Wednesday, December 12, 2012

As parents we know that we want to be the absolute best we can possibly be to our children and hope as a result of this, that we have given them everything they need to function in our society independently when the become adults.  We also want to love, nurture and enjoy them every day that we are with them and hope that when they look back at their childhood they are filled with positive .  To get to this result we search among friends, family, books, internet sites, speakers and more to improve ourselves and the way we parent so we can reach the ultimate family life we dream of. None of us reach perfection but hopefully we are building healthy family lives and a community that all are proud to be a part of. 

Many of us while growing up, were fortunate to get experience in observing adults raise their own kids through resources such as family, friends or babysitting.  I also feel so fortunate that I had the experience in researching and learning in college before I got married and became a mother.  Without that background I may have been completely over my head in reading materials trying to quickly learn to cope with all of the parenting behavior challenges. Please except my congratulations to all parents who walk into parenting with little understanding of how behavior works, yet learn to handle their own emotions and learn to use healthy discipline techniques.  Parenting is hard work (if you are a parent, you have figured this out!)  

Over these past 5+ years I have been compiling my own set of beliefs on parenting as all parents do. There are hundreds and hundreds of parenting books out there and we have to figure out which ones to trust and what we think is the most healthy.  

I have read some fantastic books about parenting but I have to say that the book that I have posted a picture of above, Parenting with Love and Logic along with the Optimistic Child by Dr. Martin Seligman which I have previously posted about, (click on emotional health resources)  are the closest to my set of core beliefs that I have developed about parenting and behavior modification. Thank you to my friend Becca for introducing me to the program which she heard about through her MOPS group. In my studies in music therapy at Sam Houston State University, we learned about all forms of therapy and we were encouraged to develop our own beliefs, however we focused on cognitive behavioral therapy.  Parenting with Love and Logic, I believe, has excellent examples of behavior modification and ideas on what makes successful children (or raises the odds of doing so).

The book focuses on building self confidence in our children by teaching them how to make healthy and effective choices.  This book encourages us to teach our children to look at situations with the perception that everything is a choice because that's how life is.  We make hundreds, possibly thousands of choices every day.  If children do not practice the skills of choice making every day while they are young, they will have more difficulty doing so when they get older (and the consequences of mistakes humans make in our teens are much more costly than when they are small children).  We change the perception of situations from "mommy put me in time out/calm down area" to "i chose to go to the time out/calm down area when I made the choice to hit my brother". Sometimes children get to choose between 2 things that are both good.  "Would you like the green shirt or the blue shirt today?"  Sometimes they must choose between following directions or facing the consequence (chosen by the parents).  We teach them that every choice we make has consequences.  

The book has a few analogies to Christian stories, however the meat of this book is very evidence- based and scientific and any religion can benefit from the ideas and techniques in this book. I really believe this can change family life for the best and minimize frustration for all members.  Enjoy!

"The most intimate form of community is family" -Fr. Stephen Payne

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