Uplift Families Parenting Conference- My Experience

This conference was very informative and so much fun to be a part of. Going into this, I was a little nervous as I had never been to this conference before, especially as a blogger, and wasn’t quite sure what to expect (Kirsten had gone last year for the blog). But I was pumped to listen to some of the speakers as I have heard them before and they are spectacular.

I spent the week making some fun giveaways as my sisters and I were given the opportunity to set up a table to show how we “uplift families” on our blog. We enjoy spreading happiness through the blog and giving things away most definitely spreads a little happiness.insta uplift giveaway

The three of us got together and made these seed packets to give away to all passers by

and Kirsten had some peelers from t-fal-ingenio, as well as some cute framed “see the happy” signs. (I hate myself for not taking a picture of those before we gave them away, they were so cute)

Elisa and I got there early to set up the table and check in.  My husband was so sweet to be there with me as well, helping with anything he could.  We missed Kirsten, she is newly pregnant and so very sick.  I know the smells would have made her bonkers.

Dinner was delicious and WELL worth the $20 per couple: pulled pork with rice, teriyaki chicken, green salad, pasta salad, fresh pineapple and a roll.  I wish I had taken a picture of my plate just writing about it makes my mouth water.

After dinner we had a little bit of time to be at our table and meet lots of wonderful people and tell them about our blog.  For those who left their email address to subscribe to our blog, they got to draw for a prize (wood block, t-fal peeler, shirt, framed phrase, trash bag holders).  I loved the look on many of their faces when they found out what they won and were thrilled to walk away with a shirt or fun decor item.  There are so many talented and beautiful people out there from a horticulturist to cute college students part of a Family Science group in the community and other bloggers that we were able to meet there at the conference. I had so much fun talking to people as they came by our table.

** We had many people ask if they could buy a “see the happy” t-shirt, wood block, or framed sign.  We only came up with these items for this giveaway,  but so many people liked them that we will be looking into opening a shop with these items in it.  Stay tuned over the next few weeks to see what we come up with.**

On to the amazing speakers.  I want to share a little of what I took from the speakers for those of you who weren’t able to attend.  There was so much good information shared. (remember, these are just notes I was able to take so it isn’t word for word what they said, there was so much information)

First Mrs. Herbert, the First Lady of Utah spoke.  She shared some different parenting styles and how these styles might effect children.

  1. Uninvolved/ neglectful- these parents are relatively un-involved in their children’s lives.  They have few demands and are usually caught up in work, substance abuse or severe depression.  These parents take care of the basic needs of their children but the children usually end up “parenting the parents”.  The children raised in these homes are often times emotionally withdrawn, fearful and anxious,  they may not do well in school and are at an increased risk of substance abuse.
  2. Permissive-these parents are warm and loving but don’t really follow through with rules or limits. They are more kick back, letting the child make their own decisions , no matter the consequences.  They tend to be more of a friend than a parent. They may be caught up in their own lives  yet not neglectful.
    Children from these homes tend to lack self discipline and are more risk takers.  On a positive note, children tend to have higher self esteem, have better social skills and have lower levels of depression.
  3. Authoritarian-  This is also called “helicopter parenting” as the parents tend to hover and be a little over protective.  They are more strict and expect obedience.  This parent makes the child’s decisions for them.  They are very consistent with rules and won’t bend them for anything.  Children from this household are often anxious or withdrawn and suffer from self-esteem problems.
  4. Authoritative- This parenting style is typically observed as the most successful way of parenting.  These parents tend to be very involved with their children but have balance in the levels of control.  They set realistic expectations, are consistent with rules and allow for natural consequences and give love and understanding when needed.  They provide opportunities for independence as well.  Children raised by Authoritative parents are well rounded.  They tend to have high self esteem and social skills and work well with others.

Richard and Linda Eyre (keynote presenters):Parents of 9 children and authors of a dozen best-selling family-centric books.  They also speak all over the world in hopes to Fortify Families.

