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Small Gestures Improve Relationships

Renew relationshipDo you know that daily small gestures improve relationships?

I am reading (for the 4th times) The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson.  It is a book that brings together pretty much all motivation and personal development into one.  Jeff Olson states that it is the small daily steps done continuously will always get you to the goals.

The same concept can apply to all areas in your life.

Imagine if you did small things that show your family how much you love them.  What do you think would happen?  It doesn’t have to be anything that costs anything, just simple things that would improve your relationships.

Even when the hurdles of life come into play, the small gestures is what will keep your relationship strong.

Another way you can look at it is picture your bank account.  If you did small gestures every day, even when tough time comes the amount of gestures in your gesture bank account will always out weigh the tough times.

I give you the challenge to test this concept out on your relationships.  The challenge is to do small daily activities to improve your relationship with your loved ones for the next month and head to my facebook page Coaching for Lifetime Change and share with how you are going.


Creating Rituals Improves Relationship With Your Child

Do you have a set routine that your family?  Do you have rituals? Creating rituals improves relationship with your child.  In Becky Bailey’s book I Love You Rituals she explains the difference between routines and rituals and why we need to create rituals to improve relationship with your child.

Rituals are not routines. There is a difference between the two. The goal of routines is continuity. The goal of rituals is connection. Rituals create sacred space designated for togetherness and unity. Holiday rituals typify this point. Many families gather on Thanksgiving to bond in gratitude, and birthday rituals, such as having one’s favourite meal prepared, are a form of honouring a family member. Rituals are the glue that holds the mosaic of love together. Street gangs create rituals to fill the emptiness their members feel as a result of the lack of connection in their lives. We can create healthy rituals with our children, or they will form them with others as best they can. Just as in the earlier example of greeting your spouse, we can greet our children with an I Love You Ritual, or we can arrive at the day care center and say, “Where are your things? Hurry; we have to stop at the store on the way home.” The choice is ours. Loving, healthy rituals foster the development of loving, emotionally healthy children.

Bailey, Becky A. (2009-10-13). I Love You Rituals (Kindle Locations 215-223). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

The four goals to I love you Rituals are:

  1. Optimise your child’s brain for success and in life – Ritual activities aims to increase your child’s attention span and cooperation. It provides daily tune ups through which attention span improves and cooperation increases.
  2. Increases your learning potential and effectiveness through touch – Brain research confirms the critical role of touch in our mental and emotional health. When we touch one another, a hormone is released called the nerve growth factor. This hormone is essential to neural function and learning. The brain and the skin develop from the same embryonic tissue. The skin, in essence, is the outside layer of the brain. If we want smart, happy children, we must consciously touch them. It is time to relearn appropriate, caring touch and move past our fear of inappropriate touch. We must embrace touch for its value and function in development and learning. By understanding caring touch, children develop compassion for themselves and others. Hitting becomes hugging, snatching becomes asking, and the difference between caring touch and unwanted, uncomfortable touch is learned. Touch is the keystone of each of the I Love You Rituals.
  3. Create loving rituals that hold families together even through the roughest time – All cultures across time have created rituals. Rituals are a central part of life, whether they involve how meals are shared or how major events and holidays are marked. Rituals surround us, from the common birthday ritual of making a wish before you blow out the candles to bedtime routines that may include, “Sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite.” Rituals create time to be playful, to explore the meaning of our lives, and to rework and rebuild relationships. Think of the pleasant rituals from your childhood. What feelings are evoked as you allow yourself to reminisce? Generally, they are feelings of love, warmth, and safety. For these moments, “all is well” with yourself, your family, and the world.
  4. Strengthen the bond between children and adults that insulates children from drugs, violence, and peer pressure, laying the foundation for mental and emotional health – The bond between parent and child is the child’s primary source of emotional health. It gives your child the capacity to have satisfying relationships the rest of his or her life. A weak or anxious bond could reverberate through your child’s entire life in the form of low self-esteem, impaired relationships, and the inability to seek help or ask for it in effective ways. Research indicates that over one-third of the children in middle-class families suffer from anxious attachments to their parents. This insecure attachment tends to be transmitted from one generation to another. Every parent wants to know what early experiences enable a child to feel that the world is a positive place.

If you want to strengthen and improve your relationship, you must take action and participate in one of my favourite programs Connect with Your Child. 



Don’t Wait Forever For Happiness

CouplesAre you waiting for happiness to arrive? Don’t wait forever for happiness.

How often the media and others when I loose 20kgs, have the most successful business, have the best relationship you will be happy?

All the time!

I remember completing a 21km run (ok I walked the entire way) and all throughout the preparation, I was expecting this massive wave of emotion to come over me with the achievement.  Did it happen?  Nope and boy was I disappointed.  All this effort, blisters, swollen arm for goodness knows what, loosing toe nails and I didn’t feel much after it.

