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The Cooperative Family
10 Tips to Cultivate Cooperative Children
by Cathy Northcutt

A very precious thing we parents are always wanting from our children is more cooperation.  As soon as they are born we are asking them to cooperate with the breast or bottle to eat.  When they are 5 years old we want them to cooperate by getting themselves ready for school.  When they are 16 years old we want them to cook their own dinner (or better yet, cook for the entire family one night a week).  As parents, we know the importance of “teamwork” but our children are continually learning what family teamwork is all about.  Here are 10 tips to cultivate cooperative teamwork with your children.
Make a soul-connection
Making a soul-connection with your child involves pouring your love into their heart.  It involves seeing your child for who they are, accepting them fully with all their childish ways, and letting them know you are “there” for them no matter what.  As someone once said, “The eyes are the windows to the soul.”  Begin each day looking lovingly into your child’s eyes for 1-2 minutes and ask your child to look into your eyes too.  Tell them in words and hugs how much you love them, how amazing they are, and how important they are.  If this is awkward, don’t give up, stay with it.  This action alone will produce abundant cooperation when done on a daily basis.

Give freedom
Your child is subject to following orders all day every day.  Let them know you are on their side by giving them a break.  Allow your child to be a child.  Don’t expect perfection and don’t nag.  Give them freedom to move slow, make mistakes, and experiment with expressing emotions, ideas, and experiencing safe natural consequences. Let them make their own choices throughout the day.  Say “yes” as much as possible. 

Establish a clear agreement
A clear agreement means both you and your child know what to do, how to do it, and what to expect from one another.  The most effective agreements are created through parent-and-child cooperation, not dictated by the parent.  A child is most likely to cooperate when they understand why they’re being asked to do something and how they can do it successfully.  Identify the need or problem and the desired outcome and then brainstorm ideas together.  Find a solution that appeals to both you and your child.  For example:  you need your child to be at the breakfast table at a certain time.  Sit with your child and tell them “It’s important that you are dressed with shoes on by 7 am so that we can enjoy a happy morning together.  What do you think you can do to make that happen and how can I support you?”  Once you have an agreement, ask your child to tell you in words what the agreement is, why it’s important, and how they will execute their part.

Ask your child to do specific actions
Your child is most likely to cooperate when she knows what is expected of her.  Instead of saying “Go get ready for school,” say, “It’s time to get your clothes and shoes on.”  Instead of “Where’s your jacket?,” say “Find your jacket and put it on please.”  If you want your children to be quiet at the breakfast table to speed the eating process, ask your child for complete silence.  Knowing exactly what you want and communicating it clearly is very important.  Create structure to support your child with routines and show them how to execute each step.

Support them during the critical learning period
It’s easy to forget that our children are literally growing and learning every day.  When we ask for cooperation with a new task, we must take the time to support them during the learning period, and give them every chance to succeed.  It may take days, weeks, or months for your child to learn how to manage a specific task or series of tasks successfully.  If it takes too long and you are frequently frustrated, reevaluate.  You may have introduced a task that they are truly not ready for, a series of tasks that are too complex, or your method of training may be insufficient.  Ask them what they need to succeed and look for clues.  For example, if your child continuously gets distracted if you leave him alone in his room to get dressed, this is a clue that indicates where specific training or agreement needs to be made.  

Be calm and supportive when your child fumbles
Everyone does their best in a peaceful and supportive environment.  Do what you must to be calm as your child fumbles to learn new skills.  Simply recognizing that they are still learning can help you avoid frustration.  Use a calm and supportive voice particularly when your child is frustrated. This is when they need your support the most. 

Use courteous and respectful language at all times
Courtesy and respect go a long way to create cooperative spirits.  Using courteous and respectful language such as please, thank you, would you please?, are you willing?, and excuse me will show your children how you want to be treated and can make a world of difference in how your child responds to your requests.

Acknowledge successes
Notice what your child is doing well and acknowledge them for it.  Make your acknowledgements “you” statements with all the emphasis on them.  You really focused on that.  You made it happen – way to go!  When you put your mind to something, you know exactly what to do.  You handled that job perfectly.  You are a great teamplayer. Get in the habit of noticing what your child is doing well and giving your child acknowledgements every day.

