Cheri J. Najor, MSW, CSW, has spent the last 25 years helping top corporate and military leaders and executives create powerful mindsets to better lead, have healthier relationships, and achieve extraordinary results as a top trainer of Emotional Intelligence and communication skills through The Center for Peak Performance (https://cntrforpeakperformance.com). Thanks to mutual friend and future Exploring Possibilities guest David Boufford, Cheri, also a Licensed Family Therapist, joins us as Michael’s Mom to share with host Sheryl Sitts, MPA, BA, Possibilities Facilitator and Holistic Practitioner (http://www.sherylsitts.com):
- How she manages to raise a healthy, well-adjusted young man without ever telling him “no”? She goes into some of the more important dynamics to her such as giving a child credit, not using negative words like “no” or “you can’t” that only make them want to do the opposite, why “no” is not beneficial for children or parents, and a healthier approach to being authoritarian and using the dynamics of “power over”, also avoiding creating an atmosphere of verbal abuse, shaming and blaming. Instead, Cheri focuses on life choices and consequences to empower her son.
- For examples, Sheryl asks Cheri to share a couple of stories that help us visualize how this different style of parenting looks and sounds. In the 3rd grade, her son refused to write a report. She told him he did not have to and then explained how he might have to retake the 3rd grade and that he’d be the tallest person in the class, etc. She empowered him to make the choice and assured him she would support him. He later returned crying saying he needed help using the computer. Cheri helped him connect his decision with consequences rather than being aggressive. She speaks about the importance of respect.
- Cheri speaks about how her son is his own leader, learning how to make wise choices and learning about the results of those. She shares that once he lied about how his mobile phone was broken and she explained she supports him and would call the police. He then revealed he had lied and she goes into details about how the trust was now broken between them and it would take time to rebuild. He worked very hard to do this.
- Sheryl asked how she knows her son is now a well-adjusted young adult and not a “spoiled” child? Cheri explains how well he connects with his peers and that other adults tell her he is compassionate, socially aware, and other qualities of integrity.
- Cheri speaks about emotional intelligence and reiterates that she wanted to raise a man of high moral character who is good at relating with himself and others. She is very proud of him and their relationship.
- When asked where we can start to learn better ways of relating to our children that don’t involve shame, blame, physical punishment, etc., Cheri began with a course by the same name as their book Parent Talk Essentials by Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller that taught her how to talk to children so they will listen. She also recommends The Conscious Parent by Dr. Shefali Tsabary, and any book on consequences.
- Hands are for hugging, not hitting. The verbal approach works better with children and prepares them for life in the real world, building their relational skills. This also develops a life-long approach to parenting that is evolutionary, not founded in punishment or alienation.
- Preparing children for responsibility by teaching them this is the pathway to freedom and privileges. Her son was in charge of his own freedom, so he decided to be more responsible.
- Sheryl shares how she excelled academically as a way to get out of school and the house as soon as possible, barely learning how to drive before she graduated and left home at 16. She explains that is why Cheri’s parenting style spoke to her heart and she wanted to share with listeners.
- Cheri explains that she has so many books and went this direction because she didn’t know how to do it better, either, but she was determined to do so.
- Respect, according to Sheryl, begins with the self, and we must have it for ourselves before we can have it for our children. To this Cheri responses that she saw her son as sacred and always wants to support him in being the best he can be.
- They discuss the importance of being able to apologize to your child when you get it wrong. This is also important for adults! It is easy to see why Cheri trains leaders…much the same way she parents!
…all of this and much more!
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