Why do we tell people that when you do……………………………………………………… will be happy?

I went to a relationship workshop run by Wendy Jacobs who helped me with some personal issues a while back.  She taught us three powerful words which is already making such a huge impact on my life.


We are always being told to do, be, have.  Do the work and then you will be what you want and then you will have happiness.  But Wendy taught us to be who we want to be right now, do what you have to be who you want to be and have everything that you want.  Loosing 20kgs is not going to make you happy.  Eating healthy, exercising and looking after yourself will make you happy.

If you want to improve your relationships, you need to have a complete vision on what you want your relationship to be.  Then you need to be who you want to be in your relationship.  Do not accept average or a 5 in your relationship.  If you want to be a 10 in your relationship you need a vision of what that actually means and be that person right now.  You need to then activate your plan to be that person and do everything in your power to be that person.  Then you will naturally have the relationship that you want to have.

Here at Coaching for Lifetime Change, we have many programs which are focused on your relationships with your partner, with yourself and/or your child.  It is now time to not wait and be who you want to be right now.

Don’t wait forever for happiness!

Building A Relationship With Your ASD and SPD child


This month we are focusing on spending at least 5 minutes with your child.  So I thought I would develop a series of posts to help you in building a relationship with your ASD and SPD child.  This post is Part 1.

Numerous parents of children on the spectrum and with sensory processing disorder say to me that they have trouble with developing a relationship with their child because they do not give much feedback or they do not want them to be near them.  I usually ask the question “Do you want them to do something you want to do or are you following your child’s lead?”  Usually it is because we are wanting them to do something we want to do.

Would our child respond to us differently if we follow their lead?

For parents of children who do not give little response or want you to be near them

First, I want to acknowledge the feelings that you might have currently with how your relationship with your child.  Before a child is born we naturally dream about the type of relationship we want to have with our child and sadly for a lot of mums and dads this does not happen.  Over time we can feel discouraged and vulnerable as a parent.

Some children on the spectrum do not like us to be near them but there are definitely many ways that you can be with your child and in time will start to see little things for instance child might look your way, smile.  As an ABA therapist, when we first commence working with a child we simply just be present with the child.  We sit near them but stay at a 45 degree angle, smile at the child and simply be quiet and just watch.  Some children will not like this at the start but we do need to start to build a relationship and by simply sitting there whilst they are enjoying what they are doing, we are acknowledging that we value what they are interested in.

The first task for parents who have this scenario happening, over the next week, I want you to simply sit near the child, do not say anything and have a smile on your face.  You do not have to do it long, especially for those who find their child is resistant to this.  But you need to do it at least once a day.  Over the week write down any changes that you see in your child and feel free to share it here, on the Facebook page or if you want to do it privately do not hesitate to contact me at

For Mums and Dads who get some response from their child

For mums and dads who get some response from their child and would like to strengthen their relationship it is important to follow your child’s lead.  In parallel play, children will play beside each other and copy what the other children are doing.  For us parents, we need to do the same with our child.  Once again it is important to be around a 45 degree angle so that you can be in their field of vision.  You need to copy what your child is doing because that is what your child like to do.  It is also one of their strengths and it shows the child that you value their interests.  It could be sitting and looking at a book about dinosaurs, it could be making lines of toys and it can even be flapping.

You might think to yourself hang on there……………………….you are suggesting we flap our hands and that is one behaviour that we are trying to change.  I know it does sound silly.  However, when your child is flapping their hands do they feel safe, accepted and competent?  Yes they do!  By copying your child they are feeling safe because they are doing something that interests them.  They will feel accepted for who they are and they do feel competent.

You do not have to do it long, especially for those who find their child is resistant to this.  But you need to do it at least once a day.  Over the week write down any changes that you see in your child and feel free to share it here, on the Facebook page or if you want to do it privately do not hesitate to contact me at

For parents with older children with ASD and SPD

This can be a tough area especially if they are shutting you out.  Even when they are older you still want to have a relationship with your child.  The same principals apply to you.  Find an activity that your child likes to do and share the experience with them.  You still need to follow their lead because we want to foster that they feel safe and valued.  It is important that you do not direct the activity.  Even being in the same room if they are watching a TV show shows your child that their interests are valued.

You do not have to do it long, especially for those who find their child is resistant to this.  But you need to do it at least once a day.  Over the week write down any changes that you see in your child and feel free to share it here, on the Facebook page or if you want to do it privately do not hesitate to contact me at

Postnatal Depression Effects on Relationships

Steve and I celebrated our 8 year anniversary this week and I thought I would take the time to reflect on postnatal depression effects on relationships.  It is tough!  But it does not have to destroy your relationship.