Take time every day to appreciate your child.  Write a love note and put it on their pillow.  Make their favorite dinner.  Surprise them with game night or tickling.  Let them know it’s your way of appreciating them for being such an outstanding wonderful person and teamplayer.

Your child will benefit from learning evaluation skills too.  Make time for a family meeting to review family agreements and show your child how to look for what’s working well and what’s not working.  Ask your child for their input and listen carefully.  Therein are the clues to the best solutions.  From there, brainstorm new possibilities that will meet everyone’s needs. 

Please post your comments, ideas, and suggestions.

Best to you,

The copyright of this article Cooperative Children is owned by Cathy Northcutt.  Permission to republish in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.

Hello Passionate Parents!

What do you do every day to stay motivated to BE YOUR BEST FOR YOUR CHILDREN? 

Do you take good care of yourself?

Do you eat well?

Do you exercise?

Do you tend to the garden of your soul?

Do you play?

Do you stay educated about new ways to be an effective parent? 

Being the parent you want to be is like any other important endeavor – you’ve got to apply yourself EVERY DAY.  Watch this video every day to help create the family of your dreams!

Produced by the International Network for Children & Families

With love love  love,

Please visit for a schedule of parenting classes.

I teach an amazing conscious parenting course called Redirecting Children’s Behavior where I share and demonstrate over 100 parenting tools to help parents create the family of their dreams.  One of the tools is called a GEM.  GEM stands for Genuine Encounter Moment and, in class, I demonstrate the steps to help a parent create a GEM with their kids. 

I practice GEMS with my kids every day and, as we all understand, what parents do, kids will frequently shortly follow.  Here is a little GEM story that happened yesterday. . .

Grant and The Eggs

Most mornings around 5 am, you’ll find me sitting quietly, comfortably, and blissfully in “my” corner.  My morning quiet time is my time of pure joy, a time when I am fresh and can enjoy fresh thoughts of new possibilities.  I savor this time and generally never want it to end.  Yesterday I was deeply enraptured in reading an 80-page report and trying to finish it before my family broke the delicious silence of the morning.  Around 6 am my family begins to wake and rustle, eventually greeting me and breaking my deep concentration on page 30.  Yesterday, Grant greeted me and moved into the kitchen to hunt for breakfast.  From the kitchen he asked “Mom, can I make some eggs?”  “Yeah Grant, go ahead.”  I said, not fully present.  A minute later, “Mom, would you like some eggs?”  “No!” I said somewhat irritated, “I just want to read.”  A few minutes later, Grant comes over to me, puts his hand lovingly on my shoulder, leans into look closely at me with a friendly sweet caring soft face and asks again, “Mom, are you sure you don’t want some eggs?”   Surprised at this quality of attention (the GEM), I responded pleasantly, “Well, now that you mention it, I would love some.”  In that moment, when Grant gave me “his full presence” I melted.  Here is MY son, bringing his full attention to me, getting on my level and speaking to me with loving-kindness in the midst of my irritation with him and the eggs.  He cared.  This is the power of the GEM!  

Have you taken RCB yet? 

I’d love to hear your comments. 


Conscious parenting involves being conscious, by engaging the neocortex portion of our brain to make deliberate decisions, rather than the amygdala which engages our “freeze, fight and flight” reactionary system that develops during the first 15 months after we’re born.  As Tony Robbins reminded me recently through his program The Ultimate Edge, the brain likes patterns.   Since the neocortex – our conscious brain – learns through repetition, I’ve decided to create a ritual to help me cultivate more conscious awareness around my parenting by answering this question every day:

What does it mean to be a conscious parent today? 

Then I plan to complete this statement:   Conscious parenting means . . .

I will begin this ritual today by reflecting on a true story that happened this morning with my daughter Marisa.

