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Introduction to Parenting

Dear Readers,

When the Examiner invited me to write this new column, I was very pleased. I would like to encourage your input through comments, and emails; and invite you to send requests for topics that will be helpful to you in your unique journey of parenting.

Today, parents often feel helpless to correct or discipline their children for fear they will be labeled as bad (or mean) parents, or worse yet -- be reported to CPS, DSS, or whatever name Child Protective Services holds in the state where you live.

Discipline. Punishment. Natural and/or Logical Consequences. What do those terms mean to you? What did they mean to the family you were raised in? How were you disciplined or punished? This often depends on one’s culture, or where your family comes from. It is surprising to learn how differently we may define those terms from one parent to the next, even when the people defining them come from the same family.

As parents, we need to find a balance of loving our children, while at the same time giving them healthy boundaries that will keep them safe in situations when we are not there to protect them. We need to teach them and give them the tools that will carry them safely through life as they grow up, mature, and perhaps someday they will be issuing discipline, punishments, or consequences to their own children.

One of the things I have learned over the years is that children need the security of having boundaries in their lives. They need to know that there are rules, guidelines, and expectations that apply to them. Even though they may not like the rules we make, it is our job to teach our children right from wrong, and to back it up with consequences that make sense when they fall off track.

So, let’s get this conversation going. What would you like to talk about? What issues are you facing as parents? What are your worries, your hurts, or your questions around parenting decisions?

I have been a coach, a classroom teacher, a special education teacher, and a counselor to children of all ages, and I have helped many families over the years. I have raised my own children, have been a therapeutic foster mother to many, have taught and mothered children in treatment centers, and have been a dorm parent for a dozen children from all over the world at a private school. I have seen and heard just about every scenario a parent might face as they are raising their children, and am eager to hear from you and hopefully offer some advice, behavioral interventions, and/or parenting strategies that may help you and your family. Thanks for reading.

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