect gently with her son and shifted a challenging home issue into calm and peace. At bedtime, start by giving a timely musical “warning” such as singing “Five more minutes, then it’s time for bed” to the melody “Mary had a Little Lamb.” Setting a timer is a helpful way to have a non-family member signal, too. Once signaled by the timer, shift into a bedroom marching tune with “It’s time to head to bed, it’s time to head to bed” sung to “Farmer in the Dell.”

I have discovered that integrating children’s names into songs will also hold a grand effect. “Oh my Johnny, Oh my Alice, it’s time to go to bed,” sung to “Oh my Darlin’, Clementine,” get reluctant children up and moving. Once bedtime stories have been read and your children have had their pre-sleep drinks, using lullabies to soothe them into dreamland will build lifetime memories and add another layer of depth to your sleepy-time routine. Commonly known songs like “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and “Lullaby and Goodnight” offer soothing melodies. Creating lyrics that comfort your child may also be helpful: “Sleeping, sleeping, all the night. I’ll see you soon in the morning light” (sung to “Twinkle, Twinkle”). 18

You may be telling yourself, “but I’m a terrible singer. I can’t even sing in tune.” I told myself this for years until after a prolonged absence from my first grade classroom, a dear 6 year-old girl said, “I missed your singing, Ms. Fenton.” Even with my own inner message of perceiving myself to be a “bad” singer, I sang anyways and my students always responded positively and in tune. Your children are drawn to your voice, even if you perceive it to be off-key or were once told something unkind about your singing.

What is exciting (and relieving) about using music and songs in daily household routines, is that you can create them for any activity, transition, or experience. By tapping into your own creative musical self, you can shift from feeling edgy to easeful. Now, take a deep breath, conjure a melody in your mind, and conduct a symphony in your home using music magic! “The only thing better than singing is more singing.” Ella Fitzgerald, Jazz Vocalist

Using music magic with your children will encourage them to sing, play with words and rhymes, and enrich their vocabulary. Children who have a language and song-rich environment are being nourished with pre-literacy skills and ideas that will later translate in their reading and writing skills. What a win-win experience!

Lisa Fenton Lisa Fenton is on a mission to help families go from chaotic to calm and cohesive with tools that children respond to and parents love. Visit Lisa for more tips on parenting: 19


Blending Families How to Help Children With Divorce By Carol Ferguson

When we look at a stepfamily, we ignore that there was a past; that this family was created because of the breakdown of relationships or the loss of a partner. We forget that, when we tell the children they need to forget whoever was their original parent and focus only on the new parents. That’s not fair for children because they will always identify themselves as part of the other parent also. So it’s important to acknowledge that, even though it’s not easy.

There is a sense of bereaving and loss for a child of divorce. The child does not feel that the family is as whole as it once was. Children become very attached to people at a young age. Even children who were adopted from birth or a young age will have a tendency to ask themselves “Who are my parents?” Even though they were raised by wonderful parents that love them and care for them, they will have a tendency at some point in their life to ask themselves that question: “Who is my biological mom or my dad?” They may see themselves as someone that doesn’t resemble their current family. So they’re searching for who they are. In stepfamilies, some of the kids are home all the time and the others are going from one house to another. The relationships and the dynamics between the children takes maybe a lot longer to build. 20

Especially if the position in which the children are in, changes. For example, at one house, one of the children is the oldest and at the other house, he or she becomes a middle child or the baby of the family. So changing of positions can also be something that kids have a hard time dealing with. But some of the things that can be done to help unify the kids and bring them together and get to know who they are, is by playing games, if it’s possible. Again it depends on the age of the kids. Play games to blend better! Playing games is one of the easiest ways to bring people together because you have a set of rules about playing the games.

Prepare meals to blend together! Another way to bring the children together is to prepare a meal together. Children appreciate being in the loop of what’s going on. So have family meetings, even if the kids are five, six or seven, include them in the family meeting. Discuss issues that have come up and get everyone’s input. Share with the children and not just tell them but listen to them. When young adults are asked about their parents’ divorce, the number one thing that comes out is they didn’t feel, at the time, that they were heard. BONUS Giveaway: Free “How Divorce Affects Children” eBook

Everybody understands what those rules are but there’s also an element of fun and of relaxation. There’s no expectations of having to share and talk, or perform, or be something you may not want. When you’re playing games, going to sports, or doing fun things together, it really brings people together.

Carol Ferguson Carol Ferguson is a divorced mother of two wonderful children, who were 6 and 10 years old at the time. For more information, go to her website at: 21


Live By Choice Not By Chance By Linda Guirey

As a mother to 3 young adults and step mother to 3 more, I truly understand the complexities of parenthood. What is also important is that I understand how your choices not only shape your lives, but shape the lives of your children. I am a speaker, coach, and trainer and I help people on a daily basis, create positive change in their lives by understanding their choices. Every day you choose what you say, think, believe and do and every day you have no control over what others say, think, believe and do - but you do have a choice of attitude. It is that attitude that will define you and will determine the impact you have on your children and other people. Every day you influence the choices of others, just by how you choose to be and this is particularly important as parents.

