Child in front of Christmas presents

Co + Work for your Joy. Peace. Love. @ Home

How the seed of an idea took root and blossomed into a collaborative project for YOU.

Parisian entrepreneurs are offering parents 1000€ of gifts through an interactive, online Parents’ Advent Calendar.

(There is still time to sign up in English…ou en français)

 

It Began at Mona

When this free co-working space for women opened in November, I jumped at the opportunity to work with dynamic, feminine company.

A BIG thanks to the sponsors – My Little Paris, AXA Insurance, Estée Lauder, and Nike – who bring us this welcoming space from November 1 through December 31, 2017.

What can one do in a co-working space that one cannot be done at home all alone?

CO as well as WORK!

Five minutes into walking through the front door I introduced myself to the woman sitting at my table.  Well, really, she was happily sitting there first and I smilingly intruded, asking if I might join.  I set an objective to meet five new people every day and discovered passionate women engaged in fascinating projects.

What enticing project could I build to share my passion for strong families that stay connected even during the tantrums AND the disobedience AND the frustrations of daily life?

A “CO” project!

A Meaningful Purpose

As a parenting coach trained in Adlerian principles, I espouse the principles of belonging to and contributing to a community with a purpose larger than oneself.

Which purpose?

At this time of year, Christmas seemed obvious.  And yet French friends have lamented the commercialized spirit.

The underlying spirit of the season is Joy. Peace. Love. 

We parents raise the joy-bringer and peace-makers of tomorrow through the love they experience at home!

We are raising the joy-bringer and peace-makers of tomorrow! Click to Tweet

Voilà!  Joy. Peace. Love. @ Home

 

Stronger Together

Enthused by the idea, I discovered an amazing online interactive Advent Calender by Dot.vu.  Check it out.  Their 15 day free trial allowed me to test the idea with potential collaborators.  Their service is top notch.  Tom invited me for a 30 minute Google Hangout personalized guide and Pedro answered my (numerous) queries efficiently and professionally.

Enthused by the purpose and the tool, 15 entrepreneurs joined in.

It is a delight to introduce them to you.  Today you meet the people.

(Every day of advent you’ll discover the gifts they each share.)

Denise Dampierre, founder of SoSooper

A bit about me:  As a Harvard MBA and the mother of 4 boys in 6 years, I’ll describe the early years of parenting as the energy-management business:  expend the boys’; conserve mine.  Now, we focus on making empowering memories and creating a family culture where everyone thrives.  My passion: to help raise the next generation of joy-filled, peace-making, and loving men and women.

Adrien Bracon, Coiffeur à Domicile

Adrien has styled my hair for decades.  Trained at Jean-Marc Manniatis, the Haute Coiffure, Adrien now brings his talent “chez vous.”  Phew! Instead of lugging four tots to the hairdresser and waiting out their turn, we could spend that time snuggling at home while Adrien styled the whole family.  He is so talented, I give him “carte blanche” on my head.

Alice Lamotte

Mothers of four children flock together, especially when we seek ways for families to THRIVE (vs. survive).  Alice and I met through Positive Discipline where we both sought training to build respect-filled and cooperative homes…first “chez nous” then beyond.  Alice abounds in energy.  She combines physical health with socio-emotional well-being in her Gym & Talk coaching.

Beija-Flore

Béatrice Cornet Vernet and I connected through Femmepreneurs, a network of women entrepreneurs in the west of Paris.  I fell in love with her Liberty fabric accessories.  Béatrice and I have not yet met face-to-face (!) AND she graciously agreed to join in our adventure even during this busy time of Christmas fairs every weekend.

Chantal Bourges

Chantal and I were roommates at an international Positive Discipline conference.  You get to appreciate someone when you see them with tousled-hair and sleepy-eyed.  The mother of FIVE children, Chantal sat on the board of the French and US Positive Discipline associations.  She coaches and trains parents and teachers locally and internationally.

Elli Photography

Elli Ioannou and I met at Mona.  As another Anglophone (Elli hails from Australia) she too felt at ease with the “CO” aspect of coworking.  She is established as a fashion photographer trained in analog photos.  That means, she catches the moment (think kids).  Elli got excited about our collaborative project; ”I choose to work with this community!”

