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The Parent Tool

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At the beginning of each Parenting Skills workshop I distribute a hand-out I call the Parent Tool .

It turns out that the word PARENT is a pretty perfect acronym for what we bring to the table.

So what is a Parent to do?

P arent

During the formative years we do not need 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' and complain 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 that we provide consistency and not waiver
A strong foundation at home enables our children to feel secure enough to go out and explore the world
There they can make mistakes, come home and regroup in the presence of unconditional love and support
We shouldn't be afraid to say "No" because it's actually one of the most 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 the way to becoming their own unique person
It's hard sometimes for us to embrace the fact that they are turning out differently than we imagined (or hoped for)
We have to find the courage to let them be who they are destined to be..
That's what respecting them is all about
And as parents it is necessary that we expect respect in return
Often times in this day and age it's hard to distinguish between who's the parent and who's the child
In many instances children tend to rule the roost (perhaps it stems from guilty feelings and therefore we let our child 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 we should not be dissuaded
We have to keep showing that we are interested in their lives and keep asking those annoying roll their eyes 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
I wish this dining rule could be implemented universally:
All electronic devices are set aside throughout the meal
Parents that means us too!

N urture

Our children have dreams but often times they are not the same ones we 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
I hope we 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 we have as parents than to instill values and teach our children right from wrong
Along the way my wish is for all our children is that they 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 (ourselves and our children everyday)!

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