There are plenty of books and ‘how-to’ websites that offer parenting advice, but the vast amount of information available to us parents can cause us to feel overwhelmed! I also find that the problems and nuances of family dynamics are so unique to each of our own lives that it’s almost impossible to practically apply any of this help to our individual situations. Trying to compare my own parenting issues against what is considered ‘standard’ — or trying to compare my experiences again other parents’ – hasn’t been very helpful to me. My two kids (a girl and a boy, three years apart) bring tremendous joy, but it wasn’t always smooth sailing — no one is a ‘natural’ when it comes to being a parent. It takes a lot of trial and error — and patience.
The years spent parenting can be the most challenging time of a person’s life. They can be filled with love, wonderment, pride and happiness, but at the same time can be confusing and complicated as you muddle your way through your children’s formative years, from infant-hood to teenager! My husband, Scott, and I had upbringings that were vastly different from each other — something many of us don’t consider when we are getting hitched. We both had completely different approaches to raising children, which in turn was causing us to send mixed messages to our kids and causing them to respond with difficult behaviors!
Rather than thinking something was wrong with our kids, we knew that the fault was somehow ours. It’s not an easy thing to admit, but it was obvious that when good kids with every advantage and loving parents start acting out, it’s not because they are bad kids! I quickly embarked on getting a reference for a parenting coach. Within seconds of speaking with Susan, (who holds an MSW and specializes in childrens’ issues), I knew we were on the right course.
It took years — not weeks or months — and some painful discoveries by both Scott and I about ourselves as both people and parents, but we can now say that we are much more confident about how we speak, treat and live with our children. Tantrums have completely abated, sibling rivalry has a much better outcome than in the past, and our family time is now fun and rewarding. I’m very proud of what Scott and I have accomplished. We now act as UNITED CO-PARENTS, instead of working against each other.