You are
not alone.

We all have questions as parents. Revive Family offers parents’ insights in our blogs and videos illuminating issues we all face as parents offering powerful principles that change hearts.



You are
not alone.

We all have questions as parents. Revive Family offers parents’ insights in our blogs and videos illuminating issues we all face as parents offering powerful principles that change hearts.


On its surface the statement “you need to earn my trust” is believed and considered sound.  But how does it work in practicality?

I subscribed to this philosophy in all my relationships, including those with my kids.  Then I sat and talked with over 3,000 kids and began to understand their point of view. Through my research and coaching of parents and adolescents I found that the phrase “you need to earn my trust” was negatively impacting the parent child relationship. Read More →

One of the reasons our kids’ emotions can be often set off like fireworks stems from an inability to discern their feelings. This inability is something I see a great deal in coaching and see also an area where we as parents can come along side our kids to help them comprehend and guide there emotions.

When strong emotions hit that are not identified and communicated, kids quickly learn to cope by shutting them down or venting in anger.  As I talk with them, they are unable to tell me what feelings they were experiencing when specific events occurred. They tend to answer, “it does not matter” (then shutdown) or “I was angry.”

It is essential that we help our kids understand themselves.

To help accomplish this we as parents need to:

  1. Curb our frustrations
  2. Move past taking the things are kids are saying and doing personally

By reacting, scolding, or lecturing our kids we increase the likelihood that they will begin to tune us out, shutdown or blow up.  We miss the opportunity to help them develop vital skills for deep relationships.

Helping our kids understand and communicate their feelings honestly is a crucial skill.  

They need to be able to:

  1. Understand
  2. Accept
  3. Respond

The skills above can enable our kids as a person as well as when they are engaging with other people to realize what to do with their emotions. In my coaching I have found that skill is lacking in many marriages because our parents did not help us learn to discern and share our feelings in a productive manner.

When I am working with kids who cannot discern their feelings I find it helps when I list multiple potential feelings they could have felt given the situation we are discussing.

I share a short list of potential feelings. Examples like:

  1. Hurt
  2. Alone
  3. Misunderstood
  4. Not believed

This often helps them begin to share a feeling or two that pertains to that situation.

As parents we can do the same.  When we see our kid retreating, shutting down or becoming frustrated, we need to let them know it is ok.  It is part of growing up. Share with them that it is important for them to begin to understand and share their feelings because it will help you better understand them. It will also enable them to sort out their feelings and often find a solution.

If they struggle at identifying and sharing their feelings with you, ask them why?  They may believe from past interactions that they will not be heard, understood or that their feelings will be denied.   Read the The Paradigm of Wisdom vs. Perspective blog for more insights.  Assure them that you want to handle things differently and that you will listen and not correct their feelings.  Then ask if you can share some possible feelings they may be experiencing that will help them begin to discern the difference between:

  1. Hurt
  2. Pain
  3. Sadness
  4. Anger
  5. More subtle things that can lead to anger like feeling dismissed, not trusted or valued

This skill will pay huge dividends in our homes and help them identify and make better decisions with friends and relationships they enter in the future.

Would we like more help to see how to be there for our kids emotions? Yes. Please join us on our website for a free webinar on Influential Parenting so we all can be there for each other.


Nine out of ten kids, whom I have had the privilege of coaching, feared or were hesitant on sharing their feelings or attempting to bring up issues/hurts with their parents.  This inability to address feelings, hurts, and issues contributed heavily to their hiding out in their rooms and also their explosiveness with their parents, as they grew older. Read More →

Unresolved issues are one of the leading factors that cause kids to react like the 4th of July; a period of calm is followed by a spectacular reaction triggered by what seems to be very small sparks.

When we see such explosive behavior in our kids, it is natural for us to think that they are just trying to get their way.  What about our kids are doing something they should not be doing or are being ridiculous because what was said or done is so minor in comparison to their response?

Parent/Kid Disconnect

After 12 years of talking with kids about their lives, decisions and direction, one thing is crystal clear. The vast majority of kids fear bringing up their frustrations, issues or hurts with their parents.  They are convinced their parents will be defensive, overreact or dismiss their perspective altogether.

As a result many kids carry with in them a growing list of issues/hurts with their parents.  As they hold this hurt within, each area of hurt develops into figurative fireworks just waiting to be ignited.  When our kids are in this position, it does not take much to light their fuse. Read More →

Kids emotions are even more confusing as they approach and enter the changes of the adolescent brain.  By age nine many of our kids will be in the midst of this. We as parents, thankfully, are able to help them navigate through this challenging change.

The process in the adolescent brain begins eighteen months prior to the age of maturity. When this occurs the hormones that lead to the maturity are released resulting in further brain development in the back lobes of our kids’ brains.  As a result, the electrical activity actually decreases in the front lobe of the brain where emotional regulation resides.

Kids that seemed fairly well balanced become more sensitive and small things result in large emotional responses.  This is the reason our kids become more opposition and can argue with us even when they know they are wrong intellectually.   Their emotions can trump reason.

If they were already negative about themselves, struggling with motivation or carrying hurt inside even small things that touch those feelings can lead to disproportionate and often angry responses.  

