Introduction to Thrive Parenting Online
Written on the 6 February 2013 by Meg Parkinson
Parenting - the past, the present and what you can do to shape your families' future
Parenting is not what it used to be
Society has changed from being ‘authoritarian’ (do as I say, or else) since the current generation of parents were brought up, leaving the methods many parents are using obsolete. The authoritarian style of parenting had achievement as its main goal – children were at the mercy of their parent’s wishes. Many parents of this generation even went so far as to choose their children’s professions and life goals for them. But ‘do as I say or else’, just doesn’t seem to work any more, and even if it does, and your children fall into line instantly, most parents these days are left thinking that it just doesn’t feel right.
Other parents have been brought up, or subscribe to, the ‘Self Esteem Movement’ which is all about making their children feel good at all times. They praise their children for everything they do, even if their children have shown no skill, or they solve their children’s problems so their children don’t have to experience the pain of challenge or being unsuccessful. The thinking behind this is that if a child feels good, they will do well. Right? Well, interestingly, since parents and school systems have busied themselves making everyone they come across feel ‘special’, rates of depression have never been higher!
So, if neither approach works for parents today what can they do? We can’t be tough on kids and expect them to achieve, because they won’t develop a sense of autonomy, and we can’t indulge them and tell them they are great, because they might get depressed!
But it could be said that parents today are the luckiest of them all. They are the generation that have the opportunity to take the best intentions from both approaches and finally get the balance right! To nurture responsible, resilient, emotionally intelligent children and give them every chance to succeed in the 21st Century.
What we know now
Current research tells us that parents who feel successful are positive, encouraging, caring and sensitive and have high expectations. They are parents who recognise that enhancing children’s emotional intelligence is more important to success than enhancing IQ (Emotional Intelligence is knowing how to deal with positive and negative experiences in a healthy manner i.e. they can enjoy the good times, but they can also bounce back when life is tough and carry on with productive activities.).
Children whose parents consistently use the techniques included in Thrive Parenting Online have the opportunity to be more resilient, have fewer behaviour problems, get along better with friends, have better physical health and do better academically. Parents feel as though they are equipped to handle their children’s behaviour effectively, and therefore don’t experience the stress that parents who are using the ‘outdated’ strategies feel.
What you can do
So how do you teach your children to grow up to be happy and responsible citizens? With positive discipline. Positive discipline is about skill building and focusing on solutions. It is about you GIVING your child discipline as opposed to TAKING control of their behaviour, which is what punishment does. Positive discipline is constructive, encouraging, affirming, helpful, loving, optimistic and above all SMART because it saves so much time and stress!!!!!!
Which Parenting Style Suits You?
There are many different types of parenting styles that people talk about. Some with fancy names, some with derogatory labels: Tiger (ultra-strict, authoritarian), Helicopter (always hovering), Freedom without order (Your children are the centre of the universe), Lawnmower (smoothing away life bumps) and Volcano (explosive) to name but a few. It’s time to take charge, to come up with a label of your own, one that screams: ‘Parent that knows they are doing their best for their own family!!!’
Melbourne-based blogger Clairey Hewitt has made up her own label. She has decided she is a ‘Wombat’ mum. Clairey wrote that, "She'd be very warm and fuzzy, and happy to get down and dirty for a spot of free play with her scruffy brood. Not a fan of weight loss, heavy waxing or animal prints, she'd never win fashions on the school-gate field. But she would always be there to dig the kids out of a hole until they learn to do it for themselves."
The label that I would like to make up for Thrive Parenting would be ‘Water’ Parents (don’t worry it has nothing to do with birthing, it is a bit late for that !) As Lao-Tzu (600 B.C.) famously wrote: “Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is a paradox: what is soft is strong.”
In addition, water is flexible, it is certainly supportive (it can hold up huge ships), water is fun, water can be clear and calm, water can be cool, it can be warm, water is smart, it can get into the even the tiniest of cracks when nothing else can! Water is always there, but sometimes doesn't feel the need to make itself known. (For instance, aren't we 90% water and yet it certainly doesn’t seem that way). Water is real, it has moods, it can be turbulent, cold, stormy, murky, but in the end everyone respects water!
What ever parenting style you identify with now, you must be finding that it isn't quite working for you as well as you would like. Thrive Parenting On- line is about helping you to be firm but kind, to bring hope, increased skills and love and belonging to your family. It is practical and necessary, just like water!
How did Thrive Parenting Online come about?
As a teacher, who has worked in many areas of education (including classroom teaching from children aged between 4 and 13, in learning support and gifted education), I have always been intrigued by children's behaviour. The main reason for this is because when everything was calm and going as planned, I felt that I was a pretty good teacher. I cared about my students and wanted the best for them in terms of their learning and social development, but when I was faced with misbehaviour, I found myself becoming extremely stressed very quickly. I would turn into a raving banshee. I would stomp around the classroom yelling and screaming, making the children unhappy and prolonging the negative cycle. I always felt terrible and I knew that there must be a better way, a way that did not break down relationships so quickly.
I started going to every course I could to help me understand behaviour. I became certified to teach Choice Theory and Reality Therapy through the William Glasser Institute. I did my Masters in Guidance and Counselling and read and read and read. It was only when I went to teach in the UK and my Principal started taking me to conferences to share my practices with others, did I realise how far I'd come. I now managed the behaviour of my students in a natural and much less stressful way. I found myself teaching other teachers, teacher aides and principals about behaviour management. It took me a while to recognise that while working with teachers was helpful, it was the parents who would really benefit. The fact is, teachers only have children in their class for one, tops, two years, but parents influence and teach their children from 0 to 18 ( and perhaps longer while they live at home!) I realised it was the parents that needed this information because children feel safest with their parents and therefore try everything out on them, often with far more intensity than with teachers.
So I took what I had learnt, married the information with current parenting programs from around the world – jiggled things around and came up with the core tools I believe every parent needs to know and practice. All I have done is put all the information together in a way I see as most accessible, practical and useful for busy parents.
As you start to learn some new tools, or are reminded of them, remember each tool will not work for all problems, but don't give up. The trick is to sort out which tool is needed for a particular job, then practise using the tool and make a commitment until you notice it working.
One of the most important things to remember as you make changes is that perfection is not required, from you or from your family. To strive for perfection is to FAIL.
Watch the little clip of the plan landing.
In order to reach their destination it is essential for pilots to make a flight plan, they have people’s lives at stake! All the same, it is said that during any given flight the plane can be off course for 90 % of the time, flying conditions are not always perfect, winds change, storms are encountered etc. The point is, when you have a plan, you will get there, it might be bumpy, but you will get there. Progress is the goal- not perfection. Count the successes and you will get there.
All you have to do to get started is to go to the Thrive Parenting Online tab on the website, click on the Paypal Tab to recieve instant access.