I just love these two.  They are so cute and funny and shared great ideas for being a better parent. A quote they had up on the screen about family:  “The joy outweighs the pain and the rewards outweigh the struggles.”

They started off by showing a few commercials where family life is used, this one being my favorite!

This cute commercial made me laugh and cry as I have experienced every one of these moments as a parent.

They showed a number of statistics. They were going so fast I only had a chance to write a few down, that show how unimportant family is becoming in the world.

  • More people are choosing not to get married
  • More children are born OUT of wedlock than in.
  • There has been a greater family decline in the last 40 years than in the previous 4,000
  • Less than half U.S. children live in a home with 2 heterosexual parents in their first marriage
  • divorce is on the rise…..

They said “in our world, the enemy is entitlement”  we need to be “creating strong family culture and turning ENTITLEMENT into GRIT.”

Entitlement= LACK OF motivation, gratitude, delayed gratification and satisfaction of work.

GRIT=work, determination, tenacity, identity,  and reputation. They gave 2 things to succeed in having GRIT:

  • A family narrative-this consists of traditions, rituals, identity, and deliberate patterns. To do this they say have family councils, create a family mission statement, share ancestor stories, create traditions (birthdays, holidays, Sundays, dinnertime).  In their family they have birthday traditions and their kids decided that Richard’s birthday tradition would be jumping in leaves, since his birthday is in the fall.  Later when some of his kids were grown and off at college or out of the country, he received a leaf in the mail saying that even though they weren’t near him they still carried out the tradition of jumping in leaves for his birthday.  Linda said that “traditions are the glue that holds families together.”
  • A family economy- Get kids out of their bubble, help them see others and how different we all are.  Take them to soup kitchen or somewhere they can serve others who are less fortunate.  Allow them to earn money through chores and be consistent.

They gave a few websites to check out- valuesparetning.com, Eyresfreebooks.com, eyrealm.com, 71toes.com,

Deanna Lambson has lots of experience teaching kids as an elementary school teacher, mother of 6, and PTA volunteer for over 22 years.

She talked about how to help children be safe on the internet.  She developed a fun and empowering White Ribbon Week program for her children’s school.  You can see that program here if you would like to use it at your child’s school.

She says we need to prepare kids for online pornography by giving them a safe place to talk about it.

  1. Tell them it is totally normal to be curious about our bodies and sex and that everyone deserves respect.
  2. Teach them what pornography is- pictures of naked people or people having sex that people share online for money.  It can hurt you when you look at it, it’s not real love.  real love is tender, private, sweet and wonderful.
  3. What to do when they see it.  She has a tic-tac-toe rule in her family.  Obviously you want to turn it off immediately.  Then, in her family they have a rule that if you have seen pornography try to tell  one another within 10 minutes.  By telling someone it is the best way for our brains to let it go.   And last, turn to something active-  this also help get your mind off it.

Now, when your child has seen it how should you react?  Don’t over react, breath and stay calm “help me to understand…” “what did you see?” Express love, remove shame and make a plan.

Dr. Jackie Thompson is the Coordinator of the Educational equity Department in Davis School District and recieved her Doctorate Cegree in Education from Utah Sate University.

She talked about the importance of culture.  She read some books about respecting others one of them being  “I Show Respect” by David Parker . (I need to read this to my kids, might be a great Family Home Evening topic).  She ended with this Chinese proverb that I really like.

Dr. Gregory A. Hudnall is considered one of Utah’s leading experts in community and school-based suicide prevention, intervention and postvention.

He said the leading cause of death between 15-49 years of age is suicide, it even surpasses cancer.

Warning Signs of suicide:

Depression              mood swings                lack of interest           acting recklessly             aggression

visiting/calling people to say goodbye        talks about killing themselves        withdrawn

isolating from family and friends                  talks about feeling trapped

Dr. Hudnall shared a website where peers can be trained in helping others who might be thinking of suicide at www.hopesquad.com

This is a list of this that help avoid suicide:

  1. Family cohesion
  2. Contentedness
  3. Problem solving skills
  4. Religiosity- when a part of a religion one feels connection and support
  5. Restriction access to lethal means such as weapons and drugs
  6. Access to appropriate mental health care

What can you do if you think someone is suicidal? QPR

  • Q-Question- “are you thinking of suicide?”
  • P-Persuade- “I’m concerned about you”
  • R-Refer- “let’s get help together”

They have a SAFEUT app for those living here in Utah to put on their phone to get help when suicide is possible.  A number to call in Utah to get help is 801-587-3000

Dr. Paul Jenkins works with organizations and individuals to establish and maintain habitual patterns of positive perception and focus to increase happiness, engagement, productivity, profit, and ultimate achievement of professional and personal life missions.  With two decades of experience as a professional psychologist, Dr. Paul (as he is known to clients and his laughing,learning audiences) lays out the how and the why behind the art and science of being constructive in an often destructive environment.

(Now with this one I know I won’t be able to do it justice but here is what I have.)

When evaluating a situation we compare it with some standard.  So the situation is WHAT IT IS.  He then shared a situation to evaluate by reading this letter after saying, ” imagine walking down the hall of your home and you walk by your 15 yr old’s door that is slightly ajar and you see that there is nothing on the floor and his bed is made, this being quite unusual, you look around inside and find an envelop on the bed that says DAD, you open it and read”:

Dear Dad,
It is with great regret and sorrow that I’m writing you. I had to elope with my new girlfriend, because I wanted to avoid a scene with Mom and you. I’ve been finding real passion with Stacy, and she is so nice. However, I knew you would not approve of her because of her piercings, tattoos, and tight motorcycle clothes. Also, she is so much older than me. 
But it’s not only the passion, Dad. She’s pregnant. Stacy said that we will be very happy. She owns a trailer in the woods and has a stack of firewood for the whole winter. We share a dream of having many more children. 
Stacy has opened my eyes to the fact that marijuana doesn’t really hurt anyone. We’ll be growing it for ourselves and trading it with other people in the commune for all the cocaine and ecstasy we want. 
In the meantime, we’ll pray that science will find a cure for AIDS, so Stacy can get better. She sure deserves it! 
Don’t worry, Dad. I’m 15, and I know how to take care of myself. Someday, I’m sure we’ll be back to visit, so you can get to know your many grandchildren. 
P.S. Dad, none of the above is true. I’m over at Jason’s house. I just wanted to remind you that there are worse things in life than the school report that’s on the kitchen table. Call when it’s safe for me to come home! 

WHAT IT IS is always between BETTER and WORSE.  The father is thrilled that it is just a bad report card rather than his son eloping with an ex-con.  Looking at what could be worse brings positive thoughts about WHAT IT IS.  But if the father thought about how it could be better like his son getting straight A’s, that would bring on feelings of anger and frustration.

Anxiety=imagining that what’s coming is worse than what you already have

Hope=imagining that what’s coming is bet than what you already have

Gratitude= being grateful for what you’ve got.  A couple of ideas on how to do this

  1. 25/5- write down 25 things you are grateful for in 5 days.  Take it a step further, think of something that brings you stress(a job, a child).  Now write 25 things in 5 days that you are grateful for about that thing.
  2. Be intentional about being better by a certain time each day.  Say you choose 6pm, then intentionally do something (service, learn something useful, mark something off your to do list) to be better.

Dr. Paul wrote a book called Pathological Positivity.  If this book is anything like what we got here, I am totally going to read it.  Oh I wish you all could have been there because his personality and the way he told it really made what he said more understandable.

So that was all the speakers.  After they thanked all the sponsors that made this night possible at $20 per couple they gave away a few prizes and then we headed back outside for dessert and more visiting.  We gave away more prizes and met more wonderful people.  We had to make sure Elisa got her Eyre books signed, you just can’t pass up that chance! and then we headed home.

It was a very enjoyable night and I will be sure to get tickets next year.  I think I will be working with my family to make a family mission statement and new traditions.  I know I need to share more ancestor stories or even just stories from my childhood.  I will work to be more positive and will be more intentional about being better.