English Dream Cakes

As a member of the Facebook group Anglopreneurs, I saw a post of ravishingly dreamily decorated cakes.  The post came and went.  The image remained.  And what a joy it has been to exchange with mother-daughter team Cheryl and Dew.  They combine genteel with professional.  Stir in creativity and cover with generosity.  All served with a delicious smile.

Feminicity

Amanda Wigby and I learned to appreciate each other through constructive feedback.  We challenged each other to overcome a discrepancy between our “Talk” (the services we provide) and our “Walk” (how we express our expertise in everyday life).  Authentic, open, and visionary, Amanda helps you and me replace “I should” behavior with acting on our personal priorities.

Light On

A group of students at ISCOM are helping me with the backstage of this project.  The correct my French, give feedback, do design work, stay active on social media, and cheer me on.  It’s thanks to knowing they are covering my back that I dared to venture on this project.  Thanks, to Anaïs Kisasondi, Camille Meunier-Sirven, Rose Rapp, Elodie Schwinn, and Laura Wieczorek.

Ludocatix

Virginie Chabert also comes to us through Femmepreneurs.  Virginie creates products that help children grow in responsibility.  One of our most popular downloads on SoSooper was a chore chart for kids to want to help with chores.  Ludocatix replaces my cut-and-paste routine charts with positive-parenting-inspired tools that children and parents build together.

Maman NYC à Paris

I shared about my first day at Mona.  Before settling down to work, I paused at the Maman café located on the premises to be warmly greeted by Antoine and his team.  They smilingly serve coffee, tea, and especially yummy delights (both savory and sweet) to keep us coworkers energized during the day.  A coworking without coffee & cooking?  Just a space…

My Little Paris

It’s the My Little Paris team that greets us so warmly at Mona.  The company launched with five women teaming to sniff out trends and deals which reflect Parisian flair.  They wrapped these up beautifully in boxes, and send them out to moms, dads, and tots too…on three continents!  I love how My Little Paris makes it easy to remain chic when we parents have little energy and time to spare.

Poke Bar

Our children introduced me to Elodie Macquet.  Also a mother of boys, Elodie is a serial entrepreneur.  She and her neighbor Isabelle opened Poke Bar in March, bringing Hawaii sunshine to Parisian tables.  Their restaurant, just off place de l’Opéra, serves fresh poke bowls on the spot and to go.  Our teen boys delighted on their tasty, healthy, light, AND filling meal.

Ruth Naomi Floyd

Ruth and I came to know each other through my mistake.  In Paris to sing gospel lyrics set to jazz music for an event I organized…she arrived a day earlier than I expected!!  No room at the hotel, she came to our home and partook in our noisy, home-fare dinner.  Joy!  Multi-talented, Ruth is also a fine-arts photographer and compassionately cares for people affected by HIV and AIDS.

TooFruit

Our children’s classmates stem from an entrepreneurial vibe!  It’s through our son that we met Katell Perrot just as she was launching TooFruit.  We tasted her enthusiasm as she introduced us to blueberry lotions and pineapple creams especially developed for children’s skin.  These organic potions deliciously cleanse and nourish kids from head to toe.

(Une Parenthèse Bougie)

Femmepreneurs came through again to introduce Valérie Nicol…virtually.  ‘Tis the season of candlelight and Valérie specially selects her candles for mood magic.  When I mentioned the theme, she exclaimed, “I’ve got just the candle for the occasion.  It’s even new to the catalog ????”

Villa Manon

Another through-our-children meeting with Mary Holmes Smith.  She participated in a Positive Discipline class with other parents and we stayed connected.  Now I frequent her studio where she leads Pilates and yoga classes.  It’s a breathe of rejuvenation to enter her serene, ginger-lemon scented atelier for stretching and strengthening.

Vincent Cassigneul

A classmate of my husband living in Toulouse, Vincent and I meet at reunions.  Photography is his hobby and as the father of four girls, he’s had practice with models.  On a boat party recently, Vincent impressed me with his eye.  He captured moments that many of us miss.  While we focused on the obvious, Vincent sought out pearls. Thanks.

