Tag Archives: Family Relationships

Parent – Child Relationship Transformational Cycle transcends species

by Renee Lindstrom
A year ago this month I received a call for help from one of my own kids.  They no longer lived on Vancouver Island so it wasn’t as though I could go and rescue them!  In the ongoing telephone calls of support I learned of a cat that this kid found solace with.  I loved that cat sight unseen!

As plans were made to helicopter this kid out of this situation, I realized the cat would be left, however, I knew that she would be visiting me at some point.  Two to three months later this kid came to stay with me and we made plans to pick up the cat.

The arrival of this small cat was interesting.  She entered as a warrior and strutted around the house like she owned it even though she had never seen it before.  Her tail stood straight out for days and was hard and inflexible.  She behaved like a feral cat.  After two weeks I stood looking at her and told myself that I had to let her go.  I told myself I couldn’t tolerate this and that I had given her enough, yet she hadn’t changed.  Then another inner voice questioned me and said,  “Really! What about the empathy that you have for your students and clients that help them experience transformation.”

Hearing that question I committed to not labeling this cat and to become more empathetic with her.    I realized that her behavior was scaring me.  I had expected a warm and loving cat and what came was a distant, cold warrior! So I became warm and loving.  I anticipated her needs until she began asking for things that she needed. They was an immediate shift!  One day she came up to me at eye level and searched my eyes for a long time.  I can only imagine that she was seeking reassurance.  Over this year I have witnessed and experienced  a complete  transformation as she settles.  She still has a wild nature however I am learning that means she needs to play!

I would have never thought I would become that person who talks about her cat. Well I do!  My other kid who still lives off the island, which means our visits are by phone and on-line,  receives many pictures and stories of the latest heart warming moments with this cat  I experience!

As the anniversary date approaches I have become aware that the kid that came home has also gone through their own transformation.  Prior to coming home I gave some consideration to their status as my kid.  I wondered  and worried if it was my job to tell them everything they were doing wrong and what they needed to fix.  You know,  being mom!  Well I quickly threw that thought into the rubbish!  I decided to accept, empathize and to love unconditionally.  However, what I did decide to do is ask for my needs to be met as they arose in the present!

I began to listen for their needs more closely.  As the kitty cat transformed, so did this kid.  There is more confidence, self-respect, self-assurance and self-love demonstrated. Rather than impart my wisdom on what I think they should be doing, they approach me when they are ready and ask for empathy and/or advice.  The story that unfolds in front of me is of how they are managing their relationships differently and being more assertive in creating their own boundaries in a non-violent or abusive way.  They are also addressing the abusive nature of others reactions in a clear more productive way!

Don’t get me wrong, I do ask questions way about some things that are important for me and that I think could benefit them, however it is not in a way that they feel I know what’s best for them.  It is simply a check in to find out what is important for them.

As my youngest left home, I had four months on my own without kids.  Having this one move back was a no-brain-or for me however, I wondered what it would mean.  You know, what would I have to give up?  Well I am happy to admit to you and myself that I have gained a loving and supportive relationship with a kid that I thought I had lost as they went their own way.

One of the ways that deepened this relationship was their observation of how I was with their cat, believe it or not.  Many times I saw them look at the two of us, the cat and I, in a funny way.  They had left home with a perception of mom that was based upon their own experience of wanting (not getting their needs met).  Now they where actually witnessing a different pattern than what they interpreted in their teen years when we had opposing needs! As they started to recognize the loving connection between the cat and I, they allowed themselves to experience the loving connection that they didn’t know or forgotten was there!

This cat has created the experience that I imagine most moms and kids experience with grand-babies!    Taking care of my own children gave me the opportunity to have empathy for my own parents and now I wonder if grand-babies would also enhance compassion and understanding!  My parents were gone prior to the birth of my children so I will have to experience it with my kids, kids!

What about your parenting experiences?  Are you letting your children have autonomy?  Are you building relationships with your young adult children or are you still trying to parent them?

