The Parenting Coach Podcast with Crystal

S06|12 - Creating a Family Brand (and strengthening difficult marriages) with Melissa Smith

May 01, 2023

Melissa Smith is a wife, and mother of 5. She is a nurse, turned entrepreneur and co-creator with her husband, Chris, of Family Brand. Family Brand is a program and a movement to help families intentionally grow together, design a life they love, and create and build relationships that last. While separated and nearly divorced years ago, she and her husband decided to change destructive narratives and rebuild with intention. Now they’re helping others take back their families too. Melissa also co-hosts Family Brand, a podcast that debuted at number two in the Kids and Family category on Apple.

In this episode:

  • Chris and Melissas touching story of their rough first years of marriage
  • What helped heal their relationship
  • How being intentional about relationships created the Family Brand
  • How to use values to help strengthen your family and build a string narrative for your children to hold on to

Connect with Melissa:
Family Culture Quiz: HERE
Our Family Brand "Level-Up Your Family Program"
Family Brand Podcast on Apple: HERE


The retreat is coming up! Join us** click here

Coaching has changed my own life, and the lives of my clients. More connection, more healing, more harmony, and peace in our most important relationships. It increases confidence in any parenting challenges and helps you be the guide to teach your children the family values that are important to you- in clear ways. If you feel called to integrate this work in a deeper way and become a parenting expert, that’s what I’m here for.

Triggers Workshop: click here
Get the BOOK HERE:
Join the next round of PARENT SCHOOL:
Find Your Parenting Personality: Quiz Here
Email me at [email protected]
Information about the retreat: click here

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Episode Transcript


Crystal The Parenting Coach: Hi, I'm Crystal The Parenting Coach. Parenting is the thing that some of us just expected to know how to do. It's not like other areas of your life where you go to school and get taught, get on the job training, or have mentors to help you, but now you can get that help here.

I believe that your relationship with your children is one of the most important aspects of your life, and the best way that you can make a positive impact on the world and on the future. I've made parental relationships my life study, and I use life coaching tools, emotional wellness tools, and connection-based parenting to build amazing relationships between parents and their children.

If you want an even better relationship with your child, this podcast will help you. Take my Parenting Quiz, the link is in the show notes. Once we know what your parenting style is, we will send some tips tailored to you and a roadmap to help you get the most out of my podcast. I invite you to help me spread the word by sharing your favorite episode on social media or with a friend.


Don't forget to check out my new mindset journal for parents at, which will help you to parent calm, confident children that you love to be around. 


What Melissa Smith does, and how she got started

Creating a Family Brand (and strengthening difficult marriages) with Melissa Smith

Melissa Smith is a wife, and mother of 5. She is a nurse, turned entrepreneur and co-creator with her husband, Chris, of Family Brand. Family Brand is a program and a movement to help families intentionally grow together, design a life they love, and create and build relationships that last. While separated and nearly divorced years ago, she and her husband decided to change destructive narratives and rebuild with intention. Now they’re helping others take back their families too. Melissa also co-hosts Family Brand, a podcast that debuted at number two in the Kids and Family category on Apple. 


Hello everyone. Welcome to today's podcast episode. I am really excited to introduce you to my friend. We met when we were in Hawaii in real life, but we met online on Instagram, I don't know how long ago. I've been on her podcast also. 

So, I'm actually going to let Melissa introduce herself and tell us a little bit about what she does; and then we'll dig into the conversation, but it's going to be super interesting. So, if you are interested in learning more about marriage relationships and family values, this conversation will be for you. 

So, hi Melissa. Thanks for being here.


Melissa Smith: Thank you, Crystal. I'm excited. By way of an introduction, I am Melissa. I am married to Chris. We have five kids, ages 6 to 15; and we have a podcast called Family Brand. 

We have a program called Family Brand also; and we will get into this in a little bit about what Family Brand actually is, but it's a program essentially for families on how to build stronger families, create more attention and adventure, and just a life that you really love as a family.


Crystal The Parenting Coach: Yeah, I love it. I love it. I think that is actually how I found you because I think I follow Abby Aers – is that how you say her last name, Aers? 


Melissa Smith: Mm-Hmm. 


