Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

Mars Venus on Gender Intelligent Communication

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

For anyone attending recent women’s business conferences or reading the latest articles devoted to the lack of women in the executive ranks, Mars Venus Coaching asks you to open your mind to the possibility of a quick, yet long-term fix to increase the status of women in the corporate world. There is an undercurrent of paranoia and frustration about why numbers are not equalizing among the sexes at the top of the leadership pyramid. These feelings of uneasiness are in response to being run ragged by constant low-grade stress. Whenever we ask people if they are familiar with the book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, there tends to be an instant lighting up of the eyes, and an intake of breath. This term coined by Dr. John Gray when he wrote his best-selling book of that title back in 1992 is now considered to be part of our society’s vernacular. Dr. John Gray has written many books relating to the Mars Venus dynamic (16 and counting). Instead of reading the research and literature, the following is a quick synopsis of why implementing this quick fix is imperative. It’s important not only for women to remain in and ascend the corporate ladder, but also to re-balance and give quality of life back to everyone in this fast-paced, high-tech world. The solution Mars Venus refers to is introducing gender intelligent communication into professional development training.

Our current expectations and assumption men and women are equal, and therefore must be treated the same is both an unrealistic expectation and an unexamined assumption. To address reality, the solution is to address the real issue, and that is the current state of men’s communication style being preferred, while disregarding how women communicate. The solution then is to teach how men and women communicate differently in workshops at work. Women are up against a brick wall when it comes to fitting into a culture that disregards their unique gender-based contributions of working and relating to others. The solution of teaching gender intelligent communication implements a culture shift at corporate to equally embrace and respect men and women’s unique gender contributions. Continuing to force women to assimilate to a male created work climate is unwise. Now we are armed with information regarding why and how it damages both our bodies (health and wellness wise) and our relationships (at work and at home).

The latest research shows how men and women’s interaction with stress is different in three ways. The first is how the chemicals in our brain respond differently to stress. The second way we’re different is we produce different stress-reducing hormones. Men reduce stress by producing testosterone, and women reduce stress by producing oxytocin. And the third is the way we reduce our stress. How we produce the stress-reducing hormone based on our gender, actually increases the other gender’s stress! The research is good to understand the why’s behind the way we behave, and more importantly why we communicate differently the way we do with one another; however, what is more germane to this discussion is the quickest way to balance men and women in the workplace. The easy answer is we do this through gender intelligent communication workshops.

The culture needs to change, and the quickest way is to train people in the ways men and women communicate differently. The first level of learning is awareness. The second level is putting it into practice. Previous solutions offered saved face. This “lip service” backfired with more misunderstanding and disgruntled employees. This solution does not promote women being promoted without hard work or merit. The companies which accept and respect women’s unique penchant for attention to detail while they incorporate everyone into the decision-making process at the same time as when they identify emotional consequences are the companies gaining recognition for success and increased quality of life for its employees and customers. This solution is not lip service, because it requires an immediate call to action to train people how to effectively communicate.

When the two different gender styles of communication are both given credit for their strengths and weaknesses, then the playing field is leveled, because our unique ways of relating to one another are understood, respected, and embraced. Changing the way we talk to one another, in essence, is the fundamental first step that has heretofore been missing. A culture shift occurs when we are able to open our hearts and minds to understand the other person’s way of communicating as being a slight variation in dialect. The modus operandi of male communication patterns or else is outdated. Running a balanced work world embracing both men and women’s unique contributions acknowledges everyone’s gifts. In turn this makes the workplace more productive and conducive to both new growth and change as the workforce assimilates cultural awareness. There will be equal numbers of men and women in and at the top in the corporate world once everyone is respected for their method of communicating. Lucky for us the by-product is lower stress levels for all. This goes a long way for our economic, health, and marriage crisis; which would be easier to handle if our relationships were open, honest, healthier, and a source of comfort both at work and at home.

Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd

Corporate Media Relations

Mars Venus Coaching



The Joy of Watering & Feeding Kids

Friday, September 30th, 2011

One of the best feelings in the world is when a child’s eyes light up in recognition and they run at you, throwing their little arms around you for a big hug and cuddle. I remember promising myself when I was about ten years old and dealing with my father’s death that I would never lose that innocence, and wonder and joy for life. John Gray’s, Ph.D., book Children Are From Heaven, reminds us how precious our responsibilities are as adults to grow and raise children to not just be resilient in life, but to thrive. So how do you curb your tongue, focus on the positive, and be in-Joy to raise the kids in your life? As a mother myself, I cherish this promise I made to myself as a young child.  It impacts everything I do and say around our child to guide and grow his spirit, rather than stamp the light out.

When it comes to raising kids, I like to remember simple, yet effective truths to keep me focused on joyfully raising kids.

Negative response attracts negative behavior.

Positive response attracts positive behavior.

Children naturally gravitate to wanting to please and cooperate. In our family we choose to use positive parenting, because we believe that the behaviors we focus on is the behavior we are teaching our children to reproduce.