Wine Contacts

Our sons’ brought Mary Kirk Bonnet and I together.  A Franco-American, Mary holds the prestigious “Sommelier-Conseil” title.  She has graced our dinner parties with choice selections from favorite vineyards.  Our friends still rave about the insightful, warm, and delightful time we shared during the private wine-tasting Mary led in our home.  Thanks.

 

Thank You

A big thanks to all of you who trusted in me and in this project  and chose to work together.  And a special thanks to those I have not yet met who jumped in this collaborative effort because they have a passion and believe in our combined purpose:

Joy. Peace. Love. @ Home

and

Thrill. Passion. Cooperation. @ Work !

Joy. Peace. Love. @ Home and Thrill. Passion. Cooperation. @ Work. … Click to Tweet

 

Cover Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

DJ at radio studio

A parenting coach, a cop’s kid, and a foodie talk on radio

Yep, I was invited on the Thursday noon talk show with David Hailwood, the director of Expat Radio, and Lisa Ranking, founder of  Flavors of Paris.

On the air with 64K listeners from 86 countries I shared about parenting… yet the most dauting audience was:

  • Lisa, the mother of two cats, who interviewed me about SoSooper and Positive Discipline.  We connected on topics like empowerment, different cultures, AND getting kids to eat.
  • David, the son of a Manchester police officer, who introduced lively discussion through unnerving anecdotes: the mother who threw china out the window and kids trying to bribe their way out of punishment.

Here are a few highlights:

Expats + SoSooper => Family Culture

SoSooper helps parents build a culture of thriving for their families.

Parents often take family culture for granted.  Have you defined yours?

There is a moment, however, when families confront culture head on…when they move abroad and become expats.  Simple things become complicated.

The Dampierre’s (my family) are quite Frenchified and savor our daily fresh baguettes.  When we go to the US, “fresh” bread comes wrapped in plastic bags(!)…so that it can last for days!!!

Corporate culture, however, is a priority for most professional organizations.  Managers in companies invest money, time, and talent to create an environment that promotes success.  Isn’t thriving what we want for our loved ones too?

So, I spoke of SoSooper bringing leadership tools to the family arena, training and coaching parents in empowering their children and developing habits which promote cooperation and inclusivity.

Build a culture of thriving for your family. Click to Tweet

Foodie Examples of Family Culture

In talking with Lisa, of course, we embarked on a conversation on food and children’s eating habits.  How might a family culture relate to the food on one’s table?

Lisa enquired this way: “Should parents insist that their children try every food on their plate?”

My answer: “It depends upon the family culture.”

Take the Discovery Family.  Mom and Dad take to heart the importance of diversity and want their children to embrace it.  To be consistent, parents could train the kids to welcome differences by having them try a variety of foods.  They could pursue further than merely requesting to try foreign fare.  Why not entertain a weekly discovery meal?  Have YOU tasted strawberry risotto, watercress soup, or curry pizza!

Consistency is key.

And it’s sooper easier to say than to do.  (That’s why we offer coaching.)

It’s harder to be convincing as a parent when you say, “Be tolerant and open-minded,” and daily serve up noodles and butter (or another standard staple).

Let your actions and your words speak the same language.


When Plates Fly – Anger Management

That’s when David contributes the story of his boyhood friend with the open ground floor window.  No matter what the weather.  He found out why the hard way.

One afternoon, in heading over to his buddy’s house to play, he was nearly hit by a plate whizzing out from the house.  A woman’s raging voice accompanied the flying saucer.

Buddy and he hurredly scurried away to play in safety until the mother’s fury abated.

As a positive parenting coach, how does one respond to such a tale on live radio?!

I can empathize.

Like this mum, I (and surely you too) have moments of “Loosing it.”

And the kids know which levers to pull to reach that tipping point. 

Yet another muddy footprint on the light carpet.  A look of defiance.  Lack of response…especially when I’m in a hurry.  They expect me to react immediately to their request…when they previously gave the silent treatment…

“So, is anger bad?  What if we can’t help it?” inquired Lisa.

Anger. Flying books. Scream
Aaaagh!
Confused, wondering child
Hummmmm…


Emotions as Gifts

Emotions are neither good nor bad.  They are signs that something good or bad is happening.

