Parenting in 2020

Hey everyone! I have been thinking a lot about this journey of growing a business with a family! Many are surprised to hear that David and I are raising four children! “How do you do it?” is the most common question people once they find out the size of our family! When someone asks this, I am not even sure what to say or what is appropriate besides… “We just do it!”

Quarantine gave me LOTS of time to reflect on parenting and I had what I think some would call an awakening! I realized I really wanted to have a better relationship with each of my children and my husband! We were spending all our time together as the world faced the COVID-19 shutdown.  I was ready to jump into learning how to create this shift! It was not easy with all kids home ALL THE TIME, doing all their classes from home while I too was in class 6 hours a week and managing my health and wellness business while my husband was running his physical therapy practice!

First, I dove into a book suggested by several friends: The Child Whisperer by Carol Tuttle. According to her research and studying, there are four energy types in the world, and each expresses itself in different ways! We can see these four energy types all around us, even in nature! There was SOO many books I could have read but decided to start here and I am so glad I followed that feeling!

I learned that each of my children is a different dominant energy type from each other! You guys!! Lightbulb moment…haha! I was trying to parent them pretty much the same and what they needed was me to show up as the mom that understood their energy!  

At the time I am writing this, Victoria is 18 (Senior), Jocelyn is 16 (Sophomore), Tyler is 12 (7th grade) and Grayson is 7… 8 in a few weeks (2nd grade). I am not certified to teach Carol’s method, but I want to share a few things about each child and what has changed in our relationship since I took the time to invest in learning more about what they needed from me!

I am going to start with Jocelyn! She is a Type 1 energy and is light and bright! She is the life of the party and truly wants to do things that are fun! Because she likes to have fun, she might do things that seem a little scatterbrained! She truly wants to please us but have fun in the process and she wants her parents to have fun and be happy! If she sees David or I upset, or having a bad day, it can affect her mood! This past year I have worked to connect with how she sees the world! What can I do to honor the element of fun in her life? We have created little surprises this last year like an upcoming trip and even little outings for lunch or smoothies! I encourage her to make time in her day to have fun… watching a Netflix show, sledding outside with a friend, and painting her nails. She loves making new playlists on her phone, specially themed with the current holiday. We play games and do things to keep the mood lighthearted! When I am having a bad day, I will let her know and remind her how much I love her and that my current mood has nothing to do with her! I work hard now to laugh and joke around more with her, including watching funny videos on Instagram. When we are having more fun, Jocelyn is the brightest!

Next is Victoria, our Type 2 energy. She is softer and more sensitive and does not move quite as quickly as Type 1 energy! This has been so important for me to learn because I am a Type 1 like Jocelyn and so parenting Victoria helps remind me to slow down and enjoy the calm! One of her biggest needs is to make sure we are connected as a family and that we treat each other gently. She is very thoughtful. I see this when she wants to give someone a gift! Nothing is done quickly. She wants us to be in harmony! She requires more downtime and alone time… which is very different from Jocelyn’s energy! I have learned this past year to give her that space and to not surprise her too often. I have shifted my language to not always be rushing her out the door. I plan as many “ahead of time” warnings as I can and allow her to go at her pace. This year I have seen her confidence soar and her ability to make decisions improve that much more! I let her know I am here for her when she needs me and that I can always go over ideas with her.

Next up is our Grayson! Grayson is a Type 3 energy, and he is a determined child! He has moved fast since he started crawling. He was my child that got into everything, drew on all the walls including himself, and has rarely taken no for an answer. He loves to wear random color patterns together, throws things around the house and everyone always knows where he is! He has the loudest voice but also the loudest laugh. During quarantine, we had him start exercising every day to make sure he was moving his body enough. He is always the child that is laying on the couch upside down or rolling around on the floor. He is so very busy but also full of so much energy! He is always up for an adventure or trying something new. If I tell him “no” too many times, I can how this dims his energy. With Grayson, I have implemented clear expectations and know which ones I will not budge on. I have learned to use other words besides “No.” I have practiced saying things like, “Let’s talk about that, but before we do, you need to finish….“ Grayson has become much more obedient and softer as we have worked together to support his determined energy! He has spaces he can create messes and not always having me there to make him clean up right away. He also has space to move and get his energy out and we keep him on a regular exercise schedule along with city sports, so that he always has an outlet for his energy! He is the happiest when he gets some freedom to do the things he wants while doing the things we want him to do!

Last but certainly not least is Tyler and he is a Type 4 energy. He is our most serious child and requires more exactness in directions, discipline, expectations, and praise more than any of my other children! He wants to do things as efficiently as possible and does not deviate easily from his routine. His routine works because he has found it to be the most efficient for him and so that is why he continues with it! Tyler is amazing at the piano, but sometimes newer songs are challenging because he wants to be able to play it perfectly. He does not like to be made fun of or laughed at…. even if it is a joke. He is an avid reader and will choose to read over join in on a family activity because he knows how many pages, he needs to finish that day to read the entire book by a certain deadline. He plans out his Christmas and Birthday lists months in advance and goes over and over them, to make sure it is practical for his needs. I have learned with Tyler to be clear and truly mean what I say. I have shown up better for Tyler because I do what I say now. We have very clear guidelines about his chores, his daily responsibilities to earn screen time, and things he can do to connect with his siblings and with his parents and friends. Tyler is loyal and loves honestly! He has helped me become more accountable for my actions this last year.

This journey with our children this past year has been a beautiful one! As I have learned to connect more with my children based on their energy and their needs, it has allowed me to understand and own mine! We talk about it together and I am always checking in with our children to make sure they feel their needs are being met!

This process has brought us closer together as a family! The timing of this has been amazing as well! I was studying and learning the tools and techniques I needed to become the coach I am now and during the process was able to strengthen the relationships with my family!

I know I did not touch much on David here because he deserves a post all his own, lol! As a teaser, I will tell you that our family has never been happier than right now. Who knew that as the world shut down, we would find the most joy we ever have in our marriage, in the relationships with our children, and in our businesses by the end of 2020!

So, when I get asked about how I manage a new business with so many kids, I have come up with a new answer. I tell people now, “I don’t know how to be successful without my kids! They all have their unique gifts and special abilities they bring to our family and parenting them has given me the strength to be here where I am today.”

 

Xoxo,

 

Leanna

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