It’s Monday morning, the beginning of a new week, and Marisa is going at her usual nice-and-easy pace.  An agreement we have in place is that you must be at the breakfast table by 7 am completely ready for school if you want to eat.  Marisa was a few minutes late.  On top of that, she hadn’t prepared her water bottle, lunch or snack, nor cleared out her backpack and school folder from Friday.  With only 15 minutes left before we had to leave, I was beginning to stress (you parents know what I mean).  I start dishing out the compliance statements with a firm tone, hoping that she would move like a Marine to my orders.  Not happening.  We head out the door at 7:23 with only 2 minutes to walk to school (it takes 5) and Marisa is trailing behind, limping due to some leg injury she was complaining about.  Angry, annoyed, and stressed, yet trying to keep my cool, I tell her “push yourself,” as I walk speedily up ahead with Grant.  She finally catches up, uneasy and breathing hard, after having been emotionally, mentally and physically ordered around for the last ½ hour and she’s beginning to break down into tears.  My response was totally unconscious, reactionary – to get tougher with her – and give her a distinct message that she  “learn from her mistakes.”  “When you go too slow at home, you’ll have to pick up the pace at the end.  That’s life.”  Marisa was in tears when we said goodbye and I felt terrible too.  We had managed to accomplish getting to school “on time,” but at what cost? 

I had a few minutes to think as I walked home (note my transition from amygdala to neocortex).  It is only because I am committed to being a conscious parent that I thought deeply about what had just happened with Marisa over the course of the morning.  When I “came to consciousness” I realized I had been operating from the amygdala – the unconscious brain – and had been totally reacting to everything, ultimately blaming Marisa for everything and had not taken responsibility as her mother to give her a helping hand during her time of need.  I don’t like being this way.  It was at this moment that I gave myself a deep breath, forgave myself for my mistake, and decided the answer to today’s question and share it with you.

Conscious parenting means not blaming my daughter for her mistakes; rather, it means being willing to respond to her with love, respect, and helpfulness, and to teach her how to meet her own needs.

Being a conscious parent isn’t easy.  It takes lots of energy, thought, and mindful actions.  But it’s worth it.  What’s the way to peace?  Peace is the way! (Ghandi)

I can’t wait to share with Marisa what I learned today!

I hope that my story inspires you to “pause and think” about how you’re being with your kids too. 

Please share your comments.


As I mentioned in my last post, if we truly want to see more peace in the world, we must begin at home with our children.  To do that, we must understand where our collective consciousness is around:

  • how we’re being with our children
  • our goals for ourselves as parents and for our children
  • the effectiveness of our parenting skills

What do you think it means to be a conscious parent?  Please share your heart and wisdom in the comment section and let’s get a worldwide “conscious parent conversation” going. 


Hi Everyone,

Yesterday was a special day for me.  I revealed my latest project – this blog – which is an expression of my heart, my vision, and my wishes for children.  My deep thanks to  all who paused to visit my blog, give me your wishes for me, and for those who dropped in during my peace event to share your wishes for children.  Below is a summary of the wishes I received yesterday on the International Day of Peace “Wishes for Children” Worldwide Telegathering.  I realize many of you may not have been able to participate in this Peace Event, so please feel free to post your wishes in the comment section above.

Why is it important to declare our wishes for children?  Because World peace begins in the home.   If we really truly want to see more peace in the world, we must begin at home with our children.  To do that, we must understand where our collective consciousness is around how we’re being with our children, our goals for our children, and the effectiveness of our parenting skills. 

Thanks to all who share in this vision and are taking action to cultivate peace in your home.

Wishes for Children

To feel free and free to feel
. – Cathy Northcutt, Mom, Coaching for Conscious Parenting and Wellness, San Diego, CA

That families everywhere reach out to learn tools to express feelings, work through conflicts, and to share love for one another fully. -Terri Martin, Mom, Family Therapist, San Diego, CA

That all children know they are as loved as my children know. Even if they don’t have parents, there is always God.  -Debbie Forward, Wife, Mother, Carlsbad, CA

That children would have more love and support from their parents and extended family relations, and less physical discipline. – Dani Wesolowski, Father, San Diego, CA

That children with learning disabilities would be recognized early in life and helped.  -Anonymous Human, Earth

To be listened to and heard, especially by their parents.  -Dan Northcutt, Father, San Diego, CA

To be seen, heard, loved, hugged, understood, and accepted as they are today, not as we wish them to be. They already are perfect. It is our expectations that make them appear “imperfect.”  –Denny Peralta, Mother, Carlsbad, CA

Please feel free to post your “wishes for children” in the “Comments ” section above.  


