Our favorite activity about family for a SoSooper New Year!

The Family Feedback

One of our most precious family moments comes after Christmas.  That’s when we share what each person does well and how we can be even stronger as an individual and as a family.

We” means the kids start with the feedback and Mom & Dad L.I.S.T.E.N.

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The structured process keeps discussion positive.  Each child gets to share:
ONE THING that Mom or Dad do that they love (and want them to keep doing)
– ONE THING that would hugely improve family life for them.  Parents listen.  

You might be surprised by the suggestions!  It might be a no-brainer “YES.”  (My son asked, “No more lemon cake.”)  Other requests could merit deeper discussion.  (“More screen time.”  “No veggies.”)  Talk it over while everyone is calm and together. 

We tried The Family Feedback

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with teens

Boys grow up

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with kids

parents listening to child

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with tots

listen-mom-son

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Download Free Tools

SoSooper prepared some worksheets for you:

  • to prepare
  • to succeed
  • to remember

Click here to get your free downloads.

Ask questions & Tell us how it went

We’d love to hear from you.  Give us YOUR feedback too!

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The Family Feedback with little children

How much can your young child tell you about YOUR job as a parent?

Quite a lot.

By listening you share encouraging words for your kids.

The Family Feedback with tots

The Family Feedback is ONE GREAT FAMILY TIME where kids give feedback to parents. They start with the good stuff 🙂 and move onto deeper discussion.  Read more here.

For very young kids, we stick to sharing family highlights.  

You want your kids to associate “family” with “fun”?  Then ask them to tell you about a fun time with Mom or Dad.  This strengthens the neural messaging in their brains so that they can more easily access memories of great times as a family.  

Our brain is amazing…and malleable.

Ask, “Tell me about a time you felt really happy with us.”

“When we played ball together.”

Help your child fully recall with the experience through specific and factual questions.

“What color was our ball?” “Was it before or after lunch?” “Who else was playing with us?”

Then gently probe for what generated the positive emotions.

“What was soooooo great?” “Which part made you feel the most special?”  “What did you do to show you were happy?”

Thank your child.  

“Your telling me when you were happy makes me very happy too.  Thanks, Darling.”

We tried it & loved it

Here’s what one mother shared after a SoSooper workshop where she and her three year old daughter enjoyed such a conversation:

“My daughter was probably a little bit young (only 3) and I think was struggling to really engage with the activities. However, even though she dealt with it on her level, I think she still got a lot out of the experience – and found it nice that it was a time where mummy was ready to listen to her and find out what she found fun and loving about being in our family.

This workshop reminded me that we do all right as a family (eating together, playing together, respecting each other). As I’m sure you know only too well – it’s a tricky job, mummying, and can seem very unrewarding sometimes. If I were a business, (actually I’m a secondary school teacher) I wouldn’t put up with clients who were so demanding and so seemingly ungrateful for all my efforts. I think what you’re doing is so important – just like in any job, you have training for that ‘shot in the arm’ of enthusiasm and clarity to do your job better every day. Parents need that more than anyone!”

Download Free Tools

SoSooper prepared some worksheets for you:

  • to prepare
  • to succeed
  • to remember

Click here to get your free downloads.

12 + 1 Gifts to build respect and collaboration at home

‘Tis the season to be jolly.  Home sure is more fun when kids (of all ages) act their best.   

Speaking respectfully.

Seeking solutions (vs. blame).

Giving a helping hand… Continue reading “12 + 1 Gifts to build respect and collaboration at home”

Family Feedback from Kids

Do you know what your kids LOVE about your family?  When did you last ask and really listen?

How about the ONE THING that would hugely improve family life for them?

We often get their feedback through passing comments like:

“Thanks for the cookie.”  (aaah!)

“Brush teeth?  I did it….yesterday.”  (huh?)

“Dad, you just don’t get it.”  (ouch…)

These tidbits contribute to your relationship in tiny bits.  Kids’ Family Feedback creates the time and the conditions for positive give and take.

