Friday, June 16, 2017

Great Conversation Starters

There is a great gift for Dads (and all the family) on my website -- Great Conversation Starters…
These powerful conversations start with questions that are positive and encourage a response beyond a ‘one word’ answer. Knowing how to ask a question is important so you can open the door to dialogue and conversation.
AND, when you ask your child a good question for a conversation starter—you should practice your good listening skills to ensure your child learns to value sharing their thoughts and feelings with you. Good listening is an important resiliency skill to model. You have to practice…not just preach.

My free gift ( gives you the conversations starters directions and examples around:
•Asking an open-ended question (to dream, problem solve, or to forecast).
•Asking a specific conversation question (to connect, to get information, or to plan).

Here are two simple guidelines on how to use great conversations starters:
Guideline #1: You have two ears and one mouth.
This is the perfect ratio to help you remember to listen twice as much as you talk.
Ask the question, then be quiet. Sit so you can lean in and share your interest in hearing the answer.
            A. Make sure your phone is off/ put away or in another room.                                                                   
Obvious…and yet time and time again I remind folks to practice electronic free conversations…the old fashion way face-to-face.
            B. Mind your ABC’s of good listening:
                        Attend with genuine attention
                        Be responsive to what is said
                        Care about the other person
                        Don’t interrupt
                        Encourage the person to say more ….
Guideline #2 Active Constructive Response builds, strengthens, & maintains important relationships.
            A. Ask follow up questions that show enthusiasm and the desire to hear more
            B. Choose constructive responses over destructive response.

                 This handy chart explains what active listening is and is not:
Show authentic interest & support
Bring up negative points, or correct their version of the sharing
Distracted or understated support
‘One upping' distracts from the sharing

 Check out  my free gift now at 

Happy Father’s Day…may all your conversations with your kids be great today!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Celebrating Milestones

In our household we have some significant milestones to celebrate: graduation from college, successful job placements, and a wedding! As we start our 100 days of summer we will UNPLUG from electronics to enjoy these moments face to face.

Rest assured, these celebrations are a culmination of many "innings" in the "game of life." And these major, significant life events are occurring because those involved stayed committed to setting goals and working hard to modify and adjust as life and circumstances threw us some "curve balls." Our "team" had to dig deep and lean into the shared values, beliefs and long 7th inning stretches of unconditional love. When a curve ball changed our "at bat," we adjusted the plan, not our values or beliefs. On our "bench" were many friends and family to support and encourage us to stay in the game. 

Not every inning in life is a "home run." Often foul balls and strikeouts occur. Keeping the eye on the big picture (taking a long view) helps to get through the "innings" in life that are a challenge. When life plans are achieved, it is because resilient families plan, adjust and admit that practice comes before good enough and some form of perfect. Most importantly, the ability to "pinch hit" and laugh and love each other through all the phases and stages of the "game of life" makes the "home run" celebration season like the one we are experiencing, a real joy to share with all of the team. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Lady Banksia Rose story and taking the "Long View"

Spring is in the air and I've got another Fine-Tuned Family minute here.  Let me know how you have or will take the "Long View" in parenting your kids:
 If you prefer to read instead of watching a video, here is the transcript:

Hi, Parent Coach Janet Bonnin here of Fine-Tuned Families and The Families of the Way Ministry. This beautiful plant behind me is called a Lady Banksia Rose. It's about 20 years old. It's twice as tall as I am and equally wide around, and it has gorgeous blooms on it every spring.

I was looking at it the other day and realized this is a great metaphor for taking the long view in the raising of our kids. This plan required a lot of TLC when it was little, and has required regular care over the years. Likewise, when we're raising our children, we need to not only take care of what's right in front of us, the issues at hand, but we also need to take a long view in identifying the skills and talents that our kids need to acquire in order to be as happy and well-adjusted and successful as possible as adults.

My husband and I often get complimented on how well our kids turned out. And I can tell you it wasn't by chance. We had to take the long view. So join me, connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn as Janet Bonnin or Fine-Tuned Families or Families of the Way, and let me know what you are already doing to take the long view, and what you will do to take the long view. And please do me a favor and share this video with other parents that you know, who might like to be part of the conversation. Take care!