Parenting is one of the most demanding and the most rewarding experiences we can choose to embark on in our lifetime. When we choose to become a parent, we choose to become responsible for another human life and we choose to put our hearts in the palm of very small and very innocent hands. Our children in return put their very lives in our hands as they navigate their first eighteen years. Together we grow, create traditions and build family, and in the process, we as parents, learn about who we are, what we know, and along the way we begin to become aware of what we don’t know.
There is a beauty in not knowing, that beauty is found in the opportunity it provides to discover anew.
During the pregnancy of my first child, I began thinking about how I wanted to raise my children. At that time I wasn’t sure I really knew what I was going to do, but I did know what I wasn’t going to do. I didn’t want to raise my children the way I had been raised. I grew up during a very parent-center era, the general philosophy was “kids should be seen, but not heard.” The approach suggested that children held little to no value within the family system, discipline was harsh and affection was few and far between. Now, as I was embarking on parenthood, I found the pendulum had swung the opposite direction to a very child-centered approach, where children were given far too much power in the family. It seemed to me that the family was more often organized around the children, thus over-indulging them. Confused, I began searching the literature for a more balanced approach, struggling to find a child-rearing philosophy that would fit my values and what I wanted for my own children. I wanted my children to know that they had a voice, and that they were seen and valued as family members and individuals, as well as instilled with a respect for themselves, their peers, and the adults in their lives.
Then I ended up reading some books by Jane Nelson on Positive Discipline and later attending her live workshop. Her philosophy and sense of humor really spoke to me and ended up being my reference for all my parenting questions.
In the trials of day to day parenting, it is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and the importance of the job you are doing. If you are lucky these little people you have brought into this world, will be in your life for the rest of your life. They will be adults in your life longer than they will be children. In essence you are raising your future friends. Given that, you may want to impart upon them all of the qualities and values that you hold dear and feel strongly about.
Raising children can be difficult. At times we are at a loss for what to do and where to turn. Since our children don’t arrive with a set of directions most of us read books and draw on our instinct (also commonly called “winging it”). At times it can be very stressful and exhausting, reaching out and getting support when you need it will help you get back, and keep on track.
In my practice as a counselor and as a Positive Discipline Parent Educator, I offer parenting support to parents through individual and couples counseling