Parents will learn

  • ONE GREAT BEHAVIOR:  what each child thinks you do well and wants you to keep doing
  • ONE BEHAVIOR TO TWEAK: what bothers them, why that is important, and what they wish would happen instead

Kids THRIVE on being heard.  They get center stage with a mission to make family be its best.  It’s a responsibility.  The SOSOOPER online seminar helps them live up to it and coaches them in giving feeback respectfully and positively.

What you gain

  • Proof that kids know your weaknesses AND love you still
  • Clarification of the life-skills your kids want you to model for them.  Phew.  You need not be perfect everywhere simultaneously!
  • Increased trust as children hear you listen attentively.
  • Practical solutions to family challenges
  • Great memories that Home is indeed Sweet Home

What is it?

It’s ½ hour of time well spent.  Transform weeks of nagging about school work into succinct responsibility-building reminders to help kids be motivated to do their best.

With whom? How?  When? How much?

Our online seminars are for parents AND their children.  These facilitated family discussions are led by Denise Dampierre, founder and CEO of SoSooper Families.

  • Join a group online seminar. See our Calendar for upcoming dates.  Participation is $20 per family.
  • Schedule an online seminar just for your family. Send your request and date preferences.  We’ll work it out.  Personalized seminars run $40 per ½ hour.

Sign up for our Family Feedback from Kids online seminar to help family grow and thrive.

Cooking Fun with Kids – 5. Beat to the Beat

We’re continuing the seven part series on Whacky Cooking Techniques that transform a chore into a game.

  • Your meals will taste deliciouscomme d’habitude (just as usual)
  • Your memories will turn out absolutely divine

Once you’ve tried our hilarious cooking-with-kids tips, you’ll be hungry for our cleaning up ones too!  Continue reading “Cooking Fun with Kids – 5. Beat to the Beat”

Cooking Fun with Kids – 4. Kneed with a Squeeze

We’re continuing the seven part series on Whacky Cooking Techniques that transform a chore into a game.

  • Your meals will taste deliciouscomme d’habitude (just as usual)
  • Your memories will turn out absolutely divine

Once you’ve tried our hilarious cooking-with-kids tips, you’ll be hungry for our cleaning up ones too! (Read more)

Knead with Squeeze

We make home-made pizzas so that we can knead the dough…by playing catch.

Playing with food is usually a “no-no” chez nous (in our home), but we make an exception when kneading dough.

Play as a team and toss the dough to each other across a table, With each catch, give the dough an extra squeeze. Play for at least five minutes.

Cleanliness Tips: clean the floor beforehand :-), and give bonus points for keeping the “ball” from dropping.

Best kinds of recipes for this technique:

Pizza dough…add pizzaz to your regular recipe by including spices or condiments: tomato pizza dough (replace water with tomato juice), curry pizza dough (add curry powder), barbecue pizza dough (blend in barbecue sauce), “herbes de provence” pizza dough…

Great EVENTS for this technique:  Birthday parties, when the neighbors come over, communal events….

Boys kneeding dough playing catch
Kids kneeding / pounding dough
Pizza-dough-kneeding_1
Love our yummy tips for fun?  Click here to continue on our Wacky Cooking Technique Tour.

Good news.  We ALSO have a Crazy Fun Clean Up Time Adventure!  Click here.

Family Feedback Peek-a-boo—2

Family Feedback over mealWe’re on a roll with the Family Feedback.  Our eldest son has given and received his insights (read here) for the Family Feedback.  We’re sitting around the dinner table and our third son is next to him.

Perfecting Process

(In a teensy bit of a controlling style) I turn to our second eldest son.

Mom:  “What is your feedback for me?”

Purposefully, I did NOT ask, “Do you have____?”  Our purpose with this discussion is to create an environment where our children voice a compliment and a concern.  We’re going beyond “Yes” and “No” mutterings.  (Read here for Family Feedback How To’s and free download)

Son 2:  “Oh, we’re going this way?  By age?”

