As you know from my posts, my kids are grown and I have worked with hundreds and hundreds of frustrated people, coaching parents and kids about this very issue.

Some of the things that I have tried successfully:

When my kids were around 6 and 10, I decided to teach money management skills. This lesson worked really well with managing TV- and the beginning of the play station nightmare.

On Sundays, I gave the kids each 4 envelopes. They were labeled: Weekly, Long Term Savings, Lunch $, and Charity.

The kids were given a set allowance(depending on age and need). My dad always said that allowance is what you are allowed and has nothing to do with chores.  There was a bottom line amount that had to be placed in each envelope. The weekly money could be used to buy TV /Computer Time.

Certain shows cost more or less and some educational shows were free. The kids needed to learn how to budget their money and how they spent their time. The shows that I found absolutely horrid- obviously cost more.

I had a box, which they dropped the coins into. Of course I figured out how many hours I was allowing based on the amount of $. My kids felt in total charge of TV/Computer viewing. The benefits were amazing.

As to the other envelopes, my kids learned lots of lessons about putting off what they really wanted, making choices that impacted their lives.(ie. I let my son borrow from one envelope to get something he wanted sooner, with the stipulation that he had to put an IOU in the envelope. He later informed me that he was never doing that again! ( I believe that he borrowed $ from Weekly to buy a video game — there wasn’t any $ left to play the game!!)

As the kids got older, we just had a bottom line rule. No TV/Computer Sunday- Thurs- during the school year except if parents offered. They weren’t very happy about this but years of making choices had made them fairly discriminating TV viewers anyway.

Over the years, as I approached my kids with a new idea, they would usually be receptive. They got it that I was trying to give them some control over their lives and they also knew that they were my test subjects for ideas I would pass along to my clients!

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I have been aware for some time that I was on the cusp of a huge shift in my relationship with my 21-year-old son and 17-year-old daughter. They are grown and both live 3000 miles away from me.

My children are both full of confidence, driven and are stepping out into the world in a very big way. Here I am, life coach, fighting my mothering instincts to stop them, wanting to make them come home and do it “my way”.

I received some great coaching this week from fellow (sister) Feroce Coach C.J. We spoke about my needing/wanting to connect with my kids but at the same time support them in their creative journey into adulthood. I realized that I could have it both ways(at the same time).

My kids called last night. My daughter was telling me about different living possibilities she was considering in L. A. I did not say anything, but, “great! I’m glad things are working out.” She replied, ” Some of the rents cost more, but I am going to live in a safe neighborhood…..”

There you have it! My baby is growing up. She doesn’t need me to protect her. She needs me to listen.

Thanks- CJ!

Italy June 2006
My kids- all grown up!

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Connecticut Life Coach Susan Epstein

The Process of Change

I recently received a parent coaching testimonial from a client in Vermont (I practice as a life coach from Connecticut) who wrote about getting her family life in order. One of the gifts that came out of our parent and life coaching relationship was the implementation of an exercise plan that she could stick with.

She, like most of us, started and stopped exercising routinely. I began thinking about the “shift”. You know, when you get it and it sticks and you are having fun and it is good for you!!

I remembered my own process over the past couple of years. I ran into a high school classmate a few years ago. He was very excited to tell me that he had just run his first marathon. I was shocked! He was never an athlete in school and let’s say that we already had celebrated our 25th high school reunion. You get the drift. How does an almost-50-something run a marathon?

He told me that he joined a group of beginning marathoners through Lawrence and Memorial Hospital, in New London, Connecticut. During the course of 6 months they trained together and last year he ran the New York City Marathon and finished. Now he is traveling all over the country running different races.

I wanted to try running again. In my 20’s I ran a 10k and then about 12 years ago I was running 3 miles or so for exercise. I had an injury, something I will never do again, running with the Golden Retriever, he pulled and I went down. Thus, the running stopped, because I was in pain. I was terrified to try again. Will it hurt? If I get all excited and I can’t do it will I be a failure? So I put it in that category of “not now”. However, the thought of doing this kept nagging at me.

This past May, I was talking to my friend Lauren about running.(It helps that she is a phys ed teacher at a local high school.) I asked her to train me. Then I asked my husband if he wanted to do it, too. The three of us decided to work together and Lauren, our new personal trainer, began the process with us.

The Goal

First she said, “You need to have something to work towards. Pick a race.” We are active volunteers in The Cove, a Connecticut-based nonprofit, that provides free services for grieving children. A fundraising 5k race was in the planning stages for October 15, 2006. Now we had our goal. I shared this experience with my client and by the following call she had also signed up for a 5k in Rutland, Vermont.

The Experiment

The first day, I could only run for 5 minutes. I was out of breath, and in a lot of pain. Lauren said, “We are doing this slow and easy. If it hurts we will back off, re-evaluate and try it again, differently. The point is to enjoy the run.” So we ran and talked, changed our routes, changed the time of day, changed the schedule until we found the best combination.

The Shift

The shift occurred around week 6 when we began to notice that we weren’t in constant pain and out of breath. We were laughing and having fun. At that moment I knew that I would run the 5k and finish it. What an accomplishment!


This week marks the beginning of our 11th consecutive week of training. We are running 2 miles in about 22 minutes. The race is 6 weeks away and we are already starting to look for our next race…maybe even a 10k!

My client got the gift of change when she wasn’t really looking for it, and I in turn, got my own nudge by walking the walk along side her. And, Lauren, our personal trainer, has upped the ante in her own life and will be running a half-marathon next month in Newport, Rhode Island.

Susan Epstein is a life, parenting, and weight loss coach at Feroce Coaching.

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Parent Coach Susan

Well, school is right around the corner and everyone from parents to kids are having the jitters. Parents are wondering how to make the transition from summer freedom to hectic and stress free school schedules.

Let’s first consider how you felt last school year went. Were you burned out? How many after school activities did your children/teens participate in? How many nights did you drive through the fast food windows and eat dinner in the car? How many nights were you arguing with the kids about homework, bath, and bedtime?

If you are like most parents I know, you probably answered, “way too many!” Would you like to have a different experience this year? Would you like to create a family life where eating together means sitting down in your own home and eating food that you prepared? In my article, A Parent Coach’s Six Tips for Less Stress at Home, I give you ideas that you can implement tonight.

So, the first step is taking a good hard look back. Take inventory and wait for instructions for the next step. Parent Coach Susan will guide through this overwhelming and often times guilt ridden job of PARENTING. If you are like me, you are craving a close connection with your family. Let’s work together, parent + coach and create the family experience that reflects how you want to live!

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Rainy Sunday

Published on August 27, 2006 by in Parent Coaching


Hi Everyone,

This is my first post. How very exciting! School is starting this week and everyone is out shopping for new clothes and supplies. Kids are getting anxious. Some may start developing tummy aches. All this is natural. Talk this out with your kids. If you are still stuck, contact me and I’ll help you with this sticky transition. Remember, start making bedtime earlier. This will help with the crankies. Good luck!

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