Examine your parenting tools

As parents, teachers and/or caregivers, we have 3 kinds of tools in our childcare skill box. The first are the tools we learned from our parents. This are skills we had applied to us, some of which worked, and we admire, and some of which aren't so great, which we hope we never use, but never quite discard. The last kind can end up deep in the bottom of our box, only to shake out when we're at our worst, most desperate.

The next set of tools are the ones we learned as we grew up, from observing what works for others, and what has worked on ourselves. These can be perfectly good tools sometimes, but they're not really thought through, so we may not always have the one we need right at hand, or we may pick the wrong tool.

Our best tools though, are the ones that we acquire with maturity, wisdom, education and above all, empathy. These are tools that stay near the top of the collection, because we know in our hearts they represent the best gifts of parenting a child can receive. These are tools that help the child think for himself, choose good behavior for good reasons, tools that model good behavior your child can use through adulthood; tools that teach problem solving skills, that respect the child's developmental stage and abilities, that help your child grow and learn.

What are the tools in your box? How have you used them? Think about who you want your child to grow up to be, as you examine how you treat your child. Is this how you would want to be treated? How would it make you feel to be treated this way? What would you learn from this treatment? My job is to help adults sort through their tools, decide what new ones are needed and find ways to get used to using the best tool for the job, instead of whichever one they're used to grabbing.

Being an aware parent is a valuable gift to yourself, and to your children.

Engaged parents, happy babies

Engaged parents, happy babies