Mom, interpreting the question as a gentle invitation to allow the kids to take the lead:  “We don’t have to. Who wants to go next?”

The Run Down

Son 3 pipes up, “I’ll go.  Mom, you have been nice about getting special school supplies for me.  Sometimes I’ve run out of _______ or needed a specific book or _______ and it meant going to a specialty store to find it.  I appreciate your effort.  Thanks.”

Mom smiles…lips and eyes.

Son:  “And Mom, you have GOT TO BE more flexible with my going out at night.  I don’t want to have to give you a fixed phone number AND address AND friends’ names AND time I come home before you let me go out.”

Older brothers:  “Aaagh, we hated that too!”  “Now it’s your turn!”

Mom:  “Do you know why I ask for those?”

Son:  “Yeah, my older brothers messed up so now you’re tough on me.”

Mom repeats:  “Do you know why I ask those things?”

Son 3 grunts.

Mom:  “When you give your friend’s mobile number, they don’t answer.  There have been times when we found out that you boys were not where you said you were, so I like to have a number to call just in case.”

Son:  “The phone number is the worst thing.”

Mom:  “We had dinner with friends last night who, for sleepovers, systematically call beforehand to check that their sons are expected.”

Son 3:  “Don’t do that!”

Mom:  “And I ask about where they are and getting home so that you can work out public transportation and return on time.  ‘I missed the last train’ is not a valid excuse for being late…”

Dad:  “STOP the bickering!”

Brothers:  “Yeah, work this out the two of you.”

Mom:  “OK, honey.  Make me a proposal for a different way to get permission to go out.  Let’s talk more over something concrete.

My turn?”

Family Feedback over mealBrothers:  “Yeah, let’s move on.”

Mom:  “You have shown us your ability to be responsible. Admittedly your teachers are writing that you are insolent in class 🙁 and lacking in maturity. Yet over this vacation and through your job (as a high school freshman, he’s tutoring a French boy in English) you have demonstrated to us your leadership skills, positive initiatives, and commitment to completing your responsibilities well.  When you want to, you excel in maturity.

Here is what you can change. Have an optimistic view of you and your future.

You state these outlandish goals for yourself:  king of the world! You know these are unattainable (undesirable?) and I wonder if you say these things out of lack of confidence?…I don’t know.  No one expects you to reach them, so no one will consider you a failure if you don’t.

(“Pass the cheese, please,” someone requests…and we keep talking.)

What you can change is to think of how you can be a success…you choose the realm.  You are WAY MORE LIKELY to fulfill your dreams one step at a time than through a miraculous leap.   Break down your mega-perfectionist goals into smaller tasks…and you might even surprise yourself by how much you accomplish…and then you’ll have the courage to really dream big AND realistic.”

Son:  “Yeah…”

Mom:  “You have soooo much potential, darling.  You know that, don’t you?”

Son:  “I know.”

Brothers:  “Let’s pick up the rhythm.  Next!”

No room for mommy sentimentality!

NEXT SON…

 

In this series:  Family Feedback Peek-a-boo

Enjoy the whole shebang!

  1. To Mom, be clear.  To child, be humble.
  2. To Mom, be flexible.  To child, go step by step.
  3. To Mom, stop being a fashion victim.  To child, think before you speak.
  4. To Mom, be generous.  To child, learn through a job.

Family Feedback How To’s

Family Feedback Peek-a-boo—To Mom, stop being a fashion victim. To child, think before you speak






Family Feedback over meal

Two of our sons have already given (to parent) and received (from Mom) feedback about what each does well and should continue doing, and about one behavior to consider changing. (Catch the beginning of the discussion here).

Business Continues As Usual

We’re at the dinner table, getting close to dessert time, and it’s the turn of youngest of four sons.   The meal keeps on flowing throughout the exchange.

Mom:  “Darling, what would you like to tell me about what I do well and what I should think about changing?”