If they are doing something that is not appropriate, then we re-direct and model the behavior we’d like them to do instead. We choose to motivate our children with rewards. When adults are stressed out, sometimes what comes naturally is yelling or punishing the negative behavior. If we want our children to be empathetic and logical when reacting to undesirable behaviors, then we have to model this so our actions and words are their models.  We do not use food or toys to bribe, we use words of affirmation and physical touch. When I engage with any child I immediately acknowledge and praise what they did right. We reward it by praising them with:

  • verbal affirmation,
  • a hug,
  • a smile, or
  • a high-five

The only time we use the word “no” is for dangerous situations. Such as darting into the street, touching a hot stove, or jumping into a pool without an adult in the water, etc. The less you use this word, the more powerful its effect when it’s needed in an emergency. Every adult our son has come in contact with marvels at his politeness, his manners, his ability to look people directly in the eye while talking, his ability to share, and his compassion for others. He’s not even three years old.

What this does is take the focus off of giving children consequences for negative behavior. Instead we provide consequences when they engage in positive behavior. We let them know when they’ve done a job well, when they’ve attempted to do something helpful, and when we’d like to see more of that behavior. Therefore we use positive outcomes to motivate children rather using a negative outcome.

Children are born wanting to please and cooperate with their parents. John Gray’s, Ph.D., program taps into returning the power to parents to guide children to learn how to make the right choices. When we give children the choice to choose, and give them options for acceptable behaviors, we do not stamp out their quest for independence. Instead we provide structure for them to make choices based on their developmental levels. This starts as soon as they can crawl. The more choices we give them, the more opportunities we give children to exert their independence and feel successful at navigating their way through life.

The more often we are able to parent using techniques based on love and mutual respect, rather than fear and guilt, the more time we have to play together. We all make mistakes, so remember to be gentle with yourself too. Raising kids joyfully and guiding with compassion are the greatest gifts we can give our children so they grow into happy, well-adjusted adults.

Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd

Mars Venus Coaching

Corporate Media Relations

Busy Moms Embrace Common Cents

Monday, September 26th, 2011

It is that time of year again when moms begin prepping their children to go to school. In my case, it’s for preschool. As we go from virtually non-existent laissez faire schedules to the regimen of “You’ll miss the bus if you…!” We also have to ask ourselves what we’re doing to conserve our sanity.

It’s a known fact that in a 1 dollar U.S. bill, 100 pennies make up a dollar. So the question begs to be asked, if we have 24 hours in a day, and at least 8 of those hours should have the entire household snoozing, up to 11 if you’re under 4 feet tall…WHY are we cramming in more activities than is possible to get done in a 24 hour day? The math does not add up! Neither do the health bills further down the road.

Clients, and most have the title “Mom” or “Dad” on their resume, often come to me for help in time-management. Of all the seminars and workshops I do—when I have people shout out their greatest challenge—prioritizing their time tops the list.

Our bodies run on a circadian clock that resets itself around every 24 hours. We are not wired to be on the go all-the-time, and our bodies are wearing out with excess cortisol, a stress-producing hormone, chronically in our system.  Any mom knows that if you do not give your children enough down time, then they become over-tired, their “poop” schedule gets thrown off, and you have a child prone to melt-downs or temper-tantrums on your hands.

Guess what? Same goes for you Momma! Do you wonder why you’re short with everyone, or why it’s hard to convince yourself to be sexy or romantic? The only answer is: you’re not giving enough time to one very important area in your life. You.

And, you can bring your household back into a pleasant place to relax, unwind, and connect with those you love most. The way you achieve any goal is first to define the goal, create a strategy, and identify the actions you need to take on a daily basis to achieve the goal.

Goal: Everyone’s sanity, health, and a functional well-adjusted family.

Strategy: Build in at least 4-6 hours per day where the pace is easy-going. Make sure at least 1 of these hours is 1-on-1 time with just your “self.”

NOTE: No other distractions allowed. TV, texting, phone calls, internet—Banned.

Actions: Every day during the school week my family will:

  • Use this time to cook meals and chat with family about the day.
  • Pack lunches together.
  • Do the dishes, unload dishes, or fold laundry while catching up.
  • Spend time in the same bed or on the same couch cuddling and hugging.
  • Sit down to breakfast and dinner all together.
  • Demand quiet play time for everyone in the household.

During quiet time…Light some candles, diffuse essential oils, run the bath. This may be a good time for you to check email or make a quick phone call as the bath fills. But, guess what? Once the tub is full—it’s time for alone time for you.  Read a chapter of a good novel & then wash your hair. The point for you during quiet time is to relax. (You’ve been connecting and nurturing during some of the chores & meals.)

As a woman you’ll replenish your stress-reducing hormone, oxytocin.  You do this by nurturing and caring for others or yourself. The key is no expectations can be attached. If someone is expecting you to do something, oxytocin isn’t produced as readily.

The point for a guy during quiet time is to do an activity that is less mentally challenging or doing nothing…, however, his stress-reducing hormone is testosterone. There really is a biologically proven reason why guys drop to the couch at the end of the day.

Same goes for your kids. They need to produce stress-reducing hormones too. It keeps everyone’s digestion moving, makes for more restful nights, strengthens your immune system, and improves your relationships.

