Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Work Place Communcation Skills

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

By Arjun Kulkarni

It is well-known that before you come to work, you have to leave your informal self back home. In the office, you’re an employee, someone who’s supposed to go about his work in the most professional manner. There is a way to talk to your superiors, to your peers and your subordinates. This mode of communication is known as workplace communication and is typically formal and to the point. So how does one get the required workplace communication skills and what is the importance of communication skills in the workplace?

Communication Skills in the Workplace

What are the good workplace communications skills?

Courteousness: A person should always be courteous while speaking to anyone in the workplace, whether senior or junior. One should not speak disparagingly with juniors, while speaking in a laudatory way with seniors. Courteousness should be maintained in the workplace irrespective of rank.

Precision: You’re not supposed to sit and chat in the workplace. Workplace communication facilitates necessity and should be completed as quickly as possible. Workplace communication mostly consists of delegating tasks and reporting results. So keep it short.

Language: One should never use any slang terms while at work. Business communication should be crisp and clear so that everyone understands what you’re saying. Slang terms bring in the eventuality of misunderstanding and also look unprofessional. So one should avoid using slang in office.

Low Speaking Volume: One comes across so many loud-talkers. Perhaps they are naturally so or do so deliberately to drive some point across. But speaking loudly is disturbing to other people around you hence, a low speaking volume should be maintained.

Clarity: It is also essential to ensure that the person you are speaking with has completely understood what you have to say. Hence, one should speak very slowly and clearly. If you have a strong ethnic accent, you should make sure that you talk slowly so that the other person gets what you have to say. It is always good to ask, “have you understood?” just in case someone doesn’t get what you have to say.

Listen to Others: Most people think of effective communication as a one-way thing. But it is very important to also be a good listener and not just a good talker. Others too often have something to say or to contribute to a discussion hence, listening too, is one of the effective communication skills at work.

Posture and Body Language: They say actions speak louder than words and the same can be considered to be true at the workplace. The body has a language of its own too, and at the workplace, the body ought to be courteous. There are simple things to keep in mind, whether it is wishing everyone ‘good morning’ at work, or having a courteous smile on your face, being well-dressed in office or sitting erect when someone is talking to you. All these things too are included in the superset of workplace communication skills.
Written Communication

Modern methods allow the least use of the written mode of communication (less than before). Today, we use emails, service forms, report sheets and the occasional sticky note. Your skills should extend to this area as well. Do not drone on about things in your emails. In fact, an email is the perfect excuse to make it short, simple, quick and effective. While filling reports on any projects or for employee appraisals, keep the language clean and simple. It reflects on as you as someone who is hard working and prompt.

Importance of Communication Skills in the Workplace

If one understands the significance or importance of something, then I feel that they do that thing better. So instead of just dishing out all the important workplace communication skills, I feel it is equally important for people to understand, what is the big deal about it! It is important to be formal and cordial in the workplace for several reasons. Firstly, you are viewed by everyone in the office as someone who has a positive influence in the workplace. Such people are always desired by companies. Secondly, you learn to get your point across effectively and ensure that the work is done the way it should be. And thirdly, (I’m being a bit informal here) it makes you look like a team player and makes you more loved by the company overall!

So this was all about the workplace communication skills and their importance. Now you know how to communicate effectively in the workplace and why. So get on with the job!

Strengths-Based Teamwork

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Successful business ventures often rely on the communication savvy of everyone involved in the deal. Relying on one person to lead or motivate a group leads to: reduced functionality if that person is absent, a stressful environment, unhealthy communication patterns, and increased conflicts. We all come from different backgrounds and families. What’s amazing is how we come together as a team to produce finished products. Here are 3 ways you can set yourself and your team up for success. They all involve self-reflection, greater self-awareness, and implementation of new skills based on both your and others’communication strengths.

  1. 1. Use DISC Profiling to Rephrase Your Wants

DISC is an inventory that is taken specifically with the work environment in mind. It identifies your adapted behavior in the workplace, as well as your natural style. Bringing in someone to facilitate taking the DISC profile and interpreting the results with your team adds value to how well your team interacts with one another.

