Millions of people watch parenting experts on TV, endure advice from a parade of well-meaning friends and families and diligently peruse popular writings from Dr. Spock to Dr. Seuss, all in a quest to be better parents. Yet most parents still struggle with fundamental questions and concerns.
To address a wide range of important parenting topics, there’s an unusual and insightful approach detailed in a new book for moms and dads entitled Parenting for the Genius: Developing Confidence in Your Parenting through Reflective Practice (For the Genius Press, 2014) by Parent Educator, Amy Alamar.
The book helps parents hone their skills, calm down, learn from their mistakes and become the most thoughtful and confident parents possible. This book is the first parenting guide to draw on Reflective Practice, an established educational concept, and apply it to parenting.
Dr. Alamar encourages parents to reflect on what they do, how they do it, and why they do it. It’s incredibly helpful to take a step outside ourselves, even in the midst of chaotic events, to put things into perspective and understand what’s really happening - and not just how we feel about it in that harried moment.
This practice enables parents to gain clarity to make better, calmer decisions.
The Punishment Should Fit the Crime: If your child can’t sit nicely in a restaurant – leave. Let your child know why you’re leaving – and repeat yourself a few times. Next time, before you head out to a restaurant, remind the child of what happened the last time and ask if he’s ready to go back.
Watch What You Say: Parents need to avoid comparing themselves with other adults. Comments such as “I’m not as good as Sally’s mother” will suggest to a child that you may care too much about what other people think and can inspire the child to compare themselves to others.
It’s Not Your Homework: Your child’s homework should be done by your child. Parents make excuses such as “She understands it; it’s just that she’s tired and simply doesn’t have the time” or “The teacher didn’t go over this concept in class.” Sounds simple – but your child will not learn a thing if you’re doing his work for him. So please stop!
Get Back on the Horse?: The old adage about getting back on the horse that threw you is ok in some cases, but it doesn’t acknowledge that sometimes it’s absolutely fine to decide that horseback riding, playing little league, or the cooking club might not be the best fit for your child. It’s good to teach your child to try, try again when she fails, but it’s equally important to understand a failure and figure out together if trying again is really worth it to you and your child.
Keep an Open Mind: Although unsolicited advice can be an annoyance, the next time someone offers it, listen. There’s no need to promise that you’ll take the advice, but you never know – you might just learn by doing something a bit differently.
Count Your Blessings: When you’re feeling stressed and defeated, remind yourself of one thing in your life for which you’re grateful. You don’t have to forget your troubles, but you can remember your blessings. If you talk through these feelings with your child, you will help him to model his behavior on your own, and feel gratitude in its purest form.