I began a personal practice of Nonviolent Communication in my home in 2001. My children where five and 7 and one – half years old.  I believe those studying Nonviolent Communication in the Greater Victoria Region all began in around 1999.  For me, I believe my children and others whose parents began studying at the same time,  have been immersed in this communication through the modeling of the parents through out their life. Therefore it is in their behavior and apart of their cultural understanding.    I have observed a huge difference in their behavior and that of  myself and those I grew up with.
Renee Lindstrom

Transitioning from Language of Conflict into Language of Connection (based on Nonviolent Communication)

Recent Comment:  I love your cogent analysis of emotions = energy + story. So, emotions – story = energy freed. Yeh! thx, pat zzz
Recent Comment: Thanks very much for your wonderful classes and the way you teach us. I really appreciate that you have given the class a bit of extra time at the end to allow everyone to have their turn. I look forward to truly learning this technique of communicating and experiencing richer relations with people.
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Learn more about Nonviolent Communication by author Dr. Marshall Rosenberg

Renee Lindstrom, GCFP,
Jaw Release Program since 2007, Authored  Achieving your Goals  31 Day Program, Sleep Sweet Sleep, Kid’s Peace Bus Calendar of Values  Educational Program & InTouch with Your Values Self-Actualization Program.  Feldenkrais® Practitioner since 2007, Communication & Empathy Coach since 2004, Art of Placement  since 2000, Labyrinths of Victoria since 2012, #yyj Peace Week Grassroots Calendar Founder, Vice-Chair of World Children

‘Epic Empty Nest-er Transitions’


It’s no secret that my kids are the first generation kids who had one parent practicing a value based model of communication that began when they were beginning elementary school.  A model of communication learned from Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, Author of Nonviolent Communication.

Practicing this model of  communication at home has been a different experience than teaching it to others or being taught it.  The difference has been embodying it as the cultural foundation of our lifestyle and relationships.  Therefore our families learning has been through integrating our practice.

Travelling the path of transitioning from one consciousness to another was filled with immediate experiences and this mom did not know, or consider, the impact of any future outcomes.  The focus was learning with each interaction as it happened.  The beauty was the outcomes and the struggle was the extra brain effort to get there.  From teaching experiences it seems the brain is a lazy muscle and loves being attached to what it knows that ultimately blocks learning anything new! Hence the effort.

This mom quickly realized that it did not stop the adventures of childhood that were not particularity agreeable, however, what was different was the interactions between parent and child.  Spoken and unspoken communication between this mom and her children was deeper, connected and open, even in our conflicts.   These children quickly learned to be honest and take responsibility for their actions versus *lie to justify them.  They also became comfortable to hold mom accountable for any communication missteps. *lie – part of this system is to track and keep going back to the point so it is hard to keep up dishonesty as we learned! 

However, trouble still exists/ed and as one child left home it was under misunderstandings and conflict.  It was mom pushing bird out of the nest and a shock to baby bird.  Luckily our value based connect was enough to transition the conflict of our differences into understanding and connection.    Now this bird is coming home for a visit  and will be bringing a mate for mom to meet.  A mate who is interested in a pursuing education in ways of doing things this mom introduced to her families culture.  Mom is curious and excited!  Better yet she was able to discuss concerns and worry at the long periods of no contact during the 18 months away without bird taking it personally!  Love this communication!  What this child hears isn’t that they have done something wrong,  rather they hear the   concern and caring of this parent.

As baby bird one is returning to visit,  number two is leaving the nest.  This news came as a surprise!  This child and mom had made an agreement that affected their future lifestyle.  Then without discussion and mutual agreement another decision was made stimulating the disappointment of unmet needs.  On a scale of 1 to 10, it was a 10 for this mom.  The amazing thing is that there was/is honesty.  There was enough caring to be in the process for as long as it took to find clarity, understanding and agreement.  It has taken three months.  What began as mom wanting to push baby gently to safely leave the nest, to baby jumping from the nest while recognizing that a relationships with mom was equally as important. Neither right or wrong, yet, we have felt our feelings and over time expressed what is alive for us.  It gave us the opportunity to talk about the things we have withheld and now our relationship is transitioning into self-reliance.  It is maturing in a healthy way whereby we are admitting our excitement and fears.

I shocked and surprised my first child and my second shocked and surprised me.  What is different for us is that we have heard messages of meaning and how important we are to each other.  In my first family the pattern was to withdraw, disconnect and isolate.   I am loving being able to achieve a different expereience.  It bring hope and joy.

Creating a new consciousness through learning to listen and speak differently does take effort in the beginning,  yet,  my experience is that it reduces the field of later conflict which is by far a bigger struggle.