One of the fun things I did at the last corporate DISC training was to ask each participant what their pet peeve was (instead of what words to avoid or not to use) in regards to how other’s communicate with them. We also spent a great deal of time on what does work for each participant. We collated everyone’s results in a table for easy reference back in the office. During team training that teaches you communication skills, you learn more than just tendencies or preferences, you get to implement the knowledge right away, which ensures that you retain this information for later use.

It is critical to know that the greater awareness you have of your style and how to adapt how you communicate with others in the group based on their style is what sets you and your team apart from other groups operating by chance alone. Doing DISC as a group allows everyone to see patterns and how objectively to make changes in the way they speak and interact so the strengths of all team members are utilized rather than just the more extroverted or dominant communication and personality styles.

  1. 2. Understand Gender Communication Differences

While DISC identifies your adapted and natural communication styles, going one step further to understand how men and women prefer to communicate leads to even greater results.

  • Men tend to use communication to solve problems.
  • Women tend to use communication to connect.

For example, at work—a woman’s natural inclination to take into account how a decision affects all parties involved both short and long term. Calling on this strength during a sale or when weighing options ensures greater logistical planning than a more single-minded approach. Calling on a man’s inclination to either solve a dilemma, or shelve for later is helpful in keeping negotiations focused with the end in sight.

Mars Venus Coaches in your area can facilitate DISC trainings for your organization and offer free Stress Management Seminars and workshops geared to getting what you want at work and gender differences in selling and buying. If you’re pressed for time you can also read the following online articles or take aneWorkshop too!

  1. 3. Practice Conflict Resolution Skills

It is critical to know that under stress, we tend to do two things:

  • We revert to our natural DISC style—graph II, not our adapted DISC style—graph I. This is because under stress it is harder to mask our natural preferences for communicating.
  • We become more like our gender, because of our physiology and the way blood flows in our brains according to our sex.

Therefore, utilizing an objective observer or a facilitator that interprets how you work as a team is more helpful, then just reading about it or studying these skills alone.

The following are the 3 steps to conflict resolution and what primary DISC gravitates to each of the steps.

1. CREATE SPACE. S’s bring all views, ideas and opinions into dialogue.

Change location to a neutral place

-Use active listening to explore rather than condemn opposing views

Take breaks often to cool off during negotiations

2. ADD VALUE. C/I’snaturally use their skills to add value and make sure all voices are heard.

Cs (Ts) add value by generating logical alternativesto the conflict issues

Is (Fs) add value by creating options for growthfor all parties so no one leaves feeling empty handed

3. SEEK CLOSURE. D’s ensure an end result.

agree on decision principles before making decisions (i.e. equal input)

-take one step at a time and define the steps

-once steps are outlined and decided upon, close the book on conflict

The bottom line is to turn what you learn into translatable skills. Learning communication and resiliency skills that focus on your strengths enable you to stay present in the moment. When you are able to operate continually from this place of presence, then you will find there are no fights, conflicts will decrease, and both your productivity and efficiency will improve. If your entire team can identify what best works for them and how to adapt to other people’s preferences, then the climate and culture at work will cease to feel like “work,” and more like play—just like it felt as a kid on the playground at recess playing kickball.

Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd

Mars Venus Coaching

Corporate Media Relations

How to Overcome Emotional Abuse from Gaslighting

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

This week I came across Yashar Ali’s insightful article: Message to Women From a Man: You Are Not “Crazy” featured on The Huffington Post from The Current Conscience blog. He describes how men and women alike tend to gaslight women due to the culture we grow up in and not knowing a more productive way of respectful communication.

Gaslighting is a term that mental health professionals use to explain a form of psychological abuse where untrue information is intentionally said or done to make a victim doubt her or his own memory and perception of what happened. It is as simple as an abuser denying any previous abusive episodes have occurred, or an abuser can intentionally stage peculiar events to disorient his or her victim. This occurs daily in our interactions with women when we deem them overly sensitive, emotional, or crazy—both at work and at home.

