blog for Parents.
We’ll post regularly on topics we think might be helpful or interesting to those of you doing the 24/7 work of parenting in New Milford. My name is Laura Cleary. I’m a social worker and parent educator here at the Youth Agency, and I’ll be the primary writer on this blog, but we’ll also have some guest writers contribute. If you have any questions or topic ideas, we would love to hear them.
Honestly, I have good qualifications to write this blog: I’m the mother of three almost grown children, I’ve been working with kids and families here at the Youth Agency for over 6 years, I have a Masters in Social Work, and I’m a trained Positive Discipline Parent educator. All of this gives me a pretty good sense about the issues that are keeping parents up at night. Some of it is the same stuff that gave your parents a sleepless night, some of it very different. None of my qualifications make me the expert on your parenting and your child. What I offer in this blog are thoughts, discussion, ideas, and sometimes specific tools for you to try. I’m not a parenting expert, but a parenting guide.
As a Positive Discipline educator, I think that PD has some ideas about parenting, that can be valuable to parents, and act as a framework when facing parenting questions and challenges. When I teach the 6 week PD parenting class, on the first day of class, we do an activity called short term versus long term parenting. Short term parenting is the stuff we do without thinking- just reacting to the day to day problems- to get the kids to behave or stop misbehaving or do what we need/want them to do. The harder concept is long term parenting, which is an essential part of the Positive Discipline philosophy. What? You think that’s a no brainer? Of course, you say, almost all parents are in it for the long haul, that’s the nature of parenting. True. But, in the day to day onslaught of parenting challenges and decisions, do your parenting style and discipline methods reflect a long term parenting mindset?
Close your eyes and imagine your child in 30 years, all grown up.
What kind of person are they? Are they independent? Are they kind? Are they hard working? Are they problem solvers? Do they want to spend holidays with you? Take a minute and write down which characteristics and life skills you hope your adult child will have. Then, along the way, as you face day to day, big and small challenges, think about how you respond, and whether your response is “building” an adult that matches with your list. Well meaning, loving parents who always jump in to “rescue” their child may have a child who decides, “I’m not capable” or “I can’t solve my problems.” On the other hand, parents who allow a child some room to make mistakes, and engage a child in problem solving, are more likely to have a child who decides, “My parents are there to help me, but I am able to solve problems on my own.” If these patterns of behavior and belief are steady throughout childhood, you can imagine the difference there might be in the adult characteristics of these two people. Take another look at that list you made when you closed your eyes, and keep it in mind as we go forward with other topics in this blog!
Next Parent Blog topic: Bullying. If this topic interests you, consider attending the New Milford Youth Agency’s upcoming free parent workshop “Bullying: a Focus on Solutions”, on Tuesday March 10th at 6:30 at the Maxx. Speaker Jo Ann Frieberg, Ph.D., is an educational consultant for the state of CT in the area of bullying, improving school climate and character education. This is an opportunity for parents to better understand this issue, ask questions, and join the discussion about mean behaviors between kids. Register with me, firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Youth Agency (860) 210-2030.