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The picture to the right was taken one Easter morning a few years back. Dressed in our Sunday best, the whole family marched outside to head to church only to discover that we were stuck...with a dead battery. Luckily my handy husband and lots of little helpers came to the rescue and we made it to our destination safe and sound.

Now this picture simply reminds me of our early parenting years. Brent and I were thrilled to be parents, made all sorts of preparations, had lots of expectations and good intentions, and worked hard for many years to begin raising our children. But about 8 years into it...we felt stuck. While we thoroughly enjoyed many happy moments, it was also becoming obvious that we were spinning our wheels when trying to make progress on improving rough, stress-filled moments with our growing kids.

This web site is all about how we re-started our batteries and began moving toward happier parenting years again. To give back to those who have helped us along the way and to share the knowledge we've gained, we now offer our time and experiences as parent-to-parent mentors. Again, welcome!!

The following suggestions may help you as you navigate this site:

If you are new to general parenting concepts that use words like ‘present’, ‘mindfulness’, ‘aware parenting’, or ‘attachment’ it might be helpful to Google these words because Present Parenting is on a similar wavelength.

If you are new to brain science words including prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate, amygdala, hippocampus, limbic system, neurotransmitter, dopamine, or myelination, do some reading here...and Google some more, too. It will take time and effort to learn how the brain works. Be patient and keep at it! Brain science is a key aspect of Present Parenting.

If you are new to concepts and theories specific to this Present Parenting site like the Accountability PyramidThe Four Basic Parenting responses, or Two Kinds of Immature Behavior, block some time in your day/night to read about and ponder them.
If you are familiar and comfortable with Present Parenting concepts and are looking for everyday disciplinary application, there are a few options:
  • Check the S.O.S tab for Sample Open-ended Scenarios and possible Present Parenting solutions.
  • For real-life disciplinary examples from the Smith family, peruse the Present Moments tab, particularly the ‘Giving Peace’ sub-tab.
  • Also check for links within specific the Accountability Pyramid pages as you scroll down through the various stages on each of the sides.
  • Over time, we will try to organize topics by specific age or issue as well...stay tuned.
If you are here to solve a specific disciplinary parenting issue, but are struggling to feel ‘present’ instead of absent or reactively defensive or offensive:
  1. Know that you are in good company. (That's how we all feel!)
  2. Applaud yourself for noticing your current condition.
  3. Take a moment to appreciate your current capabilities.
  4. Know that change is possible. (Change means improvement, not perfection.)
  5. Make an honest assessment of your desire for change...is it to settle your own discomfort so you don’t have to “deal” with a certain “misbehavior” in your child again? Is it to help your child change because otherwise his/her potential future scares, worries, or makes you angry? If so, your parenting responses will be defensive or offensive and likely result in coping behaviors and only short-term progress. You might just be having a rough day or you might need to unload some past emotional baggage in order to offer a more present response to your child during future times of conflict. This can be a difficult, but worthwhile journey. A few personal thoughts on this journey are here.
  6. Remember: if a Present Response is a brand new concept for you, know that, like anything new, your brain will need lots of practice (and probably some healing from past “issues” which is okay and very normal) before a present response begins to feel more natural for you.
  7. Lastly, feel free to contact us directly for free, third party advice.
If you are here to observe Amy or Brent trying to create ‘present moments’ while interacting with their children, browse through the blog tab titled ‘Present Moments’ and particularly the ‘Receiving Peace’ sub-tab.