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Parenting Now

August 31, 2015

Silhouette Happy Family on Walk in Action, Vector Illustration for Design

Becoming a parent – through birth, adoption, marriage – regardless of how, is the most joyful, terrifying, confusing, life-changing, earth-shattering, conflicting, miraculous, adventure you may jump or tiptoe into, with eyes wide open or shut tight, mind full of wonder, books full of advice, well-meaning loved ones with advice that conflicts with our books…

The reality is, each child is unique, and every parent has differences.  And as our child grows and develops, what was helpful when she was 6, you may as well as throw out with the bathwater now!

At Vista Hill SmartCare, we are frequently referred children with behavioral concerns, and moms and dads (or grandparents raising their grandchildren) who are asking for assistance with their parenting.   And we pride ourselves with utilizing evidence-based curricula with these families and in our Wellness groups to support them in improving their relationship and interventions.   The techniques and the guidelines provide wonderful foundations for improved parenting and child/parent relationships.

But my colleagues, my fellow parents/friends and myself have noticed a significant shift over the past few decades that should be factored in, when addressing parenting.

Life is different, and we cannot ignore that.  Of course, this is nothing new, and with each generation, parents face new challenges that their parents didn’t face, complicated and exacerbated  by advances in technology and other factors;  somehow, seemingly even more profound with this generation.

Our kids are growing up in a fast-paced, vibrant, interactive time, an era of instant gratification and instant familiarity that can lead to a disconnect from nature, a heightened need for approval, 100’s of “friends”, a sense of entitlement,  quick fixes, “boredom”.

I suggest that despite these changing times, developmental stages and changes are still very much the same, and children continue to need (and desire), perhaps more than ever, consistency, routine, predictability, stability, clear communication and boundaries, as well as of course, unconditional love, support and encouragement.  We have the awesome responsibility to our children to guide, teach and role-model the values and choices we hope to instill in them.  First and foremost, are their parents, not their friends.

Our kids, just like ourselves, learn from disappointments, from struggles, even from failures. They will learn to solve problems, they will learn to handle disappointments, they will build resiliency.   If we give them a bit of room to do so safely, hopefully they will take these lessons learned with them, as they move forward successfully into adulthood.

Mostly, we have the best intentions as parents.  We make mistakes, we have our own challenges, at times our kids even “hate” us. We’re judged by our own parents, by our kids’ teachers, even by strangers.  We occasionally even have our breakthroughs and “aha” moments.

And tomorrow, we get up and do it all over again.

Pamela Sachs, LCSW


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