Before we get into this newsletter, I want to give our Ontario readers a heads up that I will be in Ottawa in October and in Toronto in early December. See the details below.
A lot of people who call me the ‘parenting lady’ know I have an expertise in parenting but what, they ask me, do I actually do? I offer keynotes and workshops, have written books and have ongoing newspaper columns, books, blogs and newsletters.
And, no matter what the actual topic, they all share a basic value that I call:
P — is a parenting plan
U — is unconditional love
R — is respect for your child as he is right now
E — is encouragement
These make up the framework of any resources that will come from Parenting Today. These four pillars are the essential ingredients for raising healthy children who will develop into capable young men and women.
I recently golfed with a young man who was soon to become a Dad. He told me that he had a number of friends with children and watching them he knew what he doesn’t want to do, but needed to decide what he would do, how he would parent his children.
And that, as I’m sure you have determined, is the P of P.U.R.E. Parenting.
“The fog rolled in, enveloping us in a magical world. My husband John and I were camping on the beach on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Each afternoon the fog would arrive and we would sit in this gray world, listening to the waves we could not see lap on the shore.
And we talked. I was five months pregnant with our first child and we were looking forward to the birth of this baby with excitement and nervousness. Our conversation was about this new adventure in our lives. We didn’t talk about nursery furniture or diapers. We talked about our goals and wishes. What did we want for this child when she was 18?
We talked about our childhoods in ways we hadn’t before. What had our parents done with us that we liked? What were our favorite memories? Story followed story. Memories of holidays, birthdays, family dinners, summer trips and playing in the lane behind the house (him) and in the bush behind the house (me). Sitting in front of our tent in this private, mystical world created by the fog, we made promises to each other and to ourselves about how we wanted to raise our children.
In retrospect, this was probably the most important parenting job we did. It set the scene for the next 20 years as we raised our daughter and then our son. In the hurly-burly of child-raising, the task of setting goals can get lost. The total focus becomes diapers and sleep deprivation, playing at the park, getting ready for school and soccer practice. The doing of child-raising takes over and fills our days. It can be hard to see beyond the next bedtime, let alone the next 20 years.
But goal-setting makes it so much easier to make decisions as you go along on this child-raising road. How, you can ask yourself, will this decision, consequence, conversation, help your child reach the goals you’ve set?
For example, you’ve decided you want your child to be able to problem-solve and make decisions when she’s 18. But here you are constantly telling her what to do, solving all her problems, saving her from all her mistakes. Whoops! The only way she will reach the goal of being a problem-solver is to have the opportunity to practice while she’s maturing.”
Going through this process will help you determine not only your parenting plan and style but also which experts to follow. My habit when looking at a new book or blog is to check out my basic values and see if there is a match.
Kathy Will Be in Ontario
If you are looking for a quality parenting workshop in your workplace, or professional development event for your staff who work with children and families, or a workshop for parents in your community and you are based in Ottawa. I have good news. I will be in Ottawa on mid October and in Toronto in early December. You win because you get a quality event with no travel costs and I win because I get to work with you and your people. Call me.
Vive la Différence
There are so many times when we are raising our kids when we note their differences. My mini guide e-book , Vive la Différence: Raising Children with Different Temperaments addresses this.
I have always known that each child is a unique individual. I looked at my two who are as different as night and day. Then I consider my siblings and we are a textbook example of different.
But, now I have three grandchildren, all the same age and the differences from their births has been striking.
The result is the e-parenting mini guide, Vive la Différence: Raising Children with Different Temperaments. The guide is available on my website.