Because I said so…
Because I said so. That is not OK. Did you hear what I said? I wasn’t born yesterday, you know. Don’t talk to me that way.
Have you ever said any of those things to your children? I would be willing to bet that you have. I’m sure I have- or at least variations on them. Parenting- we love our children, we are frustrated by our children. Some days are beautiful- full of laughter and fun and peace. Other days you are at your wits end. A particularly memorable day for me when I was home alone with an infant, two year old, and a four and half year old and my husband wasn’t coming home until late in the evening. It was fall and getting dark early. So I decided bedtime was going to be 5:45pm. None of them could tell time, it was dark and I had had it. It was wonderful.
My husband has always been a very actively engaged father in our girls’ lives. We parent well together. I have absolutely nothing to complain about. But even in the best of situations, parenting is hard. Everyday some new situation comes up that you don’t have a ready answer for. Your twelve year old brings home something that happened at school that you have never heard of, let alone have a handy parental platitude to respond with. We all know that technology has brought with it a need for setting boundaries for our children- what should they be? How do we monitor what our children have access to? What is age appropriate or helpful? We are not sure what to do.
There are a myriad of age-old parenting challenges that are common to every parent. We need to teach them to brush their teeth, transition out of diapers, speak respectfully to Grandma, etc. We also recognize that we need to treat each child differently. What worked with your son may not work with your daughter. Your sensitive child may not need the same parameters that your inquisitive, bold child needs. We have three daughters. Each one has their own unique personality and hence each required a slightly different approach. Sometimes I got that and sometimes I didn’t. Sometimes my husband would take me aside and tell me he would handle an issue with one of the girls. Maybe there is something to that mother/ daughter dynamic.
I found it so helpful to be around other parents as my children were growing up. I needed the perspective of those who had children older than mine to pass on to me what they had learned. I needed the comradery of parents with similar aged children, the reassurance that these phases and stages were common to all of us. Our children needed these other parents and children in their lives. Many of our friendships that developed when our children were young remain solid today. We are extended family to each other.
The River Center is a family and community resource center. That’s right, we are a resource for your family. What do you need? We have a number of parenting groups starting this month. Are you a parent? Then these groups are for you. On Tuesday mornings Bonnie Harris is leading a group for parents of tweens and teens that will start September 29 and run throughout the school year. Bonnie will also run a group entitled Cool, Calm, and Confident for eight weeks beginning Thursday, October 1 for parents of any age child. Kelli Tourgee facilitates a parenting group at the United Church of Jaffrey every Friday mornings. We have a play group every Wednesday afternoon for parents and their babies and toddlers. Our Farm to Table program meets Thursday mornings using farm fresh produce to cook with our children. More information is available at www.rivercenter.us.
We wonder about bringing some of this parenting expertise to the internet. We want your opinion. On October 1 we will be asking you to complete a survey about what you would like to know about parenting and how you would like to access that information. To fill out this survey you can go to our website at www.rivercenter.us; contact us at The River Center at 924-6800 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or complete the survey through our FaceBook page.
Our parent educators are highly regarded and well experienced in supporting parents in the Eastern Monadnock Region. Let me encourage you to join one of our parenting groups for support, great ideas, and encouragement. You will gain new friends, a smile on your face and hope for your family.