She devotes her time and energy to improve the lives of children. Anne Kristine Aksnes is a former kindergarten teacher turned writer, coach and public speaker. She is the founder and CEO of Aksnes Invest AS and the brand “Anne Aksnes”. After having kids herself, Anne struggled to find the methods that really work, and felt there was a need for family guidance. This led her to become a coach herself. Anne teaches effective strategies to overwhelmed parents on how to deal with kids who don’t listen, kids who are stressed. She also advises parents on how to generally improve the parent-child relationship. She is not only helping kids and families, but also empowering women as the director of Global Woman Club Oslo.
- Did you always know you wanted to work with kids and families?.No, I didn’t. I’ve always loved to help others and I loved taking care of everyone around me. I wanted for everyone to be happy, and when I was a teenager, I was the girl who the others would come to with problems and needs. It made me feel good to help others, and it gave me a sense of being valuable and loved.
I’ve also always loved animals, and for a few years I actually dreamt about becoming a veterinarian. But I wanted a lot of children and when I was around 14 years old my dream was to have a farm and 12 children. I have no idea how I came up with that number and today it’s quite funny to remember.
When time came for me to choose my education I was in love and wanted to study close to where he lived, so I became a teacher instead of a veterinarian.
What motivated you to become a coach and how did you get started?
My passion for helping has always been there, and it continued to grow. I grew up under quite though circumstances, and there was so much bad stuff in my childhood that I started asking myself “why” things happened. I really wanted to understand why things were the way they were, and as I got older I wanted to understand why people became the person they became. When I was 21 I had already started coaching people, which were mostly people my age, young adults. And I loved it. Every time I was able to help someone, it filled me with an amazing feeling of love and fulfilment. And every time I got stuck and couldn’t help, I just had to find the answer to why I didn’t manage to help them. This became the motivation for me to learn, grow and understand more and more.
- Like in any relationship, the relationship between parents and their children also needs to be maintained. What are some of the strategies families should use to maintain a good relationship with each other?.One of the most important strategies for maintaining a good relationship is to spend time together. This is challenging for many as the children get into their teens but it’s so important. A good tip would be to plan to spend time together at least once a week. Schedule a couple of hours and allow everyone to decide what to do. One chooses the activity one week, while the other next week. Remember that you as a parent get to choose as well.
Another strategy would be to communicate well. If you as a parent are able to communicate with your child in such a way that they know that you love them and accept them, and if you create a safe place for your child, then they will come to you regardless of what’s going on and what they have experienced.
- As a coach, what are some of the things parents should avoid with their kids?The number one mistake I see when it comes to parents and children is that parents fail when it comes to communication. In the course I’ve created, I’ve dedicated an entire week to the topic of communication and another week to the window of tolerance. The reason why is that those two things – combined with which parenting style you have as a parent – will determine your relationship with your child, and also whether they will be happy and fulfilled when they’re grown up.
As a parent, you should avoid treating your child as someone to control. A good relationship is built on acceptance, love, kindness and respect and it’s possible to have those values in the relationship with your child while you are also the parent.
If you remember that your child is a person with their own talents, gifts and personality, and if you value them for the one they are, you have come a long way when it comes to doing things the right way.
- If a child does not behave and listen, we might speak of a “difficult child”. Do you think there is such a thing as an inherently “difficult child” or is he/she just a product of the environment?I am convinced that there is no such thing as a difficult child, and in my first book I spent quite some time on that concept.
Imagine being a child again. Remember how it felt when your parents where pleased with you. That’s how it is with every child. The same way that we want for others to like us, children want for that too. No one wants to be excluded or rejected, and children crave their parents love and attention.
Whenever a child is misbehaving, there’s a reason to it. They might be scared, tired, feeling insecure or worried, or they might be upset because of something that happened earlier and which they remember now.
In order to figure out what is really going on you have to ask yourself “Why?” Get behind the behavior and be assured that your child is not misbehaving in order to give you a hard time.
- You have kids yourself. What is your personal secret to having a great relationship with your kids? Love and acceptance is one secret. Not acceptance of behavior, but of them as individuals and human beings. They know that I love them and that I want what’s best for them.
Being open and authentic is another secret. I have been very open with my children and I share my experiences and thoughts with them. It has to be age appropriate though and as a parent it is our job to protect our children from unnecessary worrying. But by being vulnerable I have taught my children that being vulnerable is ok and safe.
Being honest is another secret. By being honest and living with integrity, I have proved to my children that they can trust me. And by loving them, I have created a safe place for them to be themselves. Me and my children now have a wonderful friendship, though I’m still their mother.
It makes me so happy when I see others achieve the same with their child.