The term comes from a 1938 play called Gas Light, and it’s 1940 and 1944 film adaptations where the husband uses various forms of trickery including turning gas lights lower than normal to convince his spouse she is crazy. The term became a colloquial expression, and was then used in clinical and research literature. Yashar Ali’s interpretation brings to light the cultural dynamic that our social mores today still allow this type of emotional abuse to occur, predominantly with women.

As I commented on other blogs this week I noticed the cultural dynamic to devalue women and their emotional intelligence. We are still trying to fit women into the mold of how men work and operate, and it is not working can be found on this page. Rebecca Knight on Financial Times also recently wrote about how social identity plays a factor in helping women rise through the ranks at work. Amy Levine-Epstein on CBS News also commented on how a recent study on women finds a drop in ambition, which is also wider evidence of a trend going on right now of the need for a cultural shift to take place within our society empowering women to own their emotions and ability to be flexible…and use them as a strength in both their personal and professional lives.

A woman’s brain is built differently than a man’s. There is more connective tissue between the left and right side of the brain, allowing more cross-talk between the two brain hemispheres. fMRIs show under stress blood is more evenly distributed across the brain allowing women to make decisions using both logic (left side) and creativity/emotions (right side). This is a strength, but in our culture it is often “gaslighted.” When men are under stress blood flow in a male brain increases in the left orbital frontal cortex suggesting a fight or flight response. If the problem cannot be solved logically right now, then men will tend to put off/forget about it until their cortisol levels begin to lower and they think more clearly. How men and women produce their stress-reducing hormones (testosterone for men and oxytocin for women) is also different.

My masters is in counseling. From experience I see the most success with clients when we empower them to change from passive/aggressive/passive-aggressive communication styles to becoming more assertive by teaching resiliency & life skills (proactive take on the unlearning bad habits/beliefs). So I often have people identify which of the 12 listening blocks they use so they become more aware of when they tune the other person out so they can bring themselves back to the present moment.

The quickest way to become more assertive is to take back control & responsibility for staying present in conversations. When we shut down & daydream or talk to ourselves while others talk, we take away our choice to respond back in a respectful manner right then & there. If a woman has been “rendered emotionally mute,” this would enable her to identify when gaslighting is taking place, as it is taking place—so she could then respond/interpret the situation objectively. Assertive communication relies on treating yourself & others with respect.

I tend to agree with Hilde Lindemann Nelson who published Damaged Identities, Narrative Repair with Cornell University in early 2001 that a woman’s ability to resist gaslighting depends on “her ability to trust her own judgments.” By narrating a counter-story (the real events/true information), women that have been gaslighted may be able to retain their autonomy and come to objectively see the psychological abuse for what it is so they can re-establish their concept of self and heal from the exploitation.

This is why understanding listening blocks, and then building upon this awareness with assertive communication skills will help a woman who has and is being gaslighted to identify the unhealthy relationship dynamic. She can then choose safety, to leave, address the situation with appropriate authorities if necessary, and seek professional help. If there are multiple forms of abuse, seeking therapy rather than coaching (skill-based and focused on present/future outcomes) may be more appropriate.

Using a coach who helps you identify assertive communication, gender intelligence, and emotional intelligence will open doors to new skill sets that can help both the victim and abuser to divorce themselves from co-dependent relationships so they can pursue functional, healthy relationships.

Likewise, if someone—either man or woman—is gaslighting they can become more aware of their misconstruction of reality by learning how gaslighting inhibits them from obtaining genuine or true intimacy. They can do this by learning what listening blocks are and how their sociopathic behavior limits them from receiving acceptance, appreciation, respect, and unconditional love if they continue with this form of psychological abuse. They can then work from there to acquire the necessary skill sets to change to healthier relationship behaviors.

Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd

Mars Venus Coaching

Corporate Media Relations

Simple Tips for Women When Dealing with Men in Business

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011
  1. Promote yourself

  1. Avoid tag endings

  1. Be direct and concise

  1. Don’t take male comments so personally

  1. Make acknowledgements direct and simple

Simple Tips for Men when dealing with women in business

  1. Build rapport

  1. Avoid monopolising conversations

  1. Respect her abilities

  1. Don’t lecture

  1. Be specific with praise

To Manage Martians: DO
Do allow them to work on their own
Do motivate them by appealing to their ability to get the job done- the hero factor
Do praise and reinforce them by appreciating the TASKS
Do manage their stress by allowing ‘cave time’ and /or simple and quick criteria for what needs to be corrected.
Do act as if you trust he will succeed

To Manage Martians: DON”T

Don’t offer unsolicited or too much advice/help
Don’t focus too much on fleshing out all of the potential problems of a situation
Don’t manage stress by asking him to talk about it
Don’t act as if you do not trust he will succeed

To Manage Venusians: DO
Do allow for more collaborative work
Do motivate by appealing to ability to help the group
Do praise and reinforce by emphasizing importance to group/organization
Do manage stress by listening
Do pay attention and positively comment on the ‘little things’ she does.
Do build rapport by asking appropriate non-work related questions

To Manage Venusians: DON’T

Don’t solve problems too quickly (listen first)
Don’t focus exclusively on Tasks and ignore the relationship
Don’t wait for Venusians to bring up problems-ask about their concerns
Don’t withhold positive feedback

The ultimate guide to parenting is now available as a workshop!

Children Are from Heaven was written by the top expert on loving relationships, John Gray, the author of the phenomenal bestseller Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. He now turns his caring wisdom to one of the most powerful and profound relationships in people’s lives – the bond between parent and child. Dr. Gray had created a workshop to be taught by his personally trained instructors.

This workshop will teach you:

  • Why it’s Okay for Children to be Different
  • How to Help Your Children Express Their True Selves
  • The Five Messages and Five Skills of Positive Parenting
  • How to Motivate Children without Punishment
  • How to Help Children Feel Great about Themselves

Geared to parents of children from birth through the teens, this invaluable new workshop will show parents how to help their children become strong, confident, morally sound adults by focusing on self-esteem and responsibility.

Mars Venus Parenting and Hot Steamy Sex

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Erotic and exciting sex is not only for the unattached or young. I’d even argue it gets better with age and knowing your partner. The biggest culprit to your sex life falling flat on its face while you’re raising kids starts with a T, although it’s not necessarily lack of toys. It’s more likely that the offender we blame is: T…I…M…E, when really it’s our lack of prioritizing a hot sex life into our busy schedules.

When we don’t nurture and grow our sex life, then we often find that sex left the premises. Not connecting often enough with your partner in this way can leave the door wide open to one or both of you straying—either in emotional or physical affairs. So how do you broach this sticky subject if one or both parents are stressed out and tired? Regardless if you’re a new mom figuring out your new body, or if you’re pre-menopausal, you can implement these techniques immediately into your life with your partner.

I cannot say from experience how things go once the kids become cognizant of the mewling sounds coming from the bedroom, because our toddler is still a toddler. From our experience we’ve followed the following tips and they work. These ideas are also drawn from the expertise of John Gray, Ph.D., relationship expert and author of the Mars Venus series that the Mars Venus Coaches use to strengthen relationships with their clients and workshop customers.


Keeping the atmosphere light and pressure free is an art. However, it is doable if humor is done without sarcasm or the intent to hurt or make you feel better at the expense of another. Maintaining a good sense of humor when things change on your body allows both partners to be uninhibited. And for both sexes it can lead to more intimacy. Accepting and making light of the weird things our bodies do as they age, as they bounce back from childbirth, and begin drooping and sagging is quite fun, especially if you’ve been together for awhile, because you’ll be able to remember and still see your hot cutie when they were XX years young. When we do accept these changes with grace, then we are able to be freer in the bedroom with our partners.


