Wendy McDonnell, her husband and their four children are teaching themselves how to love and be loved. Training in Developmental Psychology, Coaching and Communication helped Wendy to describe why and how. Wendy is ready to show you how you to do the same in your family!
In the final analysis, relationships matter. Peace is not about living without pain and conflict. Peace happens when you open up and respond to life, no matter how it shows up, in compassionate and restorative ways. Wendy is committed to being of service to make this world more beautiful and kinder by showing parents learn how to be present to their children and partners no matter what.
Want to know what inspires this work?
Like-minded parents and compassionate communities are living proof that trusting, open-hearted family relationships are possible – even when you did not get that when you were little.
Wendy knows the damaging effects of living after trauma when no one wants to talk about it – no one wants to hear about the reasons why it happened – and how young people often bear the agony of loneliness when their parents and teachers are not skilled to be present to their children’s pain. She also knows that developing skills to be present to our lives and staying grounded in our needs and values leads to deep healing and finding peace again.
Wendy McDonnell, HonsBSc, MFCC, is a parenting coach, group facilitator and mother of four. She helps parents lead from their values, communicate effectively and make parenting easier while healing their own childhood pain.
Wendy hosted Family Matters radio on CFRU 93.3FM for more than 4 years. Currently, she occasionally speaks or facilitates groups, produces video interviews, shares tips, and writes a monthly column in the One Thousand Trees magazine. Wendy updates this website occasionally when her full-time work schedule permits.
Wendy and her husband have given their four spirited children (ages 8-15 years) the best of both educational worlds – homeschooling and conventional schooling – and consider themselves “educational entrepreneurs”. Along with being a working mom, you’ll find her spinning hula hoops, walking in the woods, or curled up in bed reading a good book.
In Wendy’s words…
As the founder and spirit behind Compassionate Solutions, I enjoy co-creating safe spaces where parents learn effective strategies for raising resilient kids. I am heartened when parents feel less alone because they share their collective wisdom and find creativity and hope through deep listening and inquiry. They lovingly accept what motivates them so they are energized to guide their children with loving kindness, flexibility and firmness. My heart is warmed when I see parents get the peace of mind, understanding, and self-confidence they’re looking for – and enjoy parenting more – without the pressure of being “perfect”. Ideally, I get a chance to meet and connect with their “children” – no matter what their age – and parents get a real-life experience of “being” with each other that nurtures the life in all of them!
I’m always looking for workshop hosts. All you need is a living room or larger to host 10 or more people and a list of people to invite. I’ll help you do the rest.
In return for your help, you get a personal coaching session (a $90 value) and the workshop(s) for free.
Many worried parents have asked me if it’s ever too late to restore trust and connection.
I know that it’s never too late.
My parents and I restored connection after I returned from eight years of separation.
Family life was not always joyful for me. For eight years in my 20s, I left my own parents after growing up confused, scared, bitter, and depressed. Surrounded by substance and physical abuse, I mistrusted people and distanced myself. Sadly, I mistreated my parents and said things I wish I didn’t in my attempt to speak up. My relationships were strained and conflicted. I regret staying away from my parents as long as I did but I learned so much about honesty, openness, and strength in sharing our vulnerability…especially when I decided to return. Thankfully, my parents and I had some time to re-connect before they died a few short years later.
Like so many parents healing from hurt, I made futile attempts to be a perfect parent so that my own children would not suffer like I did or leave me the way I left my parents.
Now I know the freedom of not needing to be perfect, just human. I can be authentic, accept myself, and be kind to myself and others.
After twenty-five years of faithful learning and healing, I restored connection with my parents and found acceptance and love where I felt insecure and angry.
I have a fierce commitment to family relationships. I learned that relationships endure when all else is gone. When my parents died, all their belongings could be packed in a box and given away. Compassionate Solutions is a labour of love that began as a hobby and has led me to a life of peace and compassion. My work keeps pulling me back when I stray.
