June in our area of the world is always uncertain. Every day is different. It often seems as if we have all four seasons at some point during the month. And then, in my experience, on about July 10 summer arrives and usually stays until October.
June reminds me of child raising. Every day is different. Every child is different. How can we work to make our job of raising our kids successful for us and more importantly for those wonderful children of ours?
Doesn’t Parenting Come Naturally?
There are those who believe that when parents come to understand the importance of the relationship between themselves and their child, when they are truly attached to the child, then parenting, knowing what to do, will come naturally and instinctively.
My expertise lies in guiding parents to raise children to become capable and self-disciplined adults. I believe that the relationship between parent and child is the rock, the foundation of the parenting dynamic. That relationship is essential before any real parenting can take place. But, it isn’t as simple as that. Most of the parents I speak with really care about their children; they are connected, they are attached.
I believe that good nutrition is important. The better we eat, the healthier we are. But simply knowing that does not mean I will eat well. I need training. I need to learn about different foods, how to use the stove and microwave. I need to learn how to cook and what to cook. Then I will eat well. It certainly takes more than instinct.
When we talk about parenting education you will hear about attachment. Whether you want to use the term attachment, relationship or connection, every parent educator I know would agree that this is the basis of raising kids who are secure, capable and ultimately self-disciplined. The issue comes after this point. Once parents understand the importance of the attachment to their child, will they instinctively know what to do when he is throwing a tantrum at the mall, whining or hitting his brother?
Let’s face it, I have a bias here. Many parents who have heard a lecture about attachment agree that it is not only important but also essential. But they feel inadequate and guilty if they can’t figure out what to do next. Does this mean they are lousy, unattached parents? Do they have malfunctioning instincts? Well, it’s like the nutrition example. I know vegetables are good for me but not being exactly sure which contain which nutrients and how to best prepare them doesn’t make me a bad person. It simply means I’m uninformed.
So, how do we become informed parents? We all have a responsibility to our children to be the best parents we can be, and that includes finding and using the best information we can. The first step in looking for parent education is to check the credentials of the teacher. Look for the initials C.C.F.E. (Certified Canadian Family Educator) after her name. If he is a psychologist or therapist, ask whether he has experience and training in working with parents of typical children.
There are basic differences between a one-shot workshop or keynote address and a full-scale parenting course. While a two-hour session or workshop can provide insight into a narrow topic, it takes a full parenting course to explore the full dynamics of the topic.
In a multi-day course you can expect that the leader can over time adjust the material to meet the needs of the group, handle specific issues as presented, provide a variety of learning experiences and answer questions.
There are also books, magazines and workplace wellness programs. There are websites with lots of articles available for free. But be aware and check the credentials of the author. Many authors of parenting books have articles on-line. It’s a great way to check them out before you buy.
When choosing a parenting program avoid those that imply that the child is somehow the enemy and that there are simple and foolproof answers. Completely avoid any parenting education sources that support any physical punishment of children.
It is simply not enough for us to love our children and be attached to them. We need to get down to the tough job of parenting our kids.
Parents don’t have to make it up as they go along. When we have a parenting plan in place, it makes the job easier. It enhances the relationship and gives everyone in the family more time for fun.
Bring Kathy to your Community
Do you want to hear more? Kathy is always happy to come and speak in your community, at you event or as a workplace wellness presentation. On her website you can find more information on her material.
My presentations will 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
Digital Books Make Parenting Information More Accessible.
There are times when digital is the perfect answer and let’s face it, on a holiday having access to hundreds of books on one small tablet is ideal. I always have my kindle with me when I travel.
There are lots of times when a busy parent would like to be able to simply read and my books are digital and make it easier for you to take a look.
Two of my parenting books started as print versions but the third is only digital. The first two are also now in digital format. Who’s in Charge Anyway? talks about roots. It provides a clear road map for parent to focus on the tough but rewarding job of raising children to be responsible, self-disciplined adults.
But Nobody Told Me I’d Ever Have to Leave Home talks about raising children to become capable young men and women.
You might want to add these books to your summer reading list.