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The Parent Tool

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I begin every Parenting Skills workshop by distributing a simple hand-out called the Parent Tool .
It turns out the word PARENT is a pretty perfect acronym for what we need to bring to the table.
So what is a Parent to do?

P arent
During the formative years we shouldn't try to become our children's buddy or pal
That payoff comes much later on after all the hard work is done (is it ever really finished?)
It's okay if they call us 'meanies' complaining that all their friends are allowed to do something except them.
That's actually a very high compliment!
(And about that curfew...... It's a synonym for LOVE)

A nchor
It's so important as parents to provide consistency and not waiver
A strong foundation at home enables our children to feel secure and safe enough to go out and explore the world
There they can make mistakes and come home to regroup in the presence of unconditional love and support
We can't be afraid to say "No" because it is actually one of the most important and powerful words in our parental vocabulary. And there's an extra benefit. It goes a long way in teaching impulse control and patience

R espect
This is the proverbial two-way street
Our children are on their way to becoming their own unique person(s)
It is difficult sometimes for us to embrace the fact that they may turn out differently than we imagined(or dare I say hoped for)
We have to find the courage to let them be who they are destined to be because that's what respecting someone is all about
As parents it is not only okay but absolutely necessary that we require respect in return
Often times it's hard to distinguish between who's the parent and who's the child. In many instances children tend to rule the roost (something about us feeling guilty and therefore letting our children get away with more......)
If our children think they have control now it might lead to a rude awakening down the road

E ngage
Daily conversations really do matter and really do make a difference
Talking with our children (as they grow) may feel like a battle and often is but don't be dissuaded
We have to keep showing that we are interested in their lives and keep asking those annoying questions
The more we ask the more we learn and the more we learn the more we can protect them
Although scheduling can be a nightmare we should do our best not to allow the family dinner to become extinct
Here's an important dining rule: All electronic devices are put aside; Parents that means us too!

N urture
Our children have dreams but often times they are not the same ones we would have chosen for them
It's hard but we have to remind ourselves that it's not our second chance at childhood but it is their first
We ought to encourage and celebrate our children in the spaces and places that they live and grow (which often times are not the ones we planned on)

T each
There is no greater responsibility that we have as parents than to instill values and teach our children right from wrong
My hope is that along the way all our children learn tolerance and compassion
I would be remiss if I did not mention the extraordinary flip side of teaching our children and that is our children are teaching us something new and wonderful everyday
So what else is a Parent to do?
P ray (a lot!)
A ccept
R ejoice
E njoy
N ourish
T hank

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