You and I find what we seek.

What if we’re looking for the wrong things?!

We sure looked hard for the right signs during the journey along the Camino Trail from Notre Dame in Paris to Chartres Cathedral.  Discover how this also relates to parenting.


Eight of us set out for this 100 km hike over five days.  We held high expectations…without really knowing what to expect.  Sounds a little like parenting too!

We did know what to look for: the blue and yellow symbol of a shell which led us to Chartres Cathedral.  Step. By. Step.

Chartre Cathedral and pilgrims
We made it…following the blue & yellow signs.

Following the Signs

We came across loads of other signs along the way too, including

Restaurants – Tourist attractions – Highways – Danger of Death (!) – Rain ahead (dark clouds in the sky) – …

Dampierre town, namesake
“Wrong” sign. Did they name the town for me?! (My family name is Dampierre)… Still miles to go to Chartres.

All of these indications were true and real.

Only some of them lead to the desired destination.

When it way my turn to head the group, I kept a close watch for the blue and yellow markers.  We had (barely) enough energy to get to our destination.  Getting lost or sidetracked were not options.

Follow the Yellow (and Blue) brick road.


Signs for Parents

What do you and I look for in our kids?

Do these indicators enable our children to have a wonderful life and make a living?

Are these the pointers that make parenting easier and more fun?

In my parenting classes I hear two general messages from parents:

  1. I want the kids to be happy
  2. I wish they behaved differently (!)


Parents Desire Signs for Happiness…

As we uncover these desires, parents agree that happy kids espouse positive attitudes and acquire social and emotional skills.

How do children learn these?  Like everything else.  Either they learn it right the first time or they have to re-learn.  And that often requires correction.  Parents in my coaching call this “policing” – (verb) the need to check that kids’ undesirable behavior is not being done! 

And it’s NO FUN.


…YET Mom & Dad are On-the-Lookout for Trouble

Much of family change management (a sophisticated term for parental discipline) is focused on fixing what’s broke.  We look for the problems and then solve them.

We look for problems!


It’s a revolutionary paradigm shift!

We begin to look for different signs.


Instead of focusing on the child's problems, why not seek out his potential strengths. Revolutionary paradigm shift. Click to Tweet
Check out these examples:

(This inclusive, strength-based approach is called Appreciative Inquiry and was developped by David Cooperrider at Case-Western University.  Here is a story-telling video by Jackie Kelm, author of Appreciative Living, which clearly describes the inspiring principle.  Appreciative Inquiry works in groups as large as the US Army and as intimate as your and my family.)

The Angry Child

Problem Sign = Trantrum

Potential Strength Sign = Calming Down

What helps her calm down?  Where is your daughter most calm?
When was the last time your son was able to overcome anger?  What happened that made this possible?


The Disrespectful Child

Problem Sign = Does not listen.  Parents repeat.  Repeat. REPEAT.

Potential Strength Sign = Showing Interest

When was your daughter passionate about something?  How was your exchange:  were you a know-it-all or was she discovering answers on her own?  Did you speak in statements or through questions?


The Whining Child

It’s the season of Thanksgiving.  During family reunions, when remembering folks with gratitude, whining is a Problem Sign!

Gratitude endears both the one being grateful and those who are appreciated.


Finding YOUR Child’s Potential Strength Signs

Can we help you find the Potential Strengths Signs in your children?

Parents often come to us when they’re discouraged.  The Problem Signs tend to be the most glaringly visible and it’s hard to see anything else.

It can even be a challenge to know which qualities are most important for YOUR family.

Let us know which of these qualities is most important for you to build up in your child

Which quality is most important to build in your child?


Trying to transmit all of these SIMULTANEOUSLY is a daunting task.  So break it down into do-able tasks. 🙂

That’s where SoSooper can help you to

  1. Identify the qualities you desire to transmit to your child
  2. Identify the signs that indicate you’re going that way (or not!)
  3. Create paths to intentionally PREVENT (vs. correct) getting side-tracked or feeling lost


Talk soon.


  1. Great words of wisdom Denise. It is SO EASY to see the bad things! I’m reminded of bypassing all the “A’s” on my son’s report card and focusing on the “B.” Great reminder to look for the good!

    1. Thanks Jackie, So honored by your comment. The “B” still needs attention…and yet might there be something (behavior, attitude) from the “A” that your son (and mine!) could apply to the “B” subject to keep growing.

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