Family Coach. Mom. Teacher. Lover of Life.

Archive for December, 2014

Similarities Attract

It is no secret that compatibility is really important for a healthy relationship. The misnomer that opposites attract has gotten lots of us in trouble, so I was really curious to see just how compatible my husband’s character strengths are with mine.

I LOVE a good survey, and the VIA Character Strengths survey was a fun self-learning activity. I wasn’t, however, so sure that my dear husband would be so eager for a little self-reflection. Being the good guy he is, he agreed to take the survey. He agreed on one condition—I couldn’t peek at his screen as he went through the questions.  He also made it clear that he didn’t need my help, so I sat by quietly letting him do his thing. Once he was done, he was ready for us to compare notes.

Screen Shot 2014-12-26 at 6.53.20 PM

Not to toot my own horn, but that’s right…4 our of 5 of our core strengths are the same! Research shows that when people pick partners that share values and interests, they are happier in their relationships. No wonder we have made it 17 years and are going strong!

Even bus rides are fun in Hawaii!

Even bus rides are fun in Hawaii!

I’m pretty sure that if we had completed a movie genre compatibility survey we might not have been ranked as compatible. I’ll watch a Sci-Fi film to make him happy and he’ll happily surf the web next to me as I watch realty TV, but it turns out we are not compatible in all things. That is human. There are lots of couples that are highly compatible that have very different strengths. At the crux of a happy relationship is shared our values and interests. I was pleased to see that our character strengths lined up so well, and I think that speaks to our shared values.

What does this mean to me? I’m not sure there is research specifically about this, but I’m pretty sure it means that we are compatible and that I made a good choice 17 years ago. More importantly, though, it means that we are both making choices every day to make our relationship a priority and that over the past 17 years, we have grown closer and possibly more alike. And taking the VIA Character quiz with my husband was fun—it created a romantic moment and helped us feel connected.


Dr. Kim Allen is a Family Life Coach and Assistant Professor at North Carolina State University. She has been married to her husband for 17 years and they have two girls together.

Parenting in the Future Podcast 2: Gun Show

Gun Show:

Kim and Chris talk about their muscles; mental muscles, that is! In this episode, we learn about Kim and Chris’  expertise: parenting, relationships, technology, and family coaching. They talk about smart phones and children, life balance wheel, and happy relationships.

Referenced article:



Introducing Parenting in the Future Podcast

Logo for the podcast

Logo for the podcast

Parenting in the Future Episode 1: Allen Family

Bullying, Relationships, & Empathy

Kim and Chris talk about their experiences of bullying in response to the CDCs new definition of bullying; healthy relationships and using empathy as a way to get along; and they introduce themselves and talk about the goals of their new podcast.

Articles referenced:

ADHD Brain: no place for the mundane

Did you see the article called A Natural Fix for ADHD by Richard Friedman in the NY Times on Halloween? I saw it because my child’s curriculum assistance teacher sent me an email saying “It soooo makes me think of Fiona…especially when they mention the nomadic people. We are just talking about her traveling the world.” This post could go on to tell you how much I love Fiona’s curriculum assistance teacher. The fact that she is reading and thinking about my daughter at 11 pm is so telling to me, and I see why Fiona has success at school in great part due to her teacher.

Instead, however, I’m focusing on the content of the article and how it soooo makes sense! And it gives me hope for a very bright future for my daughter with ADHD and anxiety. I thought this was a great read and helps me see how my daughter is going to be able to create success for herself in adulthood. In fact, I can totally see how my kiddo will benefit from ADHD once she gets to choose her own environment. That is the take away I got from this article-ADHD is really hard for kids because they have to go to an institution that quite frankly is boring for their brain and body. At least that is true for Fiona. School and the mundaneness of life are quite boring to her. There are exceptions. She loves project based learning where she can incorporate her love of technology, such as the math project where she gets to put pictures of her beloved Anime characters on a poster.

The other aha I took from this article was a better understanding of Fiona’s total all-consuming desperate attempt to always be online. The section on technology makes so much sense as she is truly caught between two worlds; one with immediate gratification and intense imagery and stimulation (digital world) and one that is, well, not that. No wonder this kid complains daily about going to school. It is painful for her. She doesn’t fit in; she feels as if she doesn’t belong.

A poem on Fiona's Instagram account. One of many.

A poem on Fiona’s Instagram account. One of many.

A poem Fiona wrote during a sleepless night. One of many.

A poem Fiona wrote during a sleepless night. One of many.

Fiona has the type of brain and body that was essential back in the day of nomadic hunter and gatherers. In fact, that’s probably how our side of the family survived all these years in the first place. No offence, but my folk are not the super sharpest tools in the shed. We are, however, great at adaptability and work well with the land and hunting and gathering. (Well, not me. I would more likely starve to death than kill a live animal to eat. But then again, I’m the exception of my family in other ways as well, seeing as how I actually finished high school and excelled in academics. But that is another story for another day.)

I tell Fiona so often that it truly does get better. The older she gets, the more choices she has. Just this week she got to select her options for alternative high schools. She wants to learn welding at the career technical school. Doesn’t really fit with my ideas of how I would plan her life, but I love that she so clearly understands herself, and understands that she would be so much more successful in a school where she gets to use fire and hot metal to create art at school. And truthfully, that sounds so much better to me than having sitting in a math class, even one that let’s her print out anime pictures. She’s not made for sitting and listening. That’s what I love most about her, and what I want so most for her is to find an environment where her talents and natural abilities can shine, where she can be engaged, and .