Crystal The Parenting Coach: And she had shared about you on her Instagram; and I went over there and was like, 'Oh, this is so good.' And I followed you for a while, and was like, this is-- It's just so aligned with everything that I teach and talk about on my podcast and my Instagram. And so, I knew it was going to be such a good collaboration. 

And then we both ended up having kids exactly the same age, and both ended up being in Hawaii at the same time with our kids. We both love traveling; and our oldest kids are both taking college right now. While they're in high school, they're doing college courses. So, there was just a lot of alignment there also. 

So, I was excited to have this conversation. One thing that I've noticed has been coming up – at least for me, for my clients, for what I've like seen in my life and my friendships and family – is that a lot of people are struggling in their like partner relationships and having healthy communication – and just really feeling safety and connectedness within the partner relationship.

So, I talk a lot about families and parenting and whatnot, and I don't talk as much about that relationship; and I think that all the principles that I teach apply to both for sure. But I was really interested on your Instagram stories a few times you've talked about your relationship with Chris and how it's kind of changed over the years. 

And your family now is just so lovely and so, obviously, connected, and just wonderful. And so, it's easy to look at people like that with families like that and be like, 'Oh, they must have always been that way.' 

And I know for me that is not the case; I really struggled through my parenting for so many years. And you've opened up about that not being always the case for you and for your husband, Chris. 

So, if you're comfortable, I would love to hear a little bit more about that story. 


Melissa Smith: Yeah, and I do-- We've decided that we will share openly our struggles and our story because I feel like, oftentimes, this conversation about having, I think it's getting better.

But I feel like sometimes this is like a taboo subject and say like, I'm struggling in my marriage, and to not even know where to turn or feel like you're the only one that's ever gone through that or is going through that. 

Now, we make it a really strong point that we will talk about our journey, the highs and the lows. 


Crystal The Parenting Coach: I think it is-- I think that's so important because I've talked to so many women in private who I haven't coached, but who were just like, 'Oh, I would be super open to hiring a therapist or a counselor or a coach – but my husband's kind of like, we don't fix it…no, there's nothing broken.' 

Even admitting that there's something that needs help or support almost feels like shameful. And I think that does come from generations before us of like, everything stays in the--  

Like it's all kind of like shameful, small, hidden. We don't talk about that there is problems, even though in reality every single human deals with these issues. Like we all-- Like, we're all human; we all make mistakes. We're all just like trying to figure it out. And so, I think part of un-shaming parenting, un-shaming living, un-shaming marriage is bringing it to light, is telling our stories. 


Chris and Melissa's touching story of their rough first years of marriage

Melissa Smith: Totally. And I feel like to your point, when it-- Our story, I guess, is we were married really young; I think I was 20, and my husband was 22. And then after the birth, you know, I think four years or so passed, and we were happy enough, I guess you would say – but definitely, we didn't date very long. 

And we just-- After the birth of our second son, like right after the birth – and that was like that six-week postpartum moment –my husband came home and was like, "I'm not happy, I don't want to be married anymore." 

And I was like-- I knew that we weren't connecting well at that moment, but I just had chalked it up to, most like, 'Well, we just had a baby, and there's so much going on.' 

But I was-- But I didn't see that coming in that way, as far as like, I am ready to be done. And I was totally devastated by it. 

But I think a lot of times in marriage, what I've found since then is that it won't, as long as-- He was ready to give up on the marriage – but I, for whatever reason at that moment, felt like, 'No, it's not time.' 

And so, when it came to finding a counselor and things he was like, he was going to go along with it just so he could say like…check that box, basically.

Like, "Okay, we saw a counselor," check the box, now we can--  


Crystal The Parenting Coach: Oh, my goodness; I could tell you so many stories that I know exactly like that that were like, 'Okay, we'll go once.'

Once they've already decided in their mind it's over, it's done – and literally only saw a counselor one time…just to be like, not change my mind, it's over


Melissa Smith: Yeah. We did that. Yes. And so, I think that-- I don't-- Whenever I talk about this, I feel like I have to give this – I don't know – this big about like; no, I don't feel like every marriage should be saved or every marriage should stay together

But for ours, I felt very strongly that ours was a marriage that I wasn't ready to give up, give up on yet. And so, we saw a counselor one time; and I didn't like that counselor, and neither did Chris. 