Son (12 years old):  “Well, like, you know…”

Brothers:  “No we don’t.  Be specific.”  It’s said with both a touch of impatience and sense of humor.

The Run Down

Son:  “Well, like, you’re more flexible…”

Mom:  “Flexible seems to be a key theme tonight…or last year!  What do you mean, exactly?”

Son, after some more humming and hawing and searching for words and being teased by his siblings:“It’s like you can laugh more at yourself. “

Mom:  “Thank you.  And what about something where you want to see me change?”

Son:  “Well, like, you know…”

Brothers:  “No.  We don’t.  Move on.”

Mom:  “I’ll give you some feedback about what you do really well.  I’m so impressed by your insights into people.  Sometimes you’ll come home from school and describe a situation and comment about how that reveals the person’s character.  Wow.  You are making connections between what people think and how they behave.  It’s impressive.”

Son:  Shy smile.

Mom, quickly so that the older ones don’t break the positive momentum with a questionable comment: “What you can do to change is to think before you speak.”

Guffaws in agreement from the boys.

“Sometimes you call my name, I answer, and you reply, ‘Nothing.’   It doesn’t happen just once…and we’ve already talked about it and you’re better not doing this as often.  Yet now, you regularly react to your brothers by insulting them slightly.  Not surprisingly, they respond.  Then you reply, ‘Just joking.’”

Boys:  “Yeah, you do it all the time… It sounds stupid.  Either mean what you say or don’t.  Dig, dude?”

Mom, talking right at Son 4 without paying attention to the siblings:  “You don’t have to defend yourself, darling.  If you think before you speak, you’ll avoid many slippery slopes.”

Dessert time = Hungry for closing time.  Read here for our final exchange on the 2013 Family Annual Review.

AND YET…

My youngest son and I had not finished this conversation.  So, the next afternoon, when the older boys were not around, I approached him again.

Mom:  “I did not quite understand your feedback yesterday.  Could you please tell me again what I do well and what I should think about changing?”

Son:  “Mom, you are more flexible now.  Before you used to be too intense.  Now you can laugh at yourself.”

Mom:  “Can you give me an example?”

Son:  “Remember when (and he recalled a time when a friend of his described me as the ‘old lady’) Well, I remember not being embarrassed because you did not lecture him.  (Was I THAT bad?!)  Instead you laughed.”

Mom:  “Thanks, darling.  Now, what should I think about changing?”

Son 4:  “Don’t be such a fashion victim.”

Mom:  “ME!”  (Are you kidding? My humble self thinks, “I make fashion; I don’t follow it.”) “Please, give me an example.”

Son:  “Your nails.  Stop wearing blue and green nail polish.  (This past spring and summer, I adorned my fingertips in turquoise and spring green.  In early fall, I opted for navy on my hands and a deep green metallic hue on the toes.)

“It’s just not you, Mom.”  (When the kids were small, manicures were UNIMAGINABLE.  I barely got to shave one leg at a time. So, this nail craze is new.)

Mom:  “Thanks for letting me know.  I see what you mean. I’ll think about it.”

I probably will give it up…and present him with my orange fingertips telling him how I hesitated on the purple and pink stripes but followed his advice instead.

Little bother for me.  ‘Lotta meaning for him.

Surprise party for mom

NEXT SON…

In this series:  Family Annual Review Peek-a-boo

Enjoy the whole shebang!

  1. To Mom, be clear.  To child, be humble.
  2. To Mom, be flexible.  To child, go step by step.
  3. To Mom, stop being a fashion victim.  To child, think before you speak.
  4. To Mom, be generous.  To child, learn through a job.

Family Annual Review How To’s

Family Feedback Peek-a-boo—To Mom, be more generous. To child, learn through a job.

We are coming to a close of our Family Feedback of 2013. One son remains to give and receive his feedback with his parents.  This is the fourth in the series of posts to give you a glimpse into one our most precious and powerful family moments.

Click here for our How To’s.

