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The Puzzles of Parenting...

These are just a few of the challenges and questions the parents in a recent "Positive Discipline Toolbox" group shared on day one of their workshop.

Since we began this new workshop series in January, the questions have been pouring in!

While the topics vary from challenges with newborns to challenges with teens, there are common themes among the many puzzle pieces.

The one that jumped out at me from this group: "CAN I DO THIS"? That pretty much sums up the fears of every parent, whether it is giving that first bath to a newborn, dropping off your baby at kindergarten or college, or facing yet another battle over bedtime or homework.

While we can build our understanding of the needs and ways of children and gather techniques for making family life less stressful and more successful, the answer to "CAN I DO THIS"? has to come from within. As parents in our workshops begin to share their challenges, (and I share my own stories of life raising two small humans), the nods begin and the look of connection dawns on the faces of those around the circle.

Hearing that no one else has it "Pinterest perfect" and no one else has all the answers gives us a bit of hope. Parenting is as much about learning as it is about teaching. Our goal at Parents' Academy is to help parents discover their strengths and their gifts in leading their families. Along the way, we share concepts and build connections that help parents with the "CAN I DO THIS"? question.

There will be times when you want to sell your kid on Ebay, when you will look at them in exasperation and wonder how you got yourself into this life sentence of giving 100% of yourself to someone with a runny nose. In those moments of doubt, remember, YOU were chosen to nurture and guide them. Even when they roll their eyes and stomp their feet, they need you.

Nurture yourself and connect with others who "get it". Roll your eyes when someone says to you in a condescending tone "well, MY children would never do that!" Maybe they would and maybe they wouldn't! Some people have amnesia about what it was like to corral a toddler at Target.

Figuring out you CAN do this takes a minute by minute approach. Give yourself a pat on the back for making it this this moment on this day. There will be many more moments: some when you are high-fiving yourself for parenting success and other times when you are pulling your hair out over parenting stress. There is always the next moment to try again!

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