You are role modelling behaviour, so when you choose your behaviour, you are choosing the consequences and choosing the impact that you will have on your children. Now is the time to become intentional with your thoughts and accept responsibility for what you choose to say, think, believe and do. What you think in your head, determines what you see. If you think someone doesn’t like you, no matter what they do or say, you will be looking to prove yourself right. The same applies to change and parenthood. If you think a particular change or situation is not a good one, you will be looking for all the reasons to prove yourself right. It’s like you are seeing everything through a negative filter and when that happens, you no longer see possibilities and opportunities. 22

Children need to be encouraged 1. to see possibilities and opportunities, 2. to make the best of situations, 3. to see the positive and make the most of every day in their lives, 4. to understand that all their choices are followed by consequences, for themselves and for others. Every choice you make is like the ripple caused by throwing a pebble into a pond. We often focus on the ripples that other people cause - for example it is so much more enjoyable to stand around the coffee machine at work and complain about the behaviour and mistakes of others, than it is to reflect on your own behaviour. But everyday you should be asking yourself - what have I given to others, what have I received and what trouble have I caused - because how you choose to be and act, influences how your children choose to be and act. What you also say in your head about yourself determines what you will see. We see evidence of this with young girls who tell themselves that they are not thin enough, or beautiful enough - so when they look in the mirror, that is what they see. The most important words you will ever hear, are the words you say to yourself so as parents we need to encourage and help our children create a positive self image.

Gratitude is something we don’t do enough of. Have you ever walked into a cafe and smelled the wonderful aroma of freshly brewed coffee, but when you have been there a while, you can’t smell it any more. That is because you have become used to it. The same happens in relationships and life. You get used to situations, the romance or excitement that occurred initially, is gone. However you can reignite that passion and excitement by being grateful for the experiences, every single day. It is said that gratitude is the single biggest contributor to a successful marriage - being grateful for the times you share, being grateful for the joy you bring to each other’s lives and being ever so grateful for the family that you have, the times with your kids, the beautiful people that your children can grow up to become. Gratitude and positivity are not just words or ideals. If you can become more grateful, if you can create a more positive attitude, then you are likely to become happier, healthier, have better relationships, be more successful and live longer. I know what I choose! So it is important to choose your thoughts and it is just as important to accept that you can’t choose the thoughts of others.

You wouldn’t say to a child, “you are fat” or “you are ugly” so saying it to yourself is actually self abuse. By being intentional with your thoughts, by choosing to be proud of who you are, by choosing the gratitude attitude and being thankful every day for the people you meet and life you have - this is the best behaviour to role model to your children. 23

Your thoughts are your thoughts and therefore someone else’s criticism is really just their thoughts spoken out loud. Your choice is what you will do with those words - will you take the criticism personally and allow it to affect your day or your life, or will you take a moment to ask yourself whether there is any amount of truth in what the other person has said and if not - “don’t own it”! Don’t own someone else’s words about you - those words are their thoughts, nothing more. Unfortunately children learn to take criticism to heart, especially from their peers, which is why bullying has such tragic consequences. If only children could learn that self esteem comes from within, from the words that they say to themselves, not from the words other people say. Most people though, children and adults alike, define themselves by what others say about them - they have created an external security rather than an internal security. How do you respond when others criticise you - what are you role modelling to your children?

Being a parent is such a wonderful experience. Sure there will be times when your patience is tested, especially with teenagers, and I know! When my husband and I got together with our blended family, we had 6 children between the ages of 13 and 21. There were always dramas, challenges, but what is important is perspective. Sometimes things happen when you have no control or choice - so the important thing is not to worry. When you do have control and choice, the important thing is to use your power of choice wisely - be intentional with your choices, be positive and grateful and make your choices count. Your children are the generation of tomorrow - what a beautiful opportunity to create caring, accepting individuals to be so very proud of. Make your choices count!

Linda Guirey Linda Guirey is The Choice Champion - creating positive change in people's lives with the choices that they make. Linda is a speaker, coach, trainer, author and artist. Visit her at: 24


What Do You Know About Concentric Circles By Chloe JonPaul

When you’re at the dinner table, it helps to know that there are certain topics that make great conversation and help build family community.

Now you probably won’t be forming concentric circles but the topics can certainly be used to foster good, healthy conversation.

For over 10 years, I was a lead facilitator in the Alternatives to Violence Project, giving workshops in the Maryland State Prison system as well as community workshops as well. I even gave a presentation at the International AVP Conference in New Zealand in 2004.

This can work well with children ages 6 and up, and especially well with teenagers. You can initiate this activity by announcing to the family that you would like to try something new at the dinner table, and that this is a “test run”. Explain that this is something new for you as well and how important it is to be willing to try something new every now and then. As time goes on, it would be a good idea to have family members write some sentences that they would like the rest of the family to finish.

The Concentric Circles exercise was an excellent way to get participants to communicate more easily in the exercises that followed. It also set the tone for friendly camaraderie in the next couple of days since each workshop lasted 3 days. In an Alternatives to Violence workshop, chairs are placed in concentric circles with participants facing each other. Participants are given a sentence to finish with a given amount of time. The inner circle participants are the A group and the outer circle forms the B group. This group moves from chair to chair around the circle but both groups respond to completing the same sentence.


