Fifteen years ago my husband and I brought home our first baby. Though we got some pointers before we put her in the car and drove home, we felt pretty clueless, as most new parents do. So we decided to find a class about how to raise this little creature. Now we have a really happy and well-mannered dog.
Several years later, we brought home our first child. While in the hospital we got some helpful pointers about the basics of parenting—breastfeeding, diaper changing, and so on—but then we were expected to go home and take it from there. We were officially on our own.
What if you became a doctor or engineer or mechanic first, and then had to find and learn the necessary information to actually go ahead and do the job?
Despite the fact that raising children is one of the most important endeavors we undertake as human beings, there is no training expected of us or routinely offered to help us do it to the best of our ability. Every other occupation, even those that don’t affect other people’s emotional well-being, typically requires some time spent learning and practicing.
Like almost everything else we do in life, parenting is a skill, and there is a wide body of research that can help us do it more skillfully--with greater confidence, less stress, and better results. Seeing parenting as a skill also helps us to refrain from judging ourselves harshly when we make mistakes, to maintain an attitude of openness and learning, and to continually seek new and useful information in our effort to keep building our skills.
As a psychologist and parent coach, I am passionate about helping everyday moms and dads be more mindful, loving and effective parents. Read on to learn proven, research-tested methods for skillfully navigating the everyday challenges of parenting.