It is this family experience that extended to our early childhood education expereince that led to the creation of educational programs called Culture of Values for parents, schools and classrooms.  Find out more at  Culture of Values  or follow @learningvalues or on facebook

Renee Lindstrom, GCFP,
Feldenkrais® Practitioner since 2007, Value-Based Communication Relationship & Life Coach since 2004, Art of Placement  since 2000, Founder of Greater Victoria Peace & Intercultural Celebrations since 2010 & Greater Victoria Labyrinths since 2012, #yyj Peace Week Calendar Founder – 2014 & 2015

“When Mommy and Daddy fight”

Imagine your child/ren watching and hearing you and your partner disagree.  Conflict between two people is normal and natural.  Rather than beat yourself up and either guilt talk your child or ignore them, what if you talk empathy?  Yes!, accept responsibility for having feelings that sometimes come out in a way you don’t like!  Example:


(Name), last night Daddy and I used our loud voices when we disagreed about
cleaning the kitchen after dinner. I regret (or I am sorry for) getting angry at
daddy in front of you. I was needing some space by myself to settle and rest
and was feeling frustrated and rushed.

I imagine it’s scary for you to hear daddy and I raise our voices and show you our big feelings. Is that right? _________(answer)_______________. I bet you need us to be kinder and more considerate (age appropriate words). Is that
want you would like? __________(encourage talking).

I would like that too. Sometimes just like you, I get big feelings and they
come out before I can catch them. How about we make a deal (or I make an agreement with you), that if daddy and I use our loud (big) voices when we are feeling frustrated, that when I feel calmer I will come and check in with you to talk about how this was for you? Would you like this?


Parenting Workshops with Renee Lindstrom coming up at James Bay Community Centre and Vic West Community Association.  Go to  learning opportunities for parents .

Think, Speak, Act Workshops with Renee Lindstrom coming up at Monterey Recreational Centre.  Go to personal development Learning opportunities.

All Classes

Balancing Parenting & Your Relationship

Family Relationship GoalsPlanning your home culture to ensure more needs are met in your relationship with your partner, while still meeting the needs of the children,  is something that is not a focus in our learning and growth.  There is an expectation that we know this based upon your own earlier family experiences.  Yet, finding your self with babies in your relationship while trying to keep up your life before babies might just find you unprepared!  You may have strong ideas for how you want to raise your children that then may  becomes a burden to your relationship with each other if planning for balance is not met.  Yes planning for balance!

If you find yourself in this position or you are about to introduce babies into your growing family,  take time to plan, have goals and set intentions or become conscious of area that you take for granted now that become obstacles later on.

Upcoming workshop:

October Workshop:

Wednesday, OCTober 2 – OCTober 16, 6:00-8:00PM

James Bay Community School Centre

  •      140 Oswego Street
Create a home with parents who have a focus on relationship self-care.  Discover how you can set up a structure to keep your love alive based upon equal giving and receiving, respect, understanding, consideration, intimacy  empathy and compassion.  Spend time now to save time later.  Learn to create value based agreements and a structure to stayed connected during the most emotional, busiest and sometimes most confusing times of your relationships. Learn how to ask for what you need without creating guilt and resentment.
3/$35 – REGISTRATION:  250-389-1470
Putting the “I” back into parenting:
Other parenting Workshops:

Parenting with Empathy series notes:

New parenting series began yesterday p.m. in James Bay. In 2007 I organized 7 day live in retreat on the topic of getting intimate with living, speaking and sharing common values. Gregg Kendrick was one of the weeks 3 trainers and it was here he introduced me to the concept of being in the center of a relationship and balancing my personal needs to be more available to meet the other persons.  This was a concept more advanced than the normal concept being introduced  in 2007 of how to speak your values while hearing the other persons.   This concept went into the unconscious structure of your position in the relationship!

This concept is one I have incorporated into having parents reflect the structure of their own family dynamics.  As I suspected, a concept unfamiliar yet at evenings end the feedback was that of recognizing the benefits.

This will be a great workshop series as the parents have children from 3 to 28! This will meet my needs for learning, not unlike an awareness through movement lesson designed by Moshe Feldenkrais.  His focus was on the person as an individual – no prescriptions of one fits all!  This workshop is going to demand that each family be seen individually! This will be an interactive and reflective workshop, I can tell.

Still time to join if you feel inspired to check in and find out if the structure of your family dynamics is meeting yours, your partners and your children’s needs mutually. Catching up at the second part of the series isn’t too difficult and I will be there 20 minutes before next week to catch up some of those that came late last night and missed first part.  Don’t hesitate to join and come early to find out what you missed!  Click link for more info!