And so, I, you know, went back online; and I started researching more counselors, and then another counselor stuck out to me that I was like, 'No, I think this is-- I think we need to try it one more counselor.'

And I've since learned that when going to find a counselor, especially like in a marriage, it is important to like build that rapport. And sometimes you get there, and you don't build like that relationship right away. So, it's, it's okay to like shop around a little bit until you find somebody you connect. 


Crystal The Parenting Coach: Oh, it's more than okay. In fact, I think you should do that. And so, you're not just like with a therapist for a year or more; and not getting any results or any change happening because there really isn't that connection or it's not effective for you. So, that is-- That is very good advice.


What helped heal their relationship

Melissa Smith: Yeah. The second counselor that we saw, the first session that we had with them, we came together – Chris and I came together to that. Well, we drove separately, but we came to the appointment together. We were separated at time. We decided to separate; and he was living with some of our friends, and I was staying home with our two toddlers. 

And we just connected with this gentleman in a way that we hadn't with the other one. And I feel like he saw us like as a couple; and he asked us our story and we told him our story, and how we had met and everything. And he just told us like, "I think you have something worth fighting for." 

And no one had been willing to tell us that before. Like everyone was willing to be like, 'Well, whatever you think, and we'll support you.' But I think so desperately we needed someone to be like, you have something worth fighting for. 

And he saw Chris individually; like Chris was struggling. I always get like emotional about this; Chris was like struggling. I was struggling, of course – but he saw each of us and was able to like pour into us individually and as a couple. 

And we didn't even see him that long, but that really changed things for us. And of course, it was a longer, from there, like rebuilding – but that was like a huge changing point for us. 


Crystal The Parenting Coach: That is so beautiful that he was able to like see you both individually and see the relationship, and have that belief for you because when we don't have that belief, it's really hard to try and like push through. 

And especially there's so many other outside opinions on, like, you tell them the story and they're like, 'Oh no, that's not okay.' Or, 'This is okay.' 


Melissa Smith: Totally. 


Crystal The Parenting Coach: Or like, 'You should work on it,' or 'You shouldn't'. And everybody else seems to be really opinionated about how you should live your life. 


Melissa Smith: Yes, totally. 


Crystal The Parenting Coach: And so, it can kind of get in the way of your own inner story, but I love that you knew that you weren't ready to give up on it; and that you worked and tried to find something that worked, and that you kind of followed your own intuition to find that-- to find that person. 


Melissa Smith: Totally. Yeah. He was a blessing, such a blessing in our life that we did find him. And I think that if you're-- You know, if you're in that place like that, it feels like such a desperate place when your marriage is really struggling, and it feels like so many--  

I feel like when that part…like when your marriage or partnership with your significant other isn't working, I think it affects so many things in your life. 

Like, it shows up in so many ways; like it shows up in your parenting, and it shows up in your work and all of your other relationships. It's really challenging when that one relationship isn't working, how it affects so many other things. 


Crystal The Parenting Coach: I think that everything is so much more interconnected, right? It's like, my back is sore and then like my knee kind of gets pulled out when I'm like walking because my back's not-- We know that everything in our body is interconnected. 

Like one thing affects another thing affects the other thing; and I think it's so true with our life too. If one thing is like out of balance or out of alignment, it's going to affect every other area of your life also. And if that one thing gets back in alignment, you feel it everywhere, in every other aspect. 

So, you're here, you're seeing a therapist, things are still rough, but you're like believing in it, working on it; what happens next? 


Melissa Smith: Yeah, I think for-- When people ask me this, they're like, "So, what did you do?" 

I'm like, how do I adequately describe this in like a very short amount of time? Because it wasn't-- I wouldn't say it was any one thing, but if I could say like one big idea from there, I think we realized that I needed, or; I got to work on me and Chris got to work on Chris and becoming the person that we wanted to be individually – like the best versions of ourselves. 

And I think that as we worked on that, that that is what made the biggest difference because it wasn't about-- I think a lot of our marriage had been like, well, if you wouldn't do this, then I wouldn't do this; and if it wasn't this way, then it wouldn't be that way. But it's like taking 100% responsibility each of us individually for the marriage as it was, and for the creation of how we wanted it to be and how we wanted our lives to look after – after that going forward.