When these things occur it is natural for us to:

  • Tell them their behavior is wrong
  • Push back against the unreasonable reaction
  • Attempt to make this ridiculous behavior stop by inflicting consequences
  • Use logic to show them that their reaction is disproportionate to the situation

Given my time coaching adolescents I find that these responses leave kids’ feeling like they are not understood or listened to and that their feelings are wrong.  The outcome of these tactics is twofold, growing distance in their relationships and kids who believe there is something wrong with them. There is nothing wrong with them, it is a natural outcome of the development occurring in their brains. The problem is that they do not know this and often feel powerless to change the negative outcomes their responses and behavior cause with their parents. They doubt themselves and store more hurt inside.

This is why the traditional approach to parenting breaks down.  Consequences will not alter the reality of brain development. They do not help them understand or believe in themselves but have the opposite effect.

So what are we to do?  According to all the research kids learn better through independence in this time frame.  It makes sense when we understand that they will push back against us when their emotions are triggered even if they know we are right.  Consequences will lead to even greater distance and push back!

While difficult and counter intuitive, we need to hold our tongues and answers concerning their behavior and give them time to calm down when their emotions are triggered. Then we need to ask them a progression of questions that help them feel heard and understood before moving into self-reflective questions.

Questions like:

  • What has you so frustrated or upset with me?
  • What/how are you feeling inside?
  • Are there other things going on that have you hurt or frustrated?
  • Are you struggling to ………?
  • How do you feel about yourself?
  • What do you think you should do in this situation?

Why does this approach work?  It allows their feelings to come out without judgment or correction and therefore does not add to the pile of emotions that trigger their oppositional nature.

When using this approach with my own kids and the kids that I coach, I find that they almost always come to the correct conclusion because questions help them vent the emotion and access the front lobe of the their brain where decision making and consequence evaluation reside.

For them to share their emotions they need to believe you will listen and not lecture or correct their feelings.  Their feelings are real and there is no sense in taking them on. The key is getting them through the emotions so that they can process them and make decisions that are not dictated by their emotions or their oppositional responses that cause them to move in the opposite direction we desire.

Would you to like to learn more on how your kids’ feelings relate to the growth of the brain? Please take advantage of our free webinar on Influential Parenting.

Kids with negative core values have heightened emotional reactions.  When this is the case, what appear to be minor events or things we say can result in strong reactions such as fits, tears, anger and withdrawal.

When coaching families across the country, I find negative core values play a significant role in virtually every family.  While the term core value is used in several ways, I am referring to the deeply held beliefs we adopt about ourselves in our childhood.  These beliefs can be:

    • Positive: we believe more positive things about ourselves deep within than negative.
    • Negative: we believe more negative things about ourselves deep within than positive.

Read More →

To help see the process of helping our kids feel safer we will have to walk through some hard to face facts first.  Read with me through the whole process, we will have the light shining bright on us before the end.

As a young father of two girls the fear I had was a powerful motivator to protect them.  As I train and coach families across the country I find higher levels of fear than when we started our parenting journey 20 years ago.  My fear caused me to make some major mistakes with my oldest daughter. It took several years to overcome them in our relationship and longer for her to begin to develop self-confidence in her amazing gifts, abilities, and potential. Read More →

Kids that morph, alter who they are in their relationships to be accepted.  One simple example would be a young man or lady who alters what she likes, does or thinks to be accepted by the person they are dating.  As I coach families I am finding many parents who look back and say, “I morphed,” some with painful outcomes.

When we change ourselves to enter relationships it sets the relationship up to fail because eventually we will move back towards whom we truly are and what we like because it is consistent with how we are wired. When this occurs, the person the significant other fell in love with gradually disappears leaving the real relationship on shaky ground.  If both parties are morphing to make a relationship work, they may wake up one day and feel like they do not really know the person they are with. Read More →

Our daughter is amazing, that’s it, plane and simply amazing!  Most of her friends are mature like she is and the group of friends she has are good kids, with good values, and are keeping each other on track.  She’s responsible, planning her future. We don’t track her on GPS (yes, you read that right), we don’t snoop through her phone (not a spy sorry, well not sorry) and social media accounts, we don’t snoop through her room (if we did, she should be able to snoop through ours, or is that overboard). I know you’re thinking “what!”  you have to do those things to keep her safe and out of trouble.  No we don’t and she is safe and out of trouble.

We work with natural consequences now.  So if she does not go to practice she will likely sit on the bench for most of the game, if she does not turn in her homework she will get a bad grade, if she does not move the laundry she will have wet clothes etc… Read More →

Influential Parenting to the rescue, like a superhero!  Here’s where our real transformation started So back to Jeff(founder of Revive Family), a few more months went by and another conference we missed, but this time, Jeff gave us a set of the parenting audio series (he saw the train wreck we were, chugga chugga choo choo!). This was a thank you for the many many MANY volunteer (yes that means for free) hours that I had worked for the organization and the conferences (worth it!).  So, instead of listening to the CD’s we thanked him by waiting an additional 9 months…. (can you hear my head hit the table in total embarrassment, I can). So, finally we listened to the audio CD’s (alleluia, can you hear the angels singing!) on our way to pick up my step- sons for a weekend with them (one of two weekends a month we got with them and at times it was only one weekend a month).  We listened intently and listened again and again to the sessions. Read More →