Recently I had an email exchange with a parent. I gave her a bunch of thoughts, resources, ideas and inspirations. I closed out the email with, "You are not alone." Of all the thoughts, resources, ideas and inspirations, the ONE that she needed was, "You are not alone." Sometimes this parenting thing can make us feel all alone and isolated, ESPECIALLY when we have problems. Here are a few thoughts, resources, ideas and inspirations to help us remember we are not alone.
Parent Encouragement Program (PEP): PEP has educated thousands of area parents through multi-week classes, short workshops, time efficient bootcamps and now, a stable of online classes you can watch live, or purchase for later. I took my first PEP class in 2004 and became a leader in 2006. The information, the resources, the ideas have influenced every area of my life. I learned, we don’t have to have all the answers, we don’t have to be ashamed of our parenting problems (we all have them, they can’t be avoided, they are part of the journey). We don’t have to figure it out in private. Going to a class, sitting with other smart and educated folks discouraged in the parenting trenches, can open the door to new idea, new horizons and frankly, lighten your load. When we are less stressed we magically become more effective parents with a bigger capacity for compassion, humor and joy. www.pepparent.org.
The Self-Driven Child, Stixrud & Johnson: Hands down, this is one of the best parenting books I’ve read recently. Motivating, clear, compassionate. It’s filled with research, anecdotes, personal stories, inspiring ideas and practical ‘to-do’s. They discuss sleep, homework, and devices, to name a few topics of interest. You will see a path to supporting without enabling, or letting-go without abandoning. If you have tweens buy it NOW. I wish I had had this resource 5 years ago.
Meditation: Our most powerful parenting tool is our fully developed pre-frontal cortex. Remember, it finishes wiring when we are 25ish. That means we have one, our kids don’t. Our pre-frontal cortex does amazing things like: plans ahead, modulates strong emotions, can predict outcomes based on past experiences. To keep this incredible and underused parenting tool in good shape we must clean it out regularly. Hence, meditation as a parenting tool. It’s hard to do it alone. I use the Headspace app, I’ve heard good things about the app Calm. If you can get your kids to do it with you, even better!
Outside: Whatever your druthers, the park, the bike trail, the pool. Getting out is one of the very, very best parenting tools. When my kids were little I was always a better version of myself at the neighborhood park. We don’t have to ‘shush’ kids when they are outside. We run into like-minded friends who make us laugh and remind us what a giant cosmic joke of a whack-a-mole game parenting is. Nature naturally decreases stress, anxiety and depression. Kids come home tired and worn out and ready for bed (hopefully!)
Remember, we are not alone!