Crystal The Parenting Coach: So, I occasionally coach couples – either on parenting or on their relationship – and that is literally what I start off with. 


Melissa Smith: Really?


Crystal The Parenting Coach: I'm like, 'This is not your together work that needs healing, it's our own inner self work,' because as we work on a relationship with ourselves…then we're coming to that relationship from like a healed, more emotionally responsible emotionally mature space. 

And so, I find that when there's like-- Because there's a lot of prescriptive marriage advice out there of like, even like reflective listening…like say like, "I feel this when you do this"; and make sure you're looking at them in the eyes, and you take time for date nights. Like they're giving you really specific things to do. 

And then some people are like, "Well, this isn't really working," or it feels inauthentic. I think it's so much more effective than instead of doing that advice, to take time to do whatever your own inner healing is. 

Like not even finding a marriage therapist; you can just find somebody for you too, and they can find somebody for them or whatever healing modality feels right for each of you. But I do think it is that self-healing that then you can come together as these whole people, and you just naturally communicate effectively. 

You don't have to worry about; how do I do reflective listening, and how do I make sure that they're feeling validated? Like, I think it just happens more naturally; healthy communication just kind of comes naturally from that space. 


Melissa Smith: Yeah. I totally agree. I do still-- We had this guest on our podcast last fall talking about conflict resolution in marriage. And I was like, 'Oh, I'm taking some really good things away from this that I didn't even know.' Like I think there are-- Those skills can be-- To learn some of those skills can be important. 

But as a big picture, first off, I love that you start there because I think that that is so true. 


Crystal The Parenting Coach: Yeah, because you can try to use those tools, but they can still come across as being really inauthentic. I remember like pulling out a phrase that I was taught to use, I don't remember what it was, but it was from some Brené Brown training that I was taking. And my husband was like, 'You got that from Brené Brown, that is not from you.' 

He was like, 'That doesn't even sound like you, just tell me what you want to tell me.' 


Melissa Smith: You're right. 


Crystal The Parenting Coach: And I was like, 'Okay, fine.' 

And he was like, 'You don't ever have to use scripts on me.' 

And I'm like, 'Okay, okay, let's just have a conversation.' 

But anyway, but I do think there are some helpful tools. Like I'll learn something and I'll be like, 'Oh, that's so good, that's something that can really be helpful.' 

But I think so much more than that is like our own inner self-work, whatever you want to call it – our own inner healing. 


Melissa Smith: Totally. 


Crystal The Parenting Coach: And when we get to that space, that's what really heals that relationship. 


How long it took to heal their relationship

Crystal The Parenting Coach: How long do you feel like it took you – as you're going through this process of working on you and him working on him, and together? 


Melissa Smith: So, before we started recording, I mentioned that at this time, I came across this statistic that said that they were interviewing couples that rated their marriage or their relationship as unhappy. I think it was actually labeled as extremely unhappy

When they interviewed these couples, the sample five years later, couples that had chosen to stay together to continue to work on their marriage, 87% of them rated their marriage as extremely happy five years later. 

And I remember when I first read that statistic – this is like during our darkest moments of separation – feeling really hopeful that 87% of these couples were happy five years later, after they'd started this experiment, I guess you would say. 

But also realizing five years was a really long time. Like when you're in the middle of it, five years seems like forever. Like we hadn't even been married five years at that point, so to think like more than doubling the length of our marriage up to that point…it was like, that is a really long time. 

But that totally gave me hope to be like, 'Okay, we can find happiness…like, I know we can.' And it's not-- It's not just like this outlier…like that; we can do it, but like, no one actually does it. It was like, 'No, 87% of these couples, found happiness, created happiness in their marriage.' 

And so, I would say, I had then my newborn; and then-- It wasn't this like linear, like, every day is getting better; it was like up-and-down and up-and-down. But I'd say as a whole--  


Crystal The Parenting Coach: I think that is always how it goes, by the way; to say that we want it to be like linear progression where we can look back and be like, 'Last week was worse, and this week is better…and it's better.' And I just don't think it works like that.


Melissa Smith: Yes, absolutely not, but that can feel so discouraging. But it was, we had another baby like three years later – but prior to having her, we decided like, 'Okay, are we-- are we in this? Are we in this marriage? Are we doing this? Are we sticking together, no matter what?' 

