“Parenting a child is a two way street; I learn as much from my daughter, if not more, than she…

“Parenting a child is a two way street; I learn as much from my daughter, if not more, than she learns from me”, with Brenda Christensen and Dr. Ely Weinschneider

A good parent does their best to love, learn and teach — parenting a child is a two way street — and someone else said it much better than I: Teach your parents well. I learn as much from my daughter, if not more, than she learns from me. I am reminded that giving a child a fertile field to develop their intellect, likes, dislikes and most importantly, empathy, is the basis for good parenting.

Brenda Christensen, CEO of Stellar Public Relations, is a world leader in public relations, investor relations, branding, funding and corporate guidance for startups, Inc. 500 and Fortune 500 companies, with direct attributable growth worth over millions of dollars. She currently serves as an adviser on private boards in North America, and previously served as corporate officer for a leading publicly held technology company, across multiple continents.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us your “childhood backstory”?

I grew up in a household that was incredibly supportive and loving. My parents always had time to nurture and guide me throughout childhood’s many twists and turns. I believe one of the reasons for my success is having that incredible environment where I was loved unconditionally.

Can you share the story about what brought you to this specific point in your career?

I never envisioned being a working mom and even planned on having a writing career solely to care for my children easily with many gaps in employment. That never happened and the “little writing career” evolved into corporate ownership and board advisory roles.

Can you tell us a bit more about what your day to day schedule looks like?

Usually the first half of my day is devoted to clients but I take a middle of the day break with my daughter for absolute one-on-one time with no distractions. I am absolutely committed to her for a solid 2-hour block every day. And while other demands take me away throughout the day, I will drop everything to be with her, if needed.

Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. This is probably intuitive to many, but it would be beneficial to spell it out. Based on your experience or research, can you flesh out why not spending time with your children can be detrimental to their development?

Children are exceptionally intuitive and learn first and foremost through observation. In their early development, mimicking is a core activity of learning and emulation is paramount in their understanding of the world and their place in it. Giving time and attention to others, not just only children, is how we make special connection and bond. Through this bonding process, all else flows. The absence or void of real understanding through personal interaction is literally detrimental to brain development and general overall wellness.

On the flip side, can you give a few reasons or examples about why it is so important to make time to spend with your children?

Humanity is by its very nature social and socializing behavior is paramount to overall wellness, happiness and success. Studies have shown that those who forge friendships or deep personal relationships with family and partners live longer and prosper with an overall sense or feeling of well being.

According to this study cited in the Washington Post, the quality of time spent with children is more important than the quantity of time. Can you give a 3–5 stories or examples from your own life about what you do to spend quality time with your children?

Simply being in the same room with your child as opposed to being truly engaged with them can make a tremendous difference in their confidence and sense of self worth. I am always asking my daughter her opinions on everything I could think of — even the smallest of matters. Not only does this build self esteem, it also engages the brain in decision making exercise, all while providing validation and a centered context of who they are in the world and with others.

We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed and we may feel that we can’t spare the time to be “fully present” with our children. Can you share with our readers 5 strategies about how we can create more space in our lives in order to give our children more quality attention?

  1. As a pioneer in the productivity workflow software space, there are many tech tools (including AI) which can automate many tasks that before were never possible. Avail yourself of such tools to free up as much space in your life as possible for your family.
  2. I also find it helps to not only prioritize but also to listen to that still voice inside of you that knows when to say no and when to say yes.
  3. Another tactic is to take yourself outside and away from hectic and noisy environments. Find a peaceful park or quiet coastline — you’d be surprised how just a simple shift in scene can create many opportunities to be fully present.
  4. Get a solid night’s sleep of at least 8 hours — the extra time you rest and allow your brain to literally heal overnight will give you extra energy for highest-level tasks and more family time.
  5. Learn to relax and truly go with the flow. Our need to micro-control every last minutiae of our lives makes us miss out on the beauty that unfolds all around us in the randomness of events.

How do you define a “good parent”? Can you give an example or story?

A good parent does their best to love, learn and teach — parenting a child is a two way street — and someone else said it much better than I: Teach your parents well. I learn as much from my daughter, if not more, than she learns from me. I am reminded that giving a child a fertile field to develop their intellect, likes, dislikes and most importantly, empathy, is the basis for good parenting.

How do you inspire your child to “dream big”? Can you give an example or story?

I believe role models in STEM and other non-traditional fields for girls and letting boys discover their soft side whether it be dance or art is extremely important without judgement or negativity. I paint a big picture of possibility by exposing my daughter to a myriad of ideas, thoughts, concepts, worlds and diverse personalities through travel, books, media and others.

How do you, a person who masterfully straddles the worlds of career and family, define “success”?

Success to me is giving back to others with joy and feeling and receiving that joy in return. That is the true meaning of life — helping others and growing and learning together.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better parent? Can you explain why you like them?

I am a big fan of the classics and that includes Greek theater, Shakespeare and other traditional stories in folklore and literature. These timeless pieces, including fine art and multimedia, give examples of the human condition and rising above differences and challenges with character and love.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Treat others as you would like to be treated. It really is the Golden Rule. I’ve had the privilege of meeting and working with people from multiple backgrounds, places and cultures and we all want acceptance and love.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

As the daughter of a NASA scientist, I’ve always thought universally, not just globally. There’s not only one big world out there, there’s one really huge solar system. Sky’s not the limit!!

Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!

About the Author:

Dr. Ely Weinschneider is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist based in New Jersey. Dr. Ely specializes in adolescent and adult psychotherapy, parenting, couples therapy, geriatric therapy, and mood and anxiety disorders. He also has a strong clinical interest in Positive Psychology and Personal Growth and Achievement, and often makes that an integral focus of treatment.

An authority on how to have successful relationships, Dr. Ely has written, lectured and presented nationally to audiences of parents, couples, educators, mental health professionals, Clergy, businesses, physicians and healthcare policymakers on subjects such as: effective parenting, raising emotionally intelligent children, motivation, bullying prevention and education, managing loss and grief, spirituality, relationship building, stress management, and developing healthy living habits.

Dr. Ely also writes a regular, nationally syndicated column about the importance of “being present with your children”.

When not busy with all of the above, Dr. Ely works hard at practicing what he preaches, raising his adorable brood (which includes a set of twins and a set of triplets!) together with his wife in Toms River, New Jersey .

Dr. Ely is available for speaking engagements, and can best be reached via drelyweinschneider.com.


“Parenting a child is a two way street; I learn as much from my daughter, if not more, than she… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.