Remaining playful, joyful, and young at heart—especially with your partner or spouse—is critical to keeping all the pressures of a fast-paced society out of your sex life. Leaving sexy notes and playing your fantasies out with your partner keeps ennui at bay, and keeps your sex life new and exciting. Telling your partner when someone else finds you attractive reaffirms being desired, while also keeping the sexual energy within your relationship, instead of giving it away.

Non-Sexual Touch

For women, it takes time to become sexually aroused. Women need to feel relaxed and that they’ve had sufficient time to take off their hats as mom, sister, daughter, housekeeper, and professional, before they feel like the sexy, hot playmate their partner may always see them as despite the messy pony-tail and spit up on their shirt. Taking time to sit beside a woman, or to give one another a foot or back rub, with no intention of this leading to sex can do wonders to turn women on as they anticipate sex later in the day.

Connecting not Necessarily Talking it Out

If you’ve gotten this far, and you are questioning how best to take action—wonderful! You do not need to talk about what you’re doing, just take action. If things are so tense or you’re so exhausted, humor, play, and non-sexual touch are three ways you can re-balance your relationship without adding more stress. The point is to re-connect. Quickie sex. Home-Cooked sex. Romantic sex. It can all be steamy. If you are counting on spontaneity, but then find one of you always bags out, then schedule a day and time each week so you both know that you’ll have time with one another.

Agree to Always Say Yes

Never say no.  This agreement ensures no one is ever turned down. Simple as that, and it works. This is when using a nonverbal signal such as three candles, like John Gray, Ph.D., suggests  lets the other person know you’re interested, and gives them time to get in the mood, or choose to have just a quickie instead.

Long Term Perspective

Our sex life in a long-term, committed relationship will ebb and flow. The key is being able to voice any dissatisfaction in a way that is nurturing not damaging. Complaining or putting your lack of a sex life down will not encourage more intimacy. Introducing eroticism and fantasy into your relationship can ensure that it remains monogamous, while also allowing both partners to freely explore their entire sexual depth.  Keeping things playful, humorous, and focused on connecting at deeper levels ensures a steamy sex life for years to come. Our bodies will change, we will go through life events, but if we embrace these events and are gentle with ourselves and our partners, then we’re able to continue growing together despite the odds.

For more information on Mars and Venus in the Bedroom go to John Gray’s, Ph.D., book of the same name. And, if you’re pressed for time you can also pick up more tips on healthy relationships with our eWorkshop: Secrets of Successful Relationships.

Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd

Mars Venus Coaching

Corporate Media Relations

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

High School Graduation & Leaving the Nest

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

At Mars Venus Coaching we believe that learning comes in waves, of about eight years—at least it’s so for me. So, when I talk to soon-to-be high school graduates, I often ask myself what I wished I knew then, that I know now. As parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, neighbors, or mentors—what wisdom can we give that will be: (1) heard and (2) taken to heart?
First let me address why value-added insight seems to come in waves of every eight years. Then we’ll brainstorm how to impart relevant wisdom to our young birds about to take flight.

Developmental Stages

We’ll use Dr. John Gray’s interpretation of the developmental stages we all go through. He calls them the ten time periods. Instead of just listing the developmental stages he corresponds the time periods with what he calls love vitamins that help us develop into who we are and what love need that should be met during these time periods so we are able to stay connected to our true selves. So, when talking or filling out high school graduation cards—I get right to the meat—no platitudes here on going after dreams or reaching for the stars. As you read through this, think about whether you received enough of the love vitamins during each of your time periods so far. How can what you say to the high school graduates in your life grow from your own life experiences?