Cathy Northcutt
aka Coach Cathy
Conscious Loving Mother
Life & Family Coach
Certified Parent Educator 
Coaching for Conscious Parenting & Wellness
International Network for Children and Families

Hello Friends!

Well, here it is!!  Welcome to my new Conscious Parenting Universe Blog!

This blog is dedicated to all children and parents everywhere in the Universe on this International Day of Peace  as my peace-building contribution.

To celebrate this International Day of Peace, please join me today on a worldwide tele-conference call where we will declare our Wishes for Children.  Just call in anytime during the 30 minutes and declare your wishes for children all over the world.  Let’s evolve the world for our children in a direction of even more love, more peace, more understanding, more acceptance, and more freedom to express who we really are.  I will be facilitating the call and taking notes and will post them on this blog on Tuesday, September 22, so be sure to visit tomorrow!

International Day of Peace
“Wishes for Children”
Worldwide Tele-Conference
September 21, 2009
12:00 to 12:30 pm Pacific Time
Dial Conference # (712) 432-0111+ 701295#

For those who don’t know me

I’m Cathy Northcutt, a daughter, sister, friend, wife, mother and life coach dedicated to creating peaceful relationships between parents and children.  You can learn more about me in the “About” section of this blog or visit my website at

A vision from my heart

Today I am revealing a vision from my heart that I realized after a spiritual awakening in March 2008.  The Conscious Parenting Universe is an inspired vision that sees all children completely loved, acknowledged, appreciated, and valued for who they are, first and foremost by their parents.  If we are ever to experience World Peace, it must begin in the home.

It is my spiritual calling and highest honor to support this vision with a mission to educate and coach parents throughout the world towards the daily practice of conscious parenting.  The purpose of the Conscious Parenting Universe Blog is to be a universal gathering place for all parents and caregivers of children as well as those who serve parents and children around the world to learn, connect, share, empower and be inspired to interact consciously with children.  What exactly does this mean?   That is the work of this blog-based universal community: to explore, discover and shape The Conscious Parenting Universe, together.  

See my vision here –

This is my first slideshow of my family ! and reveals my vision for families: to enjoy the simple pleasures of daily life.  Stop, look and listen to your kids with open minds and open hearts.  Give them lots of hugs every day and help them feel how much they are loved, valued and appreciated.  These are the moments you will treasure when you look back upon your life and these are the moments – the Genuine Encounter Moments (GEMS) – that will help your children feel secure and successful in life.  And parents: please take my Redirecting Children’s Behavior course – this fun and interactive parenting class transformed my relationship with my kids and will yours too.  It’s one of the best investments I’ve ever made and your kids will be happy you did!  It’s available in-person or by teleclass.  Find details and current schedule at

How this blog works: 

  1. I post information, insights, stories and wisdom frequently that will include my personal posts and posts from other sources.
  2. You drop by and visit to learn, connect, share, empower and inspire others with your insights and wisdom.  Please post your comments when you visit.  If you would like to submit an article for posting on this blog, please email to  for submission guidelines. 
  3. Together we unite and raise awareness to cultivate a more peaceful universe for our children.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about my vision and this blog.  Please post your comments in the “Comments” section above – thank you!

Peace be with you, your children, and to all people everywhere.

Cathy Northcutt
“aka” Coach Cathy
Conscious Loving Mother
Life & Family Coach
Certified Parent Educator 
Coaching for Conscious Parenting & Wellness
International Network for Children and Families

  • None
  • Stacey: Some of my happiest childhood memories were spent around the dinner table. Sure, I bickered with my brother and occasionally wished I was able forsak
  • Kristy: Yes, this book is SO great. In fact, Sis, this blog is prompting me to read my book again (which you so lovingly gave me). Thanks for the idea! L
  • Dawn McMullin: When my children were born I was so young I really didn't know what it meant to be a MOTHER. I did know to show them my love, keep them safe in their