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Parenting is hard, and we can do it!
In our family of myself and my husband, and our two kids, aged 7.5 years and 4 years, we occasionally have Sunday afternoon family meetings to check in with each other, share our highs and lows, and circle up around concerns or issues. Several months back, our family meeting focused on listening and obeying for the kids… and yelling less for the parents. I came ready with a few ideas for our family mantra for the month, and we all settled on “We can do hard things.” It’s hard to be a kid, and it’s hard to be a grown-up and parent. It’s hard to listen. It’s hard to learn how to use tools other than yelling. But here’s the thing: If we don’t do the hard things, we don’t grow. And isn’t growing what we’re here for?!
What a gift it is to journey together as a family – or as a group of friends, or a couple, staff, or team – so that we can help and encourage each other along the path. To work together toward being wholehearted people who face challenges with vulnerability and faith. We can do this in the parent-child relationship, too, especially if we, as the parents, are willing to humble ourselves and lean in to learning from and growing with our kiddos.
After that family meeting, we wrote that “we can do hard things” affirmation on a bright sheet of yellow paper and posted it on our fridge. A few nights later, as we all headed upstairs after supper, our 7-year-old stopped us by the yellow paper and said, “Let’s all put our hands on our sign and say together ‘we can do hard things!'” And so we did and got through another day of being kids and parents.
I’ve learned so much since becoming a parent, and mostly, the teachers have been my children. I also learn from some great parenting books and blogs. My top three are:
- Dr. Laura Markham, notably her Aha Parenting newsletter and her book, Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids
- The long-standing parenting guide by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen And Listen So Kids Will Talk
- The Big Life Journal email newsletter and book. The Big Life Journal is where we first learned about family meetings, and they’ve got an excellent template for organizing and taking notes.
Join us later this week as we do a hard thing together and learn an effective self-regulation technique from Dr. Laura Markham that we can use in the more tense and challenging parenting moments.
Heather’s music choice to accompany this Guidelight is Little Light by Amos Lee.
Heather Price is an integral part of the Baby+Company Nashville education team. Formerly a high school English teacher and district-wide mentor for a Middle Tennessee public school system, she is now a trained childbirth educator and labor doula. She completed her childbirth educator training with the International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA) and is certified as an ICCE. She has also recently become a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician. Teaching and learning course through her veins, and she is an enthusiastic and compassionate facilitator in the classroom. A most useful part of her training so far has been that of preparing for, birthing, and mothering her own two little ones.