And so, that had us-- The thought of having a new baby, I think really-- It was before we decided to have a new baby, we were having these conversations and we decided, 'Yeah, we're going to do it…we're going to create a life together.'

And yeah. So, like I said, we had a baby – another baby about three years later – but I would say probably two-and-a-half years or so, like consistent effort and attention. 

And even since then, it's like we know the risks. I just feel like now I approach my marriage in such a different way than I would have if we had never been through any of that before. 

So, I feel like even from that point, it's like; we're still having our date nights, we're still like making time to connect with each other in a meaningful way – realizing what it really takes to keep a marriage alive. Like, I feel like it is a-- it is almost like a living, breathing thing that you have to invest intention and love and time into creating. 

And I feel like-- I mean, I still I'm sure, take my marriage, my husband for granted, but not anything like, I think, I would've had we not gone through this, what we went through together.


Crystal The Parenting Coach: That is so beautiful. And I think that idea of our marriage being this living, breathing organic thing makes so much sense. Because like, if you think of your relationship with like your kids, you think of each one of them individually. Right? 

Like, at least I do. I'm just like, how is this going? Like, do I need to spend more time with this kid? Or, how are they feeling and how is our relationship?  

I'm kind of like almost auditing them just to be like, 'I think this kid probably needs a little bit more time for me.' Or, 'This one needs a little bit more one-on-one,' or whatever. And, 'This one needs a little bit more snuggles,' whatever that is. 

I'm kind of thinking about that just naturally as I go through the day and working on this living, breathing relationship – but it's so easy to put our marriage relationship or our partner relationship to the side because we're so focused on that, or maybe ourself and what we're doing in business or work or whatever. 

And not intentionally take that same time to like really audit…like, how are things going here? What is it like? What needs to change or shift? Do we need to spend more time together? 

So, I love-- I love that focus that you put into it and how differently you view it. I think I view parenting so differently too because of all the things I went through that now, it's just such a different-- I cherish it so much, and I have so much gratitude for how amazing my relationship with my kids is because it was so not amazing for so many years, so I'm glad you brought that up. 


Melissa Smith: I think too, we can shift from here, but I think too that-- Oh shoot, I forgot what I was going to say. 


How being intentional about relationships created the Family Brand

Crystal The Parenting Coach: That's okay. That's okay. If it comes to you, we'll bring it back up again. I want to talk about how this kind of shifted into what you do now. How did it-- Going from that and then like appreciating your marriage and having this strong marriage and family build the Family Brand. 


Melissa Smith: Yeah. So, from there we-- I'm trying to think, timeline-wise. Okay. Chris has a consulting company, and he helps companies that hire him or individuals that hire him…he helps them get really clear on what it is they stand for as a business and what they want to be known for as a business – kind of these foundational identity pieces that sometimes they either forget or don't really like dial in to begin with. 

So, it kind of helps them visit their origins and their roots; and from there, they can-- Oftentimes, they'll experience really great growth once they connect back to that. 

So, one day he came from work and he was like, 'We should take our family through my process.' 

And as an entrepreneur wife, Chris was always coming up with things like, 'We should do this or we should do that.' 


Crystal The Parenting Coach: Yeah. 


Melissa Smith: And I was like, 'Okay, yeah, let's take our family through your process.' 

So, we went to his office one day, the whole family, this was probably like 20-, I don't know, -16 (2016). And we sat in his office, and we like went through his process; and at the end I was like, 'That was actually really profound, that was actually really cool.'

And we kind of just branded our family in a way; we got really clear on who we were as a family, what we wanted to be known for. And also, part of the catalyst for this was like in our extended families; Chris for example, has two brothers that have passed away due to addiction-related deaths. And it was-- Part of it for us also was we need to develop-- we want to develop a strong family narrative for our kids to follow. 

Like that it didn't need to be this path that Smiths necessarily deal with addiction and the things that kind of come along with that sometimes…was like, we need a new narrative for our kids.

And so, I think that was a huge catalyst too in defining, creating this family brand for ourselves, was to create this for our children. How do we make sure that we are as strong as possible, that they are strong and connected to us as possible, et cetera? 

