Have you ever wondered how parenting can be so fulfilling and yet so overwhelming? Have you ever dealt with your child’s behaviour and then had to fight off the guilt and uncertainty as to whether or not you did the right thing?
Many parents experience regular battles with self-doubt, frustration, and fear that they are damaging their kids for life. In Break Free of Parenting Pressures, author and parent educator Debbie Pokornik discusses how you can throw off these shackles—recognizing you have what it takes to do a good job and allowing your inner wisdom to shine through.
Break Free of Parenting Pressures discusses:
• Insights into why you parent the way you do
• Secrets to help you understand your family
• Ideas for building strong relationships with the important people in your life
• Suggestions for strengthening your parenting strategies
• Techniques to help you relieve stress and increase your pleasure in being a parent
Parenting will always be challenging. Let Break Free of Parenting Pressures help you decrease your concerns so you can enjoy this time and blossom as a family.
Introduction Break Free of Parenting Pressures has been written for parents who are struggling at their role of parenting and need ideas they can use right away to bring things around; parents who are not struggling but want ideas for building strong, positive connections with their kids; and parents who have made it their mission to be the best they can be and raise kids who will thrive regardless of life circumstances. The information is relevant regardless of skin colour, financial situation, family makeup, or sexual orientation. The skills and understandings that are important for parenting are based on universal human requirements that do not change with circumstance. It is the how of parenting that makes a difference more than the what. As unique as we all are, the pieces of parenting that will most influence our success in raising resilient children is the same. We all have different starting points and dynamics in our homes that will influence how challenging it is for us to focus on this task, but the basic information never changes. No matter what your situation, you have what it takes to make a difference in your child’s life. Yes, it will be more challenging if you do not have the resources available or are lacking the support and assistance of others. I would love to be able to provide each parent with the perfect solution to their every need, but this is not realistic. I find parents know their situation better than any outside “expert” and often do a much better job of adapting parenting strategies to make them work for their family. As a result, I’ve provided a variety of ideas and suggestions throughout the book, with the hope that you will feel inspired to take those that fit your circumstance and adapt them to meet your needs. If your children are teenagers and you are just starting to make changes, some of the tasks I discuss will be harder to do. You will be best served to focus your energy on the relationship building ideas and only correct your child’s behaviour when absolutely necessary. If mutual respect has not been built by this stage, kids tend to rebel with delight, so focus on building respect and your own personal growth, if you really want to see a difference. Safety concerns and unhealthy living conditions will add extra stress and worry for parents. I hope it’s comforting to know that the aspects of parenting that help kids grow into balanced resilient human beings are centered more on love, acceptance, belonging, and understanding than anything else. Regardless of your socioeconomic background, maturity level, or access to resources, you have what it takes to do this task. As a social worker, parent educator, