Tired of Feeling Guilty? Here’s your guide to show up calm and confident every time

Are you tired of “losing it” with your daughter and then feeling guilty?

If you’re like most parents, those contentious interactions leave you feeling disconnected, exhausted and totally frustrated.

You understand that your teenage daughter is managing a lot these days – BUT SO ARE YOU.

It’s not always easy to show up the way you want to when a tough situation arises.

Wanting tools and strategies to navigate the turbulent teen years – that are simple and effective – are the number one request from my clients.

My Rapid Response Guide© is designed to help you stay “in neutral” so you’re ready for anything that comes your way.

This 3-part series will walk you through HOW TO show up calm and confident and emotionally available for your teen.

Rapid Response Guide Part One

What’s the best approach to staying “in neutral” and creating the environment necessary to have those calm, effective conversations?

Preventing yourself from going into Fight, Flight or Freeze.

When the sh*t hits the fan, the first thing you’ll want to do is STOP AND CHECK IN.

Ask yourself, what’s happening – in this moment – that’s effecting my reaction?

These 5 Rapid Response Questions* are designed to prevent you from going into a fight, flight or freeze reaction by keeping you focused on the moment.

To begin:

Hold your hand out in front of you.

Then extend the following fingers as you ask yourself the questions:

1.) Begin with your THUMB – what’s my mood right now and how is it effecting the situation?

2.) Next, extend your POINTER finger – what am I focusing on right now – options and opportunities or only the problems?

3.) Extend your MIDDLE finger – what’s the story I’m telling myself right now, is it based on facts or interpretations?

4.) Extend your RING finger – do I need support right now and where can I find what I need?

5.) Extend your PINKY finger – what’s one small action I can take right now to shift my perspective?

Need even greater clarity?

SCALE YOUR ANSWERS from 1 to 10 to see what’s causing your increased stress response.

If you find yourself stuck at a 10 because you’re focusing only on the problem, it’s going to be hard to see your options and how to reconcile the situation.

Go through the questions again.

What else may be influencing your reaction?

Is it helpful to find ONE SMALL ACTION you can take to bring your 10 down to a 5?

Ready to impress your daughter?


  • Learning a new skill takes practice
  • Take time to familiarize yourself with these questions in a quiet moment by reflecting on a past problem
  • Then walk yourself through the questions

Once you have this process down, you’re going to feel great because your positive interaction will foster a deeper understanding of one another.

*5 Rapid Response Questions adapted from Robbins-Madanes

Boulder’s Daily Camera features my Rapid Response Guide:

Parent Engagement Network tackles stress and anxiety

By Amy Bounds

Staff Writer

POSTED:   01/27/2019 08:55:29 PM MST

UPDATED:   01/27/2019 09:09:20 PM MST

Avani Dilger is asking people to fall in love with their anxiety, to tap into the energy and see it as a superpower that can help.

“We say to kids and parents, at this point in the world, if you have anxiety, you are more intelligent, more sensitive and more caring,” said Dilger, who started Boulder’s Natural Highs program for teens and is a licensed professional counselor. “How do we tap into this energy?”

Her workshop was part of the Parent Engagement Network’s third annual symposium on stress and anxiety held over the weekend at Louisville’s Monarch High School.

About 140 people attended the two-day event designed to “address the impact that stress and anxiety is having on people’s day-to-day experience of life.”

“We had a lot of people talking to us, saying their children were stressed and parents were stressed,” said Shelly Mahon, Parent Engagement Network’s executive director. “This is an effort to bring our whole community together to address an important issue.”

She said the symposium has expanded from a half day of teaching quick techniques to help manage stress in the first year to this year’s two-day event that combines techniques with information.

“Participants wanted more than just techniques,” she said. “They want to understand.”

Parent Jasmine Rodriguez said she learned tools to help with resilience, tolerance and stress management that she can use now with her young children and into their teen years.

“It’s hard not to want to go to every session,” she said.

The symposium offered a selection of about 45 classes and workshops, some in Spanish, on topics that included “Creating Authentic Connections with Your Teen,” “Fight or Flight Therapy” and “The Gut-Brain Connection.”

Shawna Warner, founder of Cultivating Resilient Teens, led a session on how parents can stay “in neutral” when responding to teens and pre-teens.

“I really, truly believe we are stronger as parents together,” she said.

One tip she offered is to ask if the teen just wants someone to listen or instead wants support or advice.

One mom said she will say the advice she really wants to give only in her head. Another mom said she’ll ask if her teen wants a monologue or a dialogue.

To stay calm when faced with a teen making a bad choice, Warner offered suggestions on how to avoid going into “fight, flight or freeze” mode and encouraged focusing on how to make the conversation feel safe for the teen.

“Nothing good happens when you’re freaking out,” she said. “In those calm conversations is where you get the gems and nuggets of what’s really going on.”

In the “Turn Anxiety into Your Superpower” session, Dilger talked about the brain being designed in the stone age with reactions to keep you alive — and how the brain remained the same even as the world changed.

“There’s very often a disconnect between how our brain works and the modern world,” she said. “If your survival mechanism in 2019 is playing dead, that’s not working for you.”

She then led participants through an exercise to release the survival energy, or anxiety and stress, that’s built up by pushing against each other or a wall and vocalizing what they’re feeling.

Participant Vasi Smith, a student teacher at Boulder Community School of Integrated Studies, said she appreciated a novel way of thinking about stress.

“We think of stress as a negative, but it’s energy,” she said. “I can use it to help me.”

Amy Bounds: 303-473-1341, boundsa@nulldailycamera.com or twitter.com/bound


Subscribe to blog (it's free) and and Discover: Is your teen daughter resilient enough for all of life's adventures?

Posted in: Parenting Tips