I think parenting is one area that requires the most knowledge and training yet many of us are ill-prepared for it. For example, we are schooled for a few years so that we have some basics when we go out to work but for parenting, far less or not at all.
I don’t know about others but I can safely say for myself that I only refer to parenting guidebooks when Faith came into this world. It’s a lot of on-the-job training and I must say much of my knowledge hinges on what I have observed through my parents, couples in church, reading mommy blogs and parenting books and well, common sense.
When the hubs told me about this workshop – Parenting with Confidence – I naturally got him to sign us up. This workshop is a joint effort by Focus on the Family and MCYS and our church leaders realised that there are a lot of new parents in our midst and organise it for us, knowing that this workshop will benefit us.
The first session focuses on the question of What is a Parent and discusses the different parenting styles, characteristics of a Backbone parent and gets the participants to understand the importance of caring for yourself as a parent. Before these, we were introduced to some biblical foundations on being a Christian parent (this is added on).
As we assessed our parenting style, it is not surprising that many of us would, to a great extent, be influenced by how we were brought up. Though I assess my current parenting style to be that of a backbone parent (the desired one) since Faith is still so young and easy to take care of, I reckon my true colours have not been manifested. On discussion with the hubs, I could well be a sergeant type (bossy, controlling, lectures, strict disciplinarian, etc). It’s not too late to change my style!
While the knowledge is helpful, I find the sharing of the experiences by the facilitator useful too. As a parent who has trodden this path, she is in a good position to advise and share her parenting secrets.
I’d better pen down some of the things that she (Carol) shared with us (in random order):
1. It’s important to lay what are the values that the family abide by from the time the children are young and be consistent in it. As they grow older and have to make a choice for themselves, they will decide based on those values.
2. In training the heart (and not simply the outward behaviour), the goal is to help a child gain self-control – control his tongue and make sound judgement – by the time he reaches school-going age.
3. With adults, beliefs precede actions. With children, actions precede beliefs and children first learn how to act morally before they learn to think morally.
4. There are 3 major periods of conflict in the life of a child:
– Between 14 and 40 months (both internal and external, greatest period of conflict in the life of every human being thus the terrible two. They are at a stage when they’re trying to figure out their identity)
– Between 9 and 12 years old (usually a period of greater internal struggle)
– Between 19 and 22 years old
5. Get to know the friends of your child and better still the parents. In that case, you will know who your child mixes with and their family background. So, attend every birthday parties or even better, organise it yourself and invite their friends over!
For the last part, she touched on the importance of caring for yourself as a parent. For those who stay-at-home, it can be very trying, having little communication with others besides your spouse or the children. So, it’s crucial that you have ME time and meet up with your friends! And that’s what I did (application!). I met up with my precious gfs over that weekend and we had so much fun just catching up. I love you, gals! Thank you for being part of my life.