Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Are You or A Loved One Feeling Overwhelmed?

Created by Carolyn Pachas-Guest Writer
Are you and your family feeling overwhelmed? I have a story to share, and it involves Janet's wonderful mother-in-law, Gretchen, and my dear father-in-law, Jack. They lived full and beautiful lives. Let me tell you some things that Gretchen did in her lifetime. She gave birth to and raised 10 kids on a teacher's salary in Louisiana. She got a college education and became a fantastic teacher. She volunteered in her local church and in other community activities. She had time to be there for her kids, even into their married years, when they were having their own kids. Gretchen was an amazing woman. 
When Janet's kids were little, she felt overwhelmed.  Not only at what was going on when they were little, but at the idea that her and her husband were not going to be living near any extended family who could help them, and they had a tough road ahead of them. She had her business, and her husband had his full-time career. 

Here's something Gretchen shared with Janet decades ago that helped her shift her way of thinking. Gretchen said she lived her life in stages. The first 20 years of her life was about growing up and getting her high school education. The second 20 years of life, she met and married her sweetheart. They had 10 wonderful kids together, spending many years raising them. The next 20 years she went back to school, got her teaching degree and had a career as an educator. The next 20 years were her retirement years. 

Janet's family lost Gretchen earlier this year, and miss her dearly. She lived a long, full life. She did beautiful, wonderful things by accepting her own WISDOM, which is:

"You can do many, many things in life - You just can't do them all at the same time." 

If you try to do it all at the same time, it often leads to overwhelming, huge amounts of stress and big issues in your family. 

According to an article written by Daisy Wademan Dowling for the Harvard Business Review about working families, we should “Invest (our) time accordingly.” Working parents who have a clear view of what they’re working toward are more able to prune their calendars of commitments that don’t align and to spend time and energy on the things that matter and that provide real satisfaction (Wademan, 2018). 

My call to action for you today is to sit down and make a list of the many things you and your family members are doing. Take a hard look at it. Are you doing too much? What can you do? What can you put off? What can you let go of, that will create the space - the mental, the physical, the emotional space for you to reconnect as a family, and for you to be there. Create the space to be there for your kids, to love them and raise them the way you want to do. 

Carolyn Pachas-Guest Writer
 For Janet Bonnin
Family Growth Coach 

Janet Bonnin, Your Family Growth Coach, has worked with families since 2001 to deepen connections and improve communication, so all can lower stress and thrive.  Visit to learn how.
Wademan, D., (2018) How Working Parents Can Feel Less Overwhelmed and More in Control. Retrieved from

Friday, October 5, 2018

Calm the Chaos in Your Home!

Created by Carolyn Pachas-Guest Writer

Are you ready to learn another great idea for calming the chaos in your home?  
Janet Bonnin here, Your Family Growth Coach and I feel your pain. My husband John and I were blessed with three kids who were born in four years! You got it - the oldest was four years old when the baby came and then we had one in between. We had no extended family nearest when we were raising our kids. I didn't feel comfortable asking others to watch all three kids at the same time. So we had lots of energy, noise and a tendency towards chaos during the entire time they were growing up. Let's talk about another great way to get control of the chaos without totally blowing up the family.

It's time to call a family meeting and update your Family Rules!
I know you might be thinking, "We've already got family rules. We've got this covered!" Let's take a look at why it's wise to periodically review and update the family rules, and how the best rules can help calm the chaos in your home. You're going to learn some new things, so stick to this reading.

A few years back, I took some training from a group called Family Wellness Associates who have a great program for helping parents improve their skills. They also train trainers like me. They say, "Rules point the direction for the family by putting the values of the family into action. Rules help people know what to expect."

Family Rules are specific and discrete rules for behavior that have natural or logical consequences if not followed. Let's not make up too many rules, but we need rules and if somebody breaks a rule, we have a natural or logical consequence for breaking it. Using a few well-thought out and carefully phrased rules gives the whole family a framework that lessens arguments and power struggles, right? They know what to expect. They know what the consequence is going to be if they break the rule and it helps children learn right from wrong. Rules may vary from family to family, depending on which principles and values each family sets as their highest priority. Let's take a look at four areas that I think are important to have some rules in and look at a couple of examples in each. 

Four Important Areas for Family Rules 

1. Safety - both Online and In-Person

An example of an Online safety rule might be that all the screens that allow access to the internet are in a main area of the home while the kids are young. Also there are restrictions put on where the kids can go when they're surfing the Internet.  In-Person examples for personal safety are "Always walk with a friend", "Be home before dark", and "Friends can come over as long as mom or dad is home."  

2. Respect Our family and Our Things

Respect goes a long way to keeping arguments at a minimum.  Examples might be "Speak with kind words and a calm voice," and "Knock before opening a closed door."  Respect for privacy is especially important for 'tweens and teens as they get older. Another is "Ask before borrowing someone's things." So many arguments happen when somebody takes something without permission! And finally, a really important rule for all of us is "Always tell the truth."

3. Teamwork

A great example of a Teamwork rule is, "Everyone does his or her chores on time." Another one might be "Help with other things when asked nicely."

4. Learning 

A rule for school and education might be to "Do your best in school and in all things." Now I know that's kind of general, but then that leaves it to the student to decide - am I doing my best in all things? Here's a rule. "Keep up with studies and homework." Also, "Ask for help if needed."  In the area of electronics, a rule might be "No screen time during homework," and "The curfew for all screens is (designate the time)." Make sure that they all agree with this.

Reasons for a Family Meeting

Get your kids involved with a Family Meeting. They know there's got to be some rules, and if you invite them again to be part of the discussion, they will be more willing to obey the rules that everybody agrees to. Note that this can and will change as your kids mature.  

Once you figure out the rules, write them down, and place them visible somewhere they can be seen.  Everyone will respect them because you've had the family meeting, you've agreed on them, and here they are, posted. 

Consistency is the key  
Consistency is another key in keeping battles down. If your kids know there's going to be a consequence each and every time, they're going to be more likely to obey. 

Janet Bonnin, Your Family Growth Coach, has worked with families since 2001 to deepen connections and improve communication, so all can lower stress and thrive.  Visit to learn how how.

This blog was written by Carolyn Pachas-Guest Writer for Janet Bonnin-Family Growth Coach