The role of a parent is probably the single most important role in life. It’s one of the most creative and affirming experiences that life has to offer. If you want a concrete example of unconditional love, the parent-child relationship tops the list. While we are engaged in rearing our children, parenting affords us the opportunity to improve ourselves, and broaden our own personal frame of reference as we model for our children the distinctive qualities we would like to see in them. Children don’t care about your background, the faults you may have, or what other people say and/or think about you. They just know that this person is my mother or father and I look up to them. They hear everything you say and believe whatever you tell them because they trust you. Trust me on this one; you don’t want to miss out on this experience.
I have two beautiful young ladies that are under my tutelage, ages 28 and 4. Don’t worry about that age gap; just believe me when I say that it’s a beautiful thing. Now granted, back in the day I may have done some things to my oldest daughter that were probably questionable when it comes to consequences for inappropriate behavior. My excuse/reason for this is that I was not equipped with the tools I have today in my toolkit. I am much more knowledgeable than I was 20 something years ago. When you know better you do better. Today I am much more patient, which is probably the most important trait of character that one should possess when it comes to parenting. I promise you, it takes a lot of patience to nurture an active child, which brings me to the Nurturing Parenting curriculum (http://theparentingcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/CLASS-LIST-FOR-Workshops-20131.pdf) we use here at The Parenting Center to educate the public. I live by a very simple motto: Information is knowledge and knowledge is power. I really enjoy the opportunity to empower young parents, equipping them with the necessary tools to enhance their parenting experience. It is my belief that parents really don’t want to spank their children for inappropriate behavior but they just don’t know what the alternatives are. That’s why it is imperative that we share this information with any and everyone we encounter.
As I reflect on this wonderful experience, I would be a fool not to take into consideration the challenges that parents face in today’s society. Though we live in a technologically advanced society where information is at the touch of our fingers, no parent arrives home with detailed instructions on how to teach and guide their little bundle of joy. Instead we rely on our own personal, familial and cultural frames of reference to guide us thru this process. We do the best we can in showing love and affection for our children, ensuring that their safety and well being is uppermost on our minds. For parents of racially, culturally and socioeconomically diverse backgrounds, there are those added concerns that society has bestowed upon us as it relates to equipping our children to function and excel in a society where they may be marginalized and/or scrutinized. Nonetheless, the challenge is one that I welcome with open arms. This is why I am so passionate about parenting, and there is this compelling feeling in me to empower people with strategies that have been proven to work over an extensive period of time.
Parenting is a beautiful thing. If your goal is to be the best parent you can be, seek alternatives to the way you discipline your child when it comes to inappropriate behavior. Keep in mind that discipline is not synonymous with punishment. In fact, let’s get rid of the word “punishment” and replace it with “consequences for inappropriate behavior.” If you are uncertain what those alternatives are, don’t hesitate to contact me.
Information is knowledge and knowledge is power.
Written by Bruce Douglas, Ph.D.