Parenting with your Valentine
“I am a true type A personality. When we got married, my husband and I talked, planned and detailed everything from our careers and finances to our travel goals. We designed our home and shared the dream of having two children. Unfortunately, never in our discussion did we talk about how we would actually parent those two kids when the baby poop along with my anxiety was going to hit the fan,” shared a mom and past client of mine.
This mom and her husband are not alone when it comes to the stresses parents can face. How many of us received those specific set of parenting manuals that were custom designed for the personality of each of our children? How many of us have really taken the time to be in parenting classes at different stages of our children’s development as a couple?
At best, we might have had great role models in our own parents and at the worst, we may only have that one week of parent training in middle school where we “parented” a hard boiled egg that we dressed up as a baby – keep the shell intact and you pass, get a crack in it and you fail. This is hardly the kind of coaching that prepares us for award winning temper tantrums, sleepless nights nor the 24/7 responsibilities that come with parenthood.
When I met the self proclaimed type A mom, she and her husband seemed like they were on opposite sides of the discipline spectrum. She was the strict disciplinarian constantly setting rules and he was the laissez-faire softie who was breaking many of those rules she set. The trouble? Consistency in their home was nil and their opposing styles were creating a stressful type of parenting no one enjoyed. When their eldest daughter began to demonstrate major rebellion with daily screaming fits and their youngest started to follow her lead, they called me.
What they were surprised to discover is that getting out of what I refer to as the “Pendulum of Parenting,” swinging between two extreme parenting styles, was easier and quicker than they had imagined. Plus, they had a lot of strengths, love and connection to build upon.
Many couples aren’t as extreme in their parenting approaches, some will actually be very similar in their styles, but most of us can connect more with our Bowen Valentines so we smooth out some of those rougher challenging parts in our family. What I know is that almost all parents (including me and my sweetie) can improve by becoming a more united and loving front.
Sometimes it is as simple as having a date night and rekindling more of our own happiness as a couple – even just a date at home when the kids are in bed if need be. Indeed, happier couples tend to make happier parents.
Other times it means taking the time to specifically discuss what is working and what isn’t working and brainstorm better ways to approach family challenges. That’s why I was so delighted to be asked by Ann Silberman on behalf of Bowen Children’s Centre, Bowen Island Community School and Family Place to facilitate “Parenting with Your Valentine” at the Bowen Island Children’s Centre on Tuesday, February 19, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
This is a great opportunity for moms and dads to take pause from their day-to-day family routine and have me guide them through a few simple exercises to clarify, remind and inspire them to bring out more of their best as a united parenting force. With free childcare to boot, Bowen Island couples could view this as a much needed date night with a few friendly chaperones. Plus, the Snug has donated a champagne breakfast for two which will sweeten the night for one Bowen couple even more.
To register, simply contact Ann Silberman at 9626 or email her at email@example.com.