I like to view feelings as gifts.  Emotions occur in response to events or behaviors.  Something happened BEFORE the plates flew.

We often think of anger management in terms of “solving it in the moment.”  It’s when we feel anger than we need to deal with it.

But what if we could include the children in positive ways of organizing the home so that the anger triggers don’t even happen? 

Consider this family.  The mom flipped her lid when the children regularly complained about the food she lovingly cooked.  She created Weekly Menu’s and invited the Biggest Complainer to make the menu for the entire family.  “You get to choose what to eat…AND when the others don’t like it, they tell you.”

He felt honored to be trusted with the responsibility…for several weeks until he realized it was really work.  This solution transformed his mealtime vocabulary; he replaced whining with gratitude.  Instead of, “Peas?!  You know I hate them,” he exclaimed, “Great!  Today is corn day!”

And the plates stay in the cupboard.


Punishment Avoidance

David graced us with another parenting story.

Ask questions sign

As the son of a policeman, he was privy to delinquent youth’s request to negotiate favored treatment with the police.

Dave’s stories sure kept me on my toes… and I was glad to share a Positive Discipline anecdote from Californian police.  They used the tool of Limited Choices to engage the cooperation of people they were arresting.

“Would you like your handcuffs in front or in back?”  “Do you want your mug-shot on the right side or the front view first?”

These questions enabled the police to remain firm in their requests WHILE treating the detainees with respect.

It works at home too.  “Would you like to put your blue shoe or your red one on first?”  “Will you turn the video game off or shall I?”

Lisa exclaimed, “Denise, what you do is help parents empower their kids!”  Exactly.


How to Prepare for Parenting?

And David came up with his third story.

So, clearly parenting benefits from practice.  He’s heard of mums carrying around the industrial size bags of flour to get ready to be a parent.

Here, Lisa interjects.  “David, if you ever choose a career reconversion, avoid parent coaching!”

Could you hear my smile on the radio?!


When Parents Wish Kids had “Pause” Buttons?!

(Maybe unknowingly) David uncovered another soft spot… Might there be moments when parents do treat their children like an object?

“NEVER!” Is the first thought to come to mind.

And yet…. there were moments I craved to find my sons’ “Pause” button.  In the grocery store when walking by the candy aisle.  When it’s bedtime and he wants to keep playing.  When he refuses to listen…

Boy playiing in leaves in fall
Where is “Pause”?
Boy sleeping in pile of fall leaves
Found it!

 

Machines and robots have “Pause” buttons.  People don’t.  And children are people.

It’s one of the principles I love about Positive Discipline.  This science-based approach to building respect-filled relationships is founded on the principles of Dr. Alfred Adler, a forward-thinking psychiatrist from the 1930’s.  Austrian by birth, he worked with prisoners of war as well as with children.    At that time, both groups of people were considered second-class citizens.  Children were to be seen but not heard.  Victims of wartime imprisonment, staggering to find their bearings after freedom, felt locked in trauma and stigma.  Alfred Adler believed in the equal value of every person: whatever their age, race, gender, career, past, or potential.

That means they (and we) each have choice.

You and I cannot forcefully push the “Pause” button on someone else.

We can, however, put OURSELF on “Pause” and create a family culture where calming down becomes the welcome norm.

 

“When You’re Angry, Go to Your Room.”

For close to a decade, our family has practiced an Annual Review.  The children give me feedback on

  • What I do well. I commit to continuing.
  • What behavior they would like me to change. They make the request and we talk about this.

Our youngest piped up, “Mom, when you are angry, go to your room!”

What wisdom!  From whom did he hear that?  Clearly from One. Smart. Parent.

This child created our Family Pause Button.

Now, when I am blind with fury (which happens more rarely ????), my children help me find clarity.  “Mom, remember your job (from the Annual Review)…”

And in the same way, I share it with them: “Sweetheart, it sounds like you’re angry.  Shall we both go to our rooms?”

Gratitude

Thanks Lisa and Dave for an inspiring discussion.  The contrast in styles and perspectives is what made it so rich.

David, you CHALLENGED me.  Thank you.  Your comments stimulated me to put into practice my principles of empathy and value of differences.