We often hear women/men saying why doesn’t my partner understand?  It is virtually impossible for a partner to truly understand what you are going through if they have never had a bout of depression.  You can not imagine how hard the black cloud is to get out of.  The suffocation it feels.

You and your partner also had dreams of being a parent and no one dreams that they would have PND.  No one expects this illness as part of their transition into parenthood.  But it does happen and PND can happen to anyone. No one chooses it to happen.

Nevertheless, it is very hard on relationships and once you really get on the road to recovery from your illness, you can start strengthening your relationship.  For me, I was extremely lucky that I had an extremely supportive husband and family.  He did not understand it but he supported me all the way.  I said some horrible things to him along the way and he just couldn’t understand how I could feel little love for both of the girls.

So, how did we get through it?

  • Although he may not have wanted to hear my feelings, I was honest with him.
  • I held his hand a lot to keep me grounded.
  • We told each other that we loved each other.
  • I kept getting help and I did whatever I had to do for the love of my family.
  • I worked really hard to put strategies in place to keep me well.
  • We worked on our friendship which is the base of all relationships.
  • I kept trying and trying.
  • I started to get better and became more affectionate.
  • He listened and didn’t always try to fix things.  You need someone to listen.

Steve and I have always had a strong sense of friendship which one of the most important aspects of relationships.  When Steve was diagnosed with depression as a result of everything we have been through, it was easier because at least I knew what he was going through.

A visualisation that helps me through the tough times of his depression is that I picture an invisible bubble around me that no matter what it can not be penetrated.

If you are looking for help to get your relationship back on track, look at my coaching program Reinvigorate Your Relationship and sign up for a free Reinvigorate Your Relationship Coaching Session.

Essential Ingredient For All Relationships

Dalai Lama

It’s Not Easy Looking After a Loved One With Mental Illness

I count myself lucky that I understand what my gorgeous husband is going through with his depression as I have been there myself and probably had a tougher battle. But that does not make his journey any less important as my own.

But for someone who has never had an episode of depression or any mental illness, the understanding of what the person is going through must be unbelievably hard.  It is impossible to understand the darkness that surrounds the person and the effort that is required to do simple daily tasks.  You can not simply snap out of it!  You can’t simply take a pill and all is fantastic!  I know for me the voices that were in my head and the horrible things they were telling me was beyond anyone’s imagination.  The work in blocking out these voices which definitely were not telling me what was reality was so draining that all I wanted to do was curl up in bed and hide.

Nevertheless, it is now my turn to look after my husband. I try my best to create a “bubble” around me to protect my inner self against the lack of connection that I feel, little remarks that can be made and the silence that can surround the air. Thank god we have two children to make up for the noise.  The hardest thing I find is when I give him a hug as for me that is an important way that I fulfil my need for connection and he does not put his arms around me, it does hurt.  But then I also find that I tend to seek more cuddles from the girls to meet the need of connection that I am missing.

What keeps me going is that when he finds the words to communicate how he is feeling, it releases some of the pressure that is evolving around the house.  By simply listening to him helps him find a bit of clarity and it is amazing listening to him acknowledge what is lacking in his life.  I know he will get through it just like I did and it may be hard to imagine but it is making us stronger as a couple and a family.  We have already crossed so many hurdles over the last 6 years and they did not defeat us so I know this also will not defeat us.

But it is not easy for support people because there is little support out there and I want to change that for as many people as I can possibly help.  We do not need to have the solution but we do need to listen.

How do you fulfil the need for connection?


10 Steps To Lifelong Happiness

In the Melbourne Sunday Herald Sun on 11/11/12 there was an article based on 10 Steps to Lifelong Happiness.

1.  Take Charge – make the choice to own up to your true potential and step into your brilliance.  We need to definitely get rid of all the excuses we can give.

2.  Let it go – Don’t waste energy trying to change or alter things that are well beyond your control. Focus on the things that are in your influence and find a peaceful acceptance of the rest.

3.  Live for now – Forget the past as that is something we can not change.  Don’t spend too much time dreaming about the future. But simply focus on today and making the moments the best you can.

4.  Expect the best – optimism is about expectation; expect the best and from life and it will deliver.

5.  Back yourself – You need to learn to believe in your dreams, your ideas and yourself. If you truly believe its amazing what becomes possible.

6.  Give all you can – be generous, not just with the gifts that you give but also how you give to yourself.

7.  Get out of the way – the only person who can really hold you back in life is you.  Overcome your limiting beliefs, ideas and attitudes and give yourself permission to truly shine.

8.  Be grateful – when you focus on how much you already have, your true desires will be easily met and you will also discover how little you genuinely need.

9.  Keep it up – don’t give up or choose a more complacent path should this take longer than you might have wished.

10.  Be brave