The more we’re able to disengage ourselves from distractions, the more time we will have both for ourselves, and for our families. In a society where the divorce rate has tipped to over 50%, don’t you owe yourself this break, this chance, to keep your body healthy, your sanity in-tact, and to continue to model balance to your children?

We all need down-time in our schedules. If 4-6 hours seems too much at first, set another target number, and work backwards from there. Just remember it’s non-negotiable. We can’t change our circadian rhythm, and we cannot change how many hours are in a day. We start early teaching kids’ routines and schedules (including nap time) for a reason. Be a do as I say, just like I do mom. You and your kids will thank you for it.

Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd

Mars Venus Coaching

Corporate Media Relations

Mars Venus Children are From Heaven – Even in the Summer?

Friday, May 13th, 2011

The Mars Venus Coaching Workshop: Children are From Heaven, tells us that children are a gift. But with school letting out for summer in just a matter of weeks, some parents might beg to differ. Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all the time you are responsible for filling with fun, structure, and learning opportunities for your kids? Even though summer is a fun time for the beach, pool, and family vacations—as parents we also have to make sure our stress levels stay low so we can keep our cool with our kids. In order to raise healthy and cooperative children and teens sometimes it’s helpful to revisit our parenting skills. The following ideas are adapted from Dr. John Gray’s book, Children Are from Heaven: Positive Parenting Skills for Raising Cooperative, Confident, and Compassionate Children.

If we want our children to be able to survive, thrive, and compete in today’s world, we need to prepare our children by using the most effective and modern approaches to parenting. Positive parenting may or may not be something your parents did when they were raising you. As a parent you do this by doing the following five skills in the left-hand column entitled, “do” on a daily basis. The more you are able to interact with your children using these skills, the more your kids will be thoughtful, respectful, conscientious people.


1. Ask

2. Listen and nurture

3. Offer rewards

4. Command or assert leadership

5. Give time-outs to maintain control when


1. Order

2. Fix it

3. Punish or shame

4. Demand, yell, become emotional

5. Spank or hit emotions overwhelm

This article focuses on how you can improve communication and minimize resistance by concentrating on the first two skills: asking and nurturing so you can inspire your kids to cooperate. When summer begins, and the kids are at home—a whole host of chores crop up just due to extra traffic in your home. Accidents, spills, and breaks happen when little feet are under foot (even if they’re your teenage son’s size 10 feet!). Negotiation skills start during the toddler years, and they continue into adulthood.

For the first skill, asking, phrase your requests in a way that will minimize resistance. When you make requests use “will you” and “would you” rather than “can you” and “could you” (particularly with boys) (and men!) . Why? Well, when you use the phrase “Would you please clean up this mess?” you are making a direct request that requires a thought process of “hmm, will I or won’t I”. However, when you say “Can you clean up this mess?” you are actually, technically asking a question about someone’s competence to do the task.

For the second skill, nurturing, remember different children need to be nurtured in different ways depending on their temperament. Sensitive children need to be listened to and understood. Active children need preparation and structure to do well. Responsive children need distraction and direction to be cooperative. And receptive children need ritual and rhythm to bring out their best selves.

Improve Communication & Minimize Resistance
Children typically resist for one of two reasons. Either:
1. Children don’t feel heard or seen, or
2. They are not getting what they need or want.

Minimizing Resistance
You minimize a child’s resistance by doing two things:
1. Consistently setting boundaries.

Expect there to be challenges—this is not undermining your authority, they are just learning and testing the parameters you are setting. Life is dynamic, so while rules may change based on the circumstances, your boundaries change in regards to their developmental level.

2. Listening and asking questions to draw out feelings.

If we have trouble controlling our own emotions, just think how much harder it is for your children to even identify what emotions they are feeling. Childhood is a time for exploration, and part of this is helping your children find words and explanations for their feelings so they can learn to use them constructively.

Parents can minimize resistance by validating their child’s emotions of anger, sadness, or fear in a calm, warm way. You can also reaffirm boundaries and redirect attention when you find your child resisting your requests. Teaching delayed gratification also helps children understand that their needs are heard, but you also teach patience and consequences as you help them reason through why now you aren’t able to fulfill their need, but you can if they do such and such first.

Inspiring Cooperation
The easiest way to inspire cooperation is to ask instead of order or demand. Remember you do this by using: would/will you, instead of could/can you. The more direct you are in asking for help, the easier it is for a child to make a yes or no decision. When you eliminate rhetorical questions, and give up explanations and lectures you are able to meet them at their reasoning level according to their age. Getting down and talking to kids at their eye level, also let’s kids know that what they have to say is important too. And, remember don’t use feelings to manipulate, because this is not a behavior you’d like your kids to use on others when not in your presence. The magic word is “let’s.”

If you’re interested in learning more about positive parenting, you can find Mars Venus coaches in your local area, and inquire when they’re next Children Are From Heaven will be presented so you can ask questions and take part in group exercises. Or, if time’s a constraint, you can do the eWorkshop version, which let’s you learn the material from the comfort of your own home and on your own time! Remember consistency is key.

Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd
Mars Venus Coaching
Corporate Media Relations