Lisa, thank you for your encouragement.  You expressed, “Aha!’s” throughout our exchange.  That’s what SoSooper is about:  learning, growing, becoming Sooper (super with room for more growth).

Hope to catch you again on the air.  www.ex-patradio.com

Cover image by John Hult from Unsplash.
SoSooper 3rd place HBS NVC

SoSooper did super in Harvard Business School New Venture Competition

SoSooper was honored to be selected finalist in the Harvard Business School New Venture Competition for Europe & Israel.

For this global entrepreneurial contest open to HBS alumni, our zone was the most competitive:  there were 26 contestants for 5 finalist spots to pitch to a jury and close to 100 investors.  I had almost not submitted our application because we are just launching our prototype and most companies would already be generating revenues.

SoSooper was invited among the pitchers!

We had 8 minutes to share our story, our value, our success, and our dreams.  Followed by 6 minutes of questions from judges and the crowd…mostly grey-suited men sprinkled with a dozen women.  The ideal audience for a parenting app?!

 

Harvard Business School New Venture Competition Europe
HBS NVC jury and contestants in Paris.

What a THRILL to defend my passion and to present a business plan that benefits parents, parenting professionals, and investors.

SoSooper came in 3rd place…quite awesome considering that we were the only company without a commercialized product and without revenues.  It means these seasoned business folk wish us

prosperity

courage

&

luck!

 

Click here to view the official report.

Harvard Business School New Venture Competition

SoSooper is a finalist in Harvard Business School NVC Europe

Sooper Exciting News

Our mobile app for parents has been selected as a finalist in the Harvard Business School New Venture Competition Europe!  There were 26 contestants for 5 places.  We made the cut!

We will be pitching to 100+ business folk about being the best parent we can be.

We are honored to be present, knowing that the discussion will cover both business issues (how will we generate income) as well a matters touching our ingrained beliefs:

  • Are “good parents” born or can leadership in our homes be learned?
  • How to accompany parents AND allow freedom to create their own, unique family culture?

As my sister says, “Exciting, invigorating, intimidating, energizing, challenging, exhilarating.”

Many thanks to all who support me so well.

SoSooper is finalist for HBS NVC
European finalists for 2017 HBS NVC Europe

The Story behind SoSooper

A Mom in Need

As a young mom seeking help to manage four boys under seven years old I wondered:

“Folk can go to a bank or a financial counselor and expose very private information regarding money and request advice and this is conisdered intelligent.

Those same people seek advice regarding relationships…and they have a problem.

Humm. I hope someone will do something to remedy this discrepancy.”

And, today, maybe that someone is…me.

Insights from Cosmetics

When I worked in cosmetics, one brand introduced beauty advice on an iPad.  Customers appreciated the anonimity of these tools.

They found it more pleasant to admit skin problems to a machine than to a  made-up beauty who agrees you have blackheads on your nose!

Might the same be true with personal issues?

A New Child

SoSooper, my fifth child, is born. This mobile app helps parents navigate – positively and quickly – challenges with kids.

  • Provides parents with solutions for their Need. NOW.
  • Connects parents with parenting experts and other moms and dads like them
  • Is available on their phone.  Anytime & anywhere.

Read more.

Denise Dampierre on the radio

Positive Discipline Interview on Frequence Protestante radio

What an honor to be invited for the one hour interview on Radio Fréquence Protestante.  The journalist, Anne-Marie Delaugère, attended one of our Positive Discipline Parent classes and spoke with some of the participants:

Ducem – a Turkish woman in an inter-cultural marriage and the mother of a 2 year old

Ester – a single mother of a 5 year old

Laura – a British mother of 3 children who discovered Positive Discipline through her children’s school.

The interview explores

  • Positive Discipline, a research-based parenting approach to building respectful and collaborative relationships, and
  • SoSooper, the mobile app which provides parenting tips for parents’ need now and connects parents with parenting coaches.  We are launching the prototype next month!

Listen to the interview (in French) here.

And here we are having left the studio and grinning in the Parisian winter sun.

Ladies from radio show on Frequence Protestante
Grinning after a great radio show. A Vuillaume, D Dampierre (middle), and journalist A-M Delaugère (right)