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What's Behind Your Anger: The Myth of the Parenting Manual

Updated: Aug 14, 2020

I always laugh with parents about the difficulties of raising children. I do not think it's any more different today than it was for previous generations but I would agree that the complexities have changed. I mean smart phones and social media really are a total game changer. But we'll talk about that another time.

Children do not come with a manual. If you're lucky when you become a parent, before you leave the hospital, a nice nurse who's probably overwhelmed and has done the speech so many times it's monotonous will tell you: Feed it, let it sleep, don't shake it, and don't drop it on it's head. The speech isn't really too much more informative than that. No offense to the nurses, but how are they truly supposed to educate you for what is to come in the next 24 years (yeah, I said 24, they aren't leaving the house at 18 anymore).

In my practice I have been passionate about trying to create a better and more realistic understanding of what the "parenting process" really is. Our job as parents is to protect our children from danger and prepare them for life. Now we could get into a heated discussion about what that looks like and how much a parent should be involved but to answer that, I ask you this: Do you want to take care of them when they are 25 the way you did when they were 12? The more you do for them, the less they will learn.

To accomplish this I suggest educating yourself. I do not believe that there is one wholesale parenting style or program that truly does the job. I do believe that there is a lot of wonderful information available and we need to obtain as much as possible. I look at it a lot like owning and maintaining a house. You need to be part plumber, part electrician, part carpenter, etc. If not, you have to contract it out and pay someone. Parenting is much the same. You must be part disciplinarian, part teacher, part coach, part affectionate nurturing parent. Or you have to contract it out and pay someone.

When offering education to parents I refer to the following books: When Good Kids Go Bad: Effective Solutions for Problem Behaviors by Steve Olivas PhD, Lost and Found: Helping Behaviorally Challenging Students (and, While You're At it, All the Others) by Ross Greene PhD, and No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind by Daniel Siegel MD and Tina Payne Bryson PhD. I find these books to be helpful in practice as a therapist and I find them helpful in my practice (yes practice because I'm always working to get better) as a parent. Though they are not the end all be all to the parenting manual, they are a great tool to put into the tool box.

If you've tried those, or are simply looking for more,then reach out and give us a call. We'd be glad to work with you and/or your children to assist in developing the system that works best in your home.

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