We don’t know what we don’t know. If you NEVER take a parenting class, please just do this. Write in your calendar to check out your child’s development every six months (www.centerforparentingeducation.org/) . We parents try to stop the 2 year old from chanting, “No”, the 4 year old from tantruming, the 7 year old from wanting to play on a device and the 13 year old from eye rolling. PEOPLE, imagine as a middle-aged person if your kids were ANGRY at you for needing glasses to see, or punished you for forgetting what you just said, or being disappointed in you because your knees hurt. At least 50% of our parenting problems are developmental phases that will pass. I don’t mean don’t address them, I mean address them with compassion and a light heartedness that comes when we know, ‘this too shall pass’.
When we get stressed we tend to do MORE of the SAME thing. (Psst. . . that thing hasn’t worked yet.) For instance, if we try to control by being nice and accommodating, when things get hairy we get nicer and more accommodating when the child might benefit from a big old boundary. If we control by being scary and punitive, when things get dicey we get scarier and MORE punitive when the child might benefit from compassion and empathy. Parent education gives us an endless supply of new ideas, ways to connect and insights into our repeated behavior that feels right, but is actually getting in the way.
We all need a little help. It really does take a village. We don’t have all the answers. We all have blind spots from our past. Often we enter the parenting game thinking we have two choices: 1. Do the SAME as my parents or 2. Do the OPPOSITE of my parents. We actually have so many more creative, useful and effective options. We can lighten our load, unfurrow our brow and usually laugh a lot when we get together with other parents. Our fellow parents can help us solve our deepest darkest parenting problems, just like we have amazing insight for them.
Take a class, read a book, join a parenting group. I’m here for you if you want suggestions or ideas – email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.