So, then from there, we kind of took our family through it. And then Chris – again, the entrepreneur that he is – loves talking about it. So, he is talking about it to everyone. Like, "Hey, we just took our family through this thing." 

We eventually called it Family Brand. And then just people that we know were like, 'Well, can you come talk to our community about this? Like, this sounds really cool.' 

And then I think I was a little apprehensive about really wanting to make it something more than just this cool thing that we did. But I felt, I had this really cool experience too, where I felt like really strongly from God, like, 'Hey, this wasn't just for you…like, this is for-- this is for other families too, and this is what your next-- your next thing is.' 

Anyway, so I just-- We feel really called to do it to, and especially I think we really launched it during quarantine – in 2020 is when we really launched it. And I just-- We could see like in real time, families were struggling with their children and with their marriage. 

And it was like, wow, families-- There aren't a lot of resources for families other than the ones we've talked about, like a counselor or a therapist. 

I was like, "Can we provide families with another resource on how to create a strong family, how to grow together, how to create a life that you love?" And that's really what our program is; creating a life that you love, intentionally growing together, creating relationships that last, and defining like your family values and who you want to be.


How to use values to help strengthen your family and build a string narrative for your children to hold on to

Crystal The Parenting Coach: I love that. I love what you said too, like that that answer came from God; that this wasn't just for you. I feel like that's kind of like those little nudges from the universe that are like, do this thing, even though it sounds scary

And for me, that's totally what my business has been. It was like, now you learned all of this stuff in parenting. Because when I started coaching was not Parent Coaching parents; I was just coaching anybody, mostly moms. But I had coached some business owners. I was kind of coaching everyone. 

I had taken a certification through The Life Coach School, and it was very mindset-based; and I was like, 'I can just help anybody.' And so, I was. And I was really resistant to help people with parenting. 

And then once I had kind of gone through my own significant parenting change and my own kind of healing journey and things were so much better, I feel like that was the same message I got. It was like, 'Yeah, this is a great and amazing, but like also you can share this amazing with other people.' And that's kind of scary--  


Melissa Smith: Totally.


Crystal The Parenting Coach: -because it is so vulnerable to be like, 'This is something I was really terrible at…and now that I've figured it out, like who am I to like go, you know, share this work with people?' 


Melissa Smith: Yeah. 


Melissa Smith: But also, who am I not to? And I heard a quote one time that was like, "Imagine your very favorite author, like the book that changed your life the most".

And for me it was Hold on to Your Kids by Dr. Gordon Neufeld and Rest, Play, Grow by Dr. Deborah Macnamara. But they were like, imagine if those books didn't exist. Imagine if they were just like, 'Hmm, I'm just going to keep it to myself and I'm not going to share what I have because I might be too worried or scared about myself or whatever.' 

And I was like, no. Like that would've-- My life would've not been changed if those books had not been written, and my life is so much better because of it. And I just thought, who am I to stand in my own way of like helping other people get this help?


Melissa Smith: Totally. I love that.


Crystal The Parenting Coach: So anyways, that was kind of a side tangent, but I just really resonated with what you said. 

Also, can you give us more examples of like, when you come away with a family brand – well, maybe even yours – what are some of the values that you narrowed down for your family? 


Melissa Smith: So, our programs evolved like from the beginning; and as it sits now, I really love what we've done – because, at first, we just had families like, okay, establish family values…go do it

And like we had Christmas taken a family through our Family Brand process, at the time. And a family came back to them and they were like, 'We have 18 family values; we are fighting because we can't decide whose are more important, which ones are more important.' 

So, we went back to the drawing board a little bit and thought like, 'Okay, how can we make this a little bit more formulaic for people or for families?' 

So, it can still be like uniquely yours as a family. It's formulaic, not meaning like everyone is going to have the exact same – but is there something foundationally that we could explore that would make this easier for families? 

And we actually came across this really cool research out of the University of Nebraska that was done with like 24,000 family members over the course of a couple of decades in 34 countries. And the whole premise of the research was, what makes up strong families? 

And they said that the reason they did this research was because most research that had been done up to that point around families was; why are families deteriorating? Why are families falling apart? 