Time Period Love Vitamin Love Need

1. Conception to birth Vitamin G1 God’s love
2. Birth to seven Vitamin P1 Parents’ love
3. Seven to fourteen Vitamin F Family, friends, and fun
4. Fourteen to twenty-one Vitamin P2 Peers and others with similar goals
5. Twenty-one to twenty-eight Vitamin S Self-love
6. Twenty-eight to thirty-five Vitamin R Relationships and romance
7. Thirty-five to forty-two Vitamin D Loving a dependent
8. Forty-two to forty-nine Vitamin C Giving back to community

As you can see from the list above, most high school grads right now have their energy focused on peer approval and support of others who have similar aspirations. Even sharing words of experience with your high schoolers is a challenge. If it is not couched within this frame of reference, or if they’ve missed out on earlier love vitamins of being unconditionally accepted and loved for who they are—mistakes and all—it is really hard for them to hear anything that resembles advice.

Additionally, if they went through their high school years and didn’t get enough love from family and friends, or if they were too focused on doing well and not having enough fun, then they may have a deficiency in Vitamin F.

Similarly, if during their childhood they grew up with one or more absent parents, then they may also be deficient in the P1 category. It doesn’t necessarily mean that both parents were out of the home working, what it gets at is did he/she get enough unconditional love, acceptance, and support from loving adults who gave freely (without conditions). We experience absent-parent syndrome when there is not enough quality time spent reinforcing a child’s self-identity, independence, and exploration within a safety net where the child intuitively knows he/she can express her/his feelings and venture out making mistakes without being reprimanded or told he/she is not allowed. The take away from this is that what’s always important is that we spend quality time with those we love, the amount or quantity is not important.

Age-Relevant Wisdom

Basically, throughout the high school years and during college (or while we venture into the workforce), what we are often looking for is to connect with others who are doing similar things to us. We need this both to gain a sense of who we are as individuals, as well as to find our purpose in life. If we miss out during this time period, or we pursue an avenue that we think others want us to pursue rather than where our talents lie, then we may become deficient in Vitamin F, Vitamin P2, or Vitamin S.

So one of the keys when pushing high school graduates out the door off on their own journey of discovery is to make sure they know there is still a soft place to land. That making mistakes is still okay, but now as a young adult the consequences are greater. The responsibility is theirs. That when our high school graduates choose what they want to do and learn over the next couple of years, it is critical for them to choose what they want to do, what they are talented at, not necessarily what the family expects. Therefore, identifying their talent or niche is critical. Choosing what social circles they run in going forward will also be critical to their success.

As we age, we also require more vitamins to stay healthy. When you get into your twenties, it is important to be focused on self-love, so as we explore romance and relationships—we choose our mates wisely. If we’ve had time for self-exploration, and to pursue our talents, then our maturity will be at the same level as our age. If we’re lacking in any of the vitamins, and aren’t on a path to fill the missing love needs, then we’ll tend to repeat familial mistakes, and our growth and that of our children will remain stunted.

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

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus… Referrals are from YOU!

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Put some extra cash in your pocket while spreading the word about Mars Venus Coaching’s NEW eWorkshops! It’s our way of saying thank you for your kind referrals.  As an expert in the field of communication, John Gray’s focus is to help men and women understand, respect and appreciate their differences in both personal and professional relationships.  By spreading the word about Mars Venus Coaching’s eWorkshops, you can help to share John Gray’s powerful message with the world – and get PAID to do it!  Do you have friends, family, or coworkers that could benefit from eWorkshops on relationships, dating, starting over, raising children, dealing with stress, or help coping with issues at work?  We all do! These eWorkshops provide simple, practical tools and insights to effectively manage stress and improve relationships at all stages and ages by creating the brain and body chemistry of health, happiness and lasting romance.  In fact, these are the same life-changing, workshops that John Gray and his team of Mars Venus Success coaches have given in-person throughout the world.  And now people can benefit from these workshops in the comfort of their own home.

Make a difference in the life of someone you know (or even someone you don’t know) and let us reward you for your efforts!

  • The Mars Venus Affiliate Program pays you 25% of each eWorkshop purchase you refer to us!
  • And when you sign up another affiliate, you’ll earn an additional 10% on each of their referral sales
  • The best part…it’s COMPLETELY FREE to sign up!

Fill out the form to become an affiliate today…it’s FAST and it’s  FREE!