Parenting can be hard. Some parents feel relieved to know that :
- Because parenting is a learned skill, it is a task that involves on-the-job training.
- Being isolated from extended family and community can make parenting even harder.
- Lack of available internal and external resources and financial difficulties can greatly impact parenting.
- Every parent makes mistakes.
- When parents feel that their children are a reflection of themselves, they may have feelings of shame and blame about their children’s difficult behavior.
- Being a parent doesn’t always feel good.
- Parents may have hateful feelings as well as loving feelings toward their children.
- A child may remind a parent of someone; the parent may feel toward the child as he/she feels toward the other person.
- Children are born with an innate temperament that may or may not fit the parent’s temperament and expectations.
- Parenting is affected by our experience of being parented.
Parenting can be easier and more effective when parents gain knowledge & skills.
It helps to understand that :
- There are many opportunities for parents & children to learn from each other. Mistakes are opportunities to learn.
- As children go through developmental stages, it is normal for parents to have different reactions and responses to the behaviors at those stages.
- Parents can have control over their actions; they often do not have control over their feelings.
- Children are unique individuals with their own feelings, desires and needs.
- Children’s behavior has meaning and is not intended to antagonize the parent.
- Parenting tasks change over time in relation to the stages of children’s development.
- There are tough times but things can change for the better.
- There is a range of approaches to disciplining children.
It helps to know how to :
- Teach children without using violence.
- Be open so that parents and children can learn from each other.
- Ask for help when it is needed.
- Advocate for your own and your children’s needs.
These are some values we hold about parenting. We would like to support parents in working toward these goals :
- Families’ cultural, racial, religious and linguistic identities need to be respected and supported in order to enhance their ability to function within their families and in a multicultural society.
- Parenting can be judged as more, less, or not effective; it isn’t helpful to label parenting as good or bad.
- Parents are responsible for meeting their own emotional needs through the support of other adults.
- Sometimes parents need to delay meeting their own needs in order to meet their children’s needs.
- Parents are important to a child even if a parent is absent.
- Structure, ritual, routine, and clear, realistic expectations are important because they provide predictability, safety and a sense of belonging for children.
- When possible, children should not be expected to understand adult issues; exposure to adult issues should be limited to what is age-appropriate for the child, depending on the context and the family’s cultural values.
- It is important for parents to separate feelings about the child from feelings about the child’s behavior and to understand that all behavior has meaning.
- It is important for parents to acknowledge and promote the expression of their children’s feelings, with the understanding that the expression of feelings may be different given each family’s cultural values.
- It is helpful for parents to be aware of each individual child’s needs.