Thursday, January 10, 2013

When You Feel So Mad That You Wanna Roar...

mister rogers display - pittsburgh by HeyRocker, cc license
...take a deep breath and count to four. So says Daniel Tiger. I've been watching a lot of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, the new show on PBS from the Fred Rogers Company. It's safe to say that my munchkin is hooked - and the same may be said of me. Sure, I'll sometimes use the 20 minutes she's glued to the couch to get something done, but more often I end up watching with her.

I think what I love most is the way grown-ups are involved and portrayed. In some ways, it can be seen as a show about parenting. I can't tell you how many tools I've added to my parenting tool belt since the show first aired in September. However, what makes it especially compelling for me is that the adults on the show aren't perfect robots who exist for the sake of an episode plot. They have hobbies and interests, different personalities, and they display a range of emotions - from joy and playfulness to anger and frustration.

One of my goals in aspiring to be honest and gentle is being able to share and show my true feelings in a way that doesn't cause harm. I often feel the pressure of modeling healthy methods of emotional expression, especially now that Cadence is fully in the toddler phase of asserting and exploring her independence  I can't think of another time in my life that I felt such extreme frustration.

Nor have I ever been more aware of how Cadence is experimenting with the way she expresses herself. I spend a lot of the day coaching her through her crazy roller coaster of toddler emotions - giving a hug here, redirecting there, and suggesting she stamp her feet instead of throwing a toy. It has prompted an interesting thought experiment that has helped me think more about how I'd like to share and show my own feelings:

I imagine Cadence as older, in school, and I think about how I'd like to see her express herself in different situations where she's angry, offended, hurt, proud, excited, or frustrated. I imagine her as a teenager or young adult and think about how I'd like her to express that range of emotion with me in our house. And then I pin it all back on myself, because this is about me and not about Cadence, after all.

I think about how my reactions and expressions are different from this ideal I've developed: When I feel ____, I express it by _____. I'd like to express it by _____.

Then I think about what small steps I can take towards a different way of expressing myself. And then I go sit down to watch another Daniel Tiger episode and continue learning.

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I have an announcement for you! I'll be hosting my first Honest and Gentle workshop on Saturday, February 2nd, 2013, from 2:30 - 5:30pm at the Greenfield Community Coffee House (3929 Coleman St., Pittsburgh, PA).

Writing Your Relationship Resolutions
This workshop is for you if there is a relationship in your life that's causing you stress or if there's an upcoming conversation you're dreading. It’s a new year and the perfect time to resolve to address those relationships that are keeping you up at night and sapping your energy.  Join me and other committed individuals as we provide a supportive space to:

  • Receive new insights on why some conversations are so challenging,
  • Let go of communication patterns that keep you from being your true self, 
  • Gain a more objective view of your stressful relationships,
  • Learn an honest and gentle approach to having productive conversations, 
  • Create a personal action plan for addressing your most challenging conversations.

Registration is now open! Click here to learn more and to register.


  1. How wonderful that there is an off-shoot of the Mr. Roger's show with the little tiger! :)

    That workshop sounds wonderful - I really love the title!

  2. The show is seriously good, raindance.

    And thank you - I'm excited about the workshop, and already thinking about an online offering. :)