So, how would you summarize the overall objective of parenting? You have been on the receiving end of it, whether positive or negative, or some mixture of both. If you have children yourself, you're faced with a significant responsibility for doing something with these little human beings for the next 18-20 years, and likely beyond.
What is it? And how do we do it?
We were so excited when our first child, Jessica, was born in February, 1980. She was beautiful, apparently healthy, and this was going to be so much fun!
The euphoria wore off a bit as we brought her home and were suddenly struck with the question: "Now what? How do we do this?"
It didn't help that I basically dropped Ronda off at home and headed to a college class. I think I had an exam to take. But I had failed the first test at home of what it means to be a parent. Together.
The only preparation we had was how to navigate childbirth. You know, breathing exercises and stuff. He-he-he with a focal point. But now what?
Oh, there are the obvious things like feeding, holding, bathing, changing diapers, interacting, etc.
Looking back I wish we had prepared ourselves better for parenting. Like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle did in a public declaration of intending to study with "Supernanny" Connie Simpson to help them parent little George effectively.
"Parenting coaches . . . can provide a pathway for raising kids, who famously don't arrive with a manual," wrote Patrick A. Coleman in a December 19, 2019 post in Fatherly: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Hired Parenting Coach Connie Simpson. Smart Move.
If the main job description of parenting is to teach our children (how to become responsible, respectful and caring individuals), then wouldn't it make sense to learn how to teach?
In addition to Jessica, we had two more children, Josh (born on the same date as my father) and Kristen (born on the same date as her older sister). Somehow we stumbled through raising them to adulthood and beyond. Lots of mistakes and things we would do differently. Remarkably, they are all thriving in spite of our lack of parenting expertise. But we don't recommend going into parenthood unprepared.
"So, what would you do differently, Lavern and Ronda?" Glad you asked.
We would find someone to coach/mentor us in parenting. To learn the different styles of parenting and how to balance love and logic. How to incorporate the 4 C's of Choices, Consequences, Consistency and Compassion (Dr. Christian Conte). How to have a strong relationship ourselves as communicators and conflict resolvers.
That is exactly the scope of Parenting for Kid's Sake Coaching that we provide through Encompass Connection Center. At least 8 sessions about an hour in length, including an online parenting assessment. Scholarship assistance based upon household income and size. Practical insights and skills that build confidence as parents. Check it out on our website (scroll down to Parenting for Kid's Sake program).
No more guessing or flying by the seat of our pants. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are getting help for their parenting. Follow their lead.
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.