Throughout the years, I have heard from others that they have really benefited from going to AA meetings, group therapy, or workshops for different reasons. I had never experienced anything like this really– until today. I went to a parenting class taught by a psychologist, who provided tips for more effective ways we can get our children to listen to us. One of the interesting theories she proposed was that part of the problem so many of us are finding it so challenging these days to parent our kids is that the way we were raised, primarily under an authoritarian model, no longer works. Being incredibly permissive does not work either, and vacilating between the two styles is just too confusing and ineffective. Her suggestion was to adopt a more democratic style of parenting, where the children are given limited choices appropriate with their ages, and that this way they feel empowered and respected while being guided in the right direction.
There are obviously many books out there about parenting and articles that we can all easily access, but the beauty of this class setting was that when people started to ask questions and share their stories, we all started to nod and laugh in a way that made us all connect, even if just for that one hour. In that room full of parents that want to improve their skills, we all understood each others pain and frustration. I have no doubt that everyone in that room who voluntarily made time to attend this lecture loves their kids, and yet our greatest sources of joy are also are biggest challenges. Knowing that there are so many others going through the same thing, and hearing people’s success stories of how they were able to surpass certain hurdles, can provide great comfort and hope.
Parent Encouragement Programs in Montgomery County are quite affordable and incredibly useful to parents of children in all age brackets. I am sure there are similar programs in other areas, and I truly encourage parents to seek these out if they find themselves in need of a little guidance– not to mention some good laughs!