What you don’t want to do is force the conversation. If a family member isn’t ready to finish the sentence as you go around the table, they should have the right to pass. You can always say,” Well, maybe later you’ll think of something.” Setting ground rules is simple: 1. Everyone has a chance to speak 2. No interruptions while the person are speaking 3. No poking fun at someone’s comments. It helps to say, “We all must learn how to become better listeners – and that includes Mom as well”.

There is a very interesting article by Alexandra Sifferlin in the April 24th issue of Time’s Heathland online. It is wellworth reading! why-families-who-eat-together-arehealthier/

Here are some topics to get you started: A person I really respect and truly admire is... Something I’ve done that I’m proud of is... Something I want to work on this year is... A place I would like to visit is… One of the things I do best is...

It is quite important that each person be thanked for sharing. A simple “thank you” is enough. Try to avoid using complimentary adjectives as this could stir up sibling rivalry: “Oh, she said ‘Good job to me but great job’ to you.” Do you catch my drift? Children should be encouraged to put aside games, I-pods, and other items before coming to the dinner table. The TV should never be on while you’re at the dinner table as a family. Unfortunately, too many families no longer eat dinner together on a regular basis and it is destroying family structure.

If I could give the world one thing it would be... If I had the power to make one good thing happen right now, I would... You can also ask, “What was the best part of your day?

This could well be the “missing link” in your gathering as a family at the dinner table. If your dinnertime isn’t what you would like it to be, now is the time to try Concentric Circles. Ready to act on this? Try it and watch what happens!

Chloe Jonpaul Chloe Jon Paul, M.Ed., is a retired educator and writer of several published articles and a previous book entitled “What Happens Next: A Family Guide to Nursing Home Visits” and more… Visit: 26


May 2013, Issue 8


Lisa Hein is the author of the book, “I’m Doing The Best I Can!” - They won’t always be cute and adorable. Her newest book, ‘Manifesting God’s Love In Your Family’ will be released in May 2013. She has been featured on many national and local TV and radio networks, booked as a motivational speaker, and recently retired as the host of her radio show ‘Everyday Parenting.’ Lisa was also asked to share her expertise as a co-author in the book ‘Ready, Aim Excel!’ among fifty one other recognized motivational speakers and authors. She says, “I am honored to be included alongside these incredibly intelligent and inspiring people who come from all over the world.” Visit her: Fern Weis says: “The dark road of my son’s teenage years inspired me to become a parent coach. I support and educate parents on transforming the parent-teen relationship, letting go of the need to control, helping kids become super problem-solvers and taking the confusion out of decision-making. In other words, raising teens to confident, selfsufficient adulthood and maintaining your sanity along the way. Get started with a free “Effective Parent/Successful Child Jumpstart Kit” at

Dorothy Whitfield is a wife, mom, and the founder of The Sane Mom. She offers coaching to moms that are ready to live the life they were created to live. Dorothy believes that being a mom doesn’t mean you have to stop being a woman who has passions and a purpose outside of family life. Visit for tips, stories, interviews, and videos to help you achieve personal and professional success.

Lisa Fenton, M.S., is on a mission to help parents shift their home-life from crazy and chaotic to calm and cohesive. Lisa brings her vast experience in childhood education to the home with unique and powerful parenting tools that children respond to and parents love! Experience Lisa's parent coaching first hand by scheduling a "Recharge your Batteries Booster Session" at Happy Home Family Coaching. Sign up now! 27

May 2013, Issue 8



Chloe Jon Paul, M.Ed., is a retired educator and writer of several published articles and a previous book entitled “What Happens Next: A Family Guide to Nursing Home Visits”. Title of Ms. Maryland Senior America 2003. Recipient of the Fulbright Fellowship Seminars Abroad award to South Africa, 1996. Volunteer internship during the 2005 Maryland legislative session as a Legacy Leadership Institute graduate. Lead facilitator for the Alternatives to Violence Project in prison and community workshops on conflict resolution for ten years.State representative for the National Family Caregivers Association’s caregiver community action network 2006-2008.

Linda Guirey, The Choice Champion, is a speaker, coach, trainer and author who speaks about creating positive change in your life through understanding your choices. Linda was voted Best Speaker in New Zealand for 2012, in the Corporate Events People’s Choice Awards. Linda is also an artist and uses her artwork in her presentations as they reflect the messages she shares. Visit her at:

Carol Ferguson was married for 18 years and is now the divorced mother of two wonderful children. She is passionate about supporting other divorced women and making their divorce a positive life experience. In putting together her website, she has partnered with people from many different backgrounds and with many different expertises, to give you all you need to move. She is all about connecting people with people and people with information:

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Inner Peace Parenting Magazine May 2013  

How important is understanding to you? Wouldn't you love to understand your loved ones more? Read this issue to get great tips on consciousl...

Inner Peace Parenting Magazine May 2013  

How important is understanding to you? Wouldn't you love to understand your loved ones more? Read this issue to get great tips on consciousl...