But they wanted to flip it and look at, but what makes a strong family? So, they're actually-- They took all this research and they solidified it down into core strengths, core values that they believe strong families possess. 

So, our program walks families through what these core values – we call them, what they are. And then we have each family go a little bit deeper depending on your family, your unique situation in these core values, if that makes sense. So, I'll just, I guess, say really briefly is--  

And we've kind of, I guess, branded some of this ourselves; so, these are some of…taking their research and making them to our words. It's like we prioritize. 

So, strong families; they prioritize family, they prioritize time together – they appreciate each other, they speak words of appreciation and words of affirmation to each other. They talk; they talk often about little things and big things, but they're in this dialogue with each other ongoing. 

They bond; they spend time together. They believe-- I thought this is what we call, we believe. This one was interesting to me; this doesn't have to be synonymous with religion, but there's a foundational spiritual element to strong families – whether that is…you know, maybe it's a belief your family has that we're all connected, or maybe it is a shared religion that you have, but it doesn't have to be. 

And then, we overcome. Yeah, strong families, they can tackle hard things; and they can tackle it together, and they can overcome. 

And then, the last one is, we impact. Strong families know that they can make a difference in the world, and that they can decide together how they want to show up in the world and how they want to impact and make that difference.


Crystal The Parenting Coach: Those are so beautiful; like, every single one of them. I love them. When you work with people and you're figuring out their family brand with them, it's not a religious program. Right? It's like just for anybody. 


Melissa Smith: Yeah, absolutely. We've had-- Just a couple months ago, we had a couple going through our program that; he's Christian, she is atheist, and they're able to create a beautiful family brand with these differing beliefs. 

Which actually we have found a lot of families have enjoyed our program if they do have differing religious beliefs because it's a way for them to come together in a way that sometimes feels a little-- can feel a little tumultuous, I guess, at times. 


Crystal The Parenting Coach: I actually love that as a solution because I do think a lot of people, I have friends in mixed faith marriages or that have been but are no longer together. And I think that often comes head-to-head, and you're like, 'Well, you have-- you can't have one or the other.' 

Like it either has to be your marriage or your faith…instead of being able to still be in your faith and them still be in their belief, and not have it take away from each other. In fact, I think it can often amplify your relationship as you kind of work through that. So, I love that-- I love that that's been your experience too. 

Okay. I think that's all my questions. 


How to connect with Melissa Smith

Crystal The Parenting Coach: I think I asked everything, but before we go, can you share how people can work with you; and especially how they can share in your program and stuff? 


Melissa Smith: Yeah. So, you can-- Like I mentioned at the beginning, we have a podcast called Family Brand. You can probably find it on any platform. 

And then is our website; and I have a cool like quiz on there right now – it is, what's your family culture? And so, it just walks you through-- It's just 10 questions, and it walks you through different components of family culture and it kind of shoots you out a score at the end. 

Just saying…showing you like where you lie maybe, and then you get some idea of like where you can improve; and then it sends you-- It'll send you an email too about what I believe is like the foundational piece of a strong and amazing family culture. 


Crystal The Parenting Coach: Oh, I love that. Mine is also a quiz; it's a find your parenting personality quiz, and it does--  


Melissa Smith: Oh, awesome. 


Crystal The Parenting Coach: -a similar thing – gives you one of four personality types, and then tells you kind of the weaknesses and strengths there…and what you can work on. 

Okay. I will have all of those links, for sure, in the show notes as well. And make sure you go check out Melissa's podcast; it's awesome. 

And I just love the idea of just really intentionally building a family culture, a family brand – and talking to your kids about values and impact, and why these things are important, and really building that relationship…and kind of giving our kids, oftentimes, maybe things that we didn't come from – from our family of origin – and being able to kind of change that narrative and kind of shape the story that we want to give them. 

So, thank you so much for being here; and yeah, I hope everybody else enjoyed this episode as much as I did. See you. 

Thanks for listening. If you'd like to help spread this work to the world, share this episode on social media and tag me – send it to a friend, or leave a quick rating and review below so more people can find me. If you'd like more guidance on your own parenting journey, reach out.

Cover image for the parenting personality quiz, 4 sketches of a mom doing a different activity with her child
Cover image for the parenting personality quiz, 4 sketches of a mom doing a different activity with her child

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