Now, I have beautiful, strong, dynamic relationships with my four children and loving husband. I aim to meet the life in myself, my kids, and my partner with acceptance and curiosity. Even if the worst happens, I know we can figure out what to do next. I have loving, nurturing friendships. I have made a ton of mistakes and, being human, will keep making them. However, I screw up a little less everyday. Being a parent tests my mindful practice everyday. Parenthood is a life-long invitation to practice compassionate curiosity and loving kindness. I call it “living the divine in the mundane”.
I am deeply grateful for my best friend and husband Tom and our four beautiful children. They are the loves of my life and my cheer leading squad!
La Leche League Canada and the Guelph Leaders, thank YOU for showing me the importance of love and family. When my first baby was three weeks old, I attended my first evening meeting with a huge diaper bag over one shoulder and my baby in a sling over the other. I met like-minded parents and learned how to fall deeply in love with my child. When I was afraid I could never love another child like I did my first, I learned how to grow my heart.
I AM the mother I AM today because of La Leche League, my husband Tom, and our four beautiful children.
La Leche League, I will never forget you! I miss the days when we, as young mothers, talked over tea and coffee while our babies, toddlers, and young preschoolers nursed and played around us. While I was a leader, I learned how much I enjoyed facilitating groups, listening to troubled parents over the phone or in person, and exploring the concepts of loving guidance and compassionate communication. When I retired in May 2008 to live a crazy dream I had to produce and host a radio show and pursue my desire to volunteer with Hospice, I left with these guiding questions…
How do humans develop from dependent to interdependent creatures?
How do we continue to have close, healthy relationships as we get older?
When we forget how much we love each other, what helps us remember?
How can we manage conflicting perspectives – and use conflict creatively?
How can we help children grow into adults who are capable of making good decisions, have a purpose, and who make this world more wonderful?
I dedicate my work to my loving parents who did their very best. Mom died at 55 years old on May 19, 2004. Dad died at 66 years old on October 31, 2012. They will always be with us in spirit.
Education and Experience:
- In 1995 received Hons. B.Sc in Psychology and Exceptionality in Human Learning and Development, Graduated with High Distinction and a Faculty Scholar
- Certified Master Family Communications Coach since 2009.
- Member of Guelph Public Speakers Toastmasters since 2009.
- For more than 4 1/2 years, Host and Producer of Family Matters Radio every Sunday morning on CFRU, Guelph’s Community Radio Station from October 2009 – August 2014.
- Trained in Coaching, Psychology, Nonviolent Communication, Restorative Circles, Mediation, Collaborative Divorce, Grief and Bereavement, Reiki, and Teaching.
- Since 2008, a Hospice Wellington volunteer communication workshop facilitator and one who journeys with people who are grieving the loss of their loved ones.
- For two years – volunteered as a community and family mediator with Community Justice Initiatives.
- September 2010 to June 2011 – participated in a nine month leadership training program called the Parent Peer Leadership Program (PPLP) through Bay NVC. Like the program’s goal, Wendy’s goal is to understand, live, and share parenting practices that encourage families to live with compassion, connection and peace.
- Leadership Assistant for the 2011-2012, 2012-2013, and 2013-2014 PPLP programs.
You can also find me spinning tricks with my hula hoop, playing with my kids, walking in the woods, dipping my toes in the river, and curling up in bed reading a good book with my family.
I totally groove on science experiments, conservation areas and museums. I enjoy cooking, baking, and sharing meals with friends and family. I love hula hooping, swimming, cycling, theatre, and learning new things. In my spare time (ha!), I play string games, board games, cards, and do puzzles. Once you get me started, I can talk a lot about our amazing educational adventures.
“..nothing is impossible when we follow our inner guidance, even when its direction may threaten us by reversing our usual logic.” Gerald Jampolsky
“The path to enlightenment is not a path at all, it’s actually a metaphor for the time it takes for you to allow yourself to be happy with who you already are, where you’re already at, and what you already have – no matter what…The “no matter what” part is big.” Notes from the Universe