Read on to learn how my son told me to be more generous and I encouraged him to grow by working simple jobs of manual labor or service.

We are seated at the dinner table and the boys chose to go around in the order of seating. It’s our second son who finally got the floor.

Son (17 years):  “Mom, what I really appreciate is your flexibility with letting me spend time (like the night) with my girlfriend.”

This is a very delicate issue between us because his behavior is in contradiction with my values.  Yet, you see, my job as a parent is to provide him with an education and to present him with a set of values.  He graduated from high school this summer and now lives out of our home.  My role as a mother has evolved now:   to allow my son to fly with his own wings.   I did my BEST while he was under our roof.   It is his life, not mine.  I have made mistakes and learned some of my best lessons from them. He too will blunder.  He might choose some or none of my values for his life.  He will live with the consequences of those choices.

With regards to my life and beliefs, I try to follow Jesus Christ.   Try.  Because invariably I fail. But  Jesus loves me.  Still.  So, if I follow Christ, I am to love.  Still.  And loving my son now means to be “less of me and more of him.”

Mom:  “I’m glad you appreciate it.”

Son: “I really don’t have a way where you could change…”

This is our son who has complained and COMPLAINED about …everything and anything.  He’s an expert at finding faults (and over the years he’s also learned to identify and encourage others’ strengths).

Son: “…ah yes.  You didn’t do it this year for Christmas, but sometimes you offer people the gifts you would like to receive.”

Mom:  “What do you mean, exactly?”

Son: “Last year you gave everyone kitchen tools.  The ceramic knife, the knife holder, the latest fashion cookbook…you used them all.”

Embarrassingly, this is all true!

Mom:  “I see (all too clearly) what you mean.”

Son:  “Ok, what about me?”

Mom: “What you have done excellently last year is master your schoolwork.  You graduated with honors. Intelligence contributes to these results, but you also worked for those grades.  You exhibited discipline and determination…along with balance in your social and spiritual dimensions of life.  And it was not just last year.  This year your academic demands are even heftier and you’re at the top of your class and keeping up with a life.”

Dad:  “You’re ranked N°1 in your class?”

Son: “Didn’t you know?”

Banter between son and father where the younger bull gets to show off his size and the senior one grunts his consent.

Mom:  “And what you could do to change is considering getting a job.  Try working for money.  The jobs you’ll have at your age are mostly entry level manual labor or service positions.  It’s a good thing to know first-hand the value of sweat and smile.”

Son: “I’ve thought of that.  But you see, I don’t feel the neeeeeed to work yet.  (oh, oh!)  I work at school and then deserve a vacation.  I can afford not to work now.”

Mom:You can afford it?  Who’s paying for your time off?  Until when?  Why?

Now that you have more of the privileges of adulthood, isn’t time that you also take on more of those responsibilities too?”

Quiet.

Mom:  “Aagh!  It’s tough when you want to eat your cake and keep it too!” (In French we say, ‘To have the butter and the money for the butter.’ ‘Avoir le beurre et l’argent du beurre.’)

We can all relate…and smile.

Dad: “Are we finished with the analysis and mutual-flagellation?”

Everyone:  “Poooooor Dad!”  “If it were THAT bad, why did you stay with us?” “Yes, dear ”

Mom: “Everyone clear his plate and takes at least one other thing back to the kitchen!”

Thus closed the evening meal and the Family Annual Review.

Our comments now hang in our Frame of Fame…where they’ll stay several weeks and re-appear from time to time over the year…as the need to be humble, be generous, think before speaking, advance step-by-step, or dress one’s age arises.

In this series:  Family Annual Review Peek-a-boo

Enjoy the whole shebang!

  1. To Mom, be clear.  To child, be humble.
  2. To Mom, be flexible.  To child, go step by step.
  3. To Mom, stop being a fashion victim.  To child, think before you speak.
  4. To Mom, be generous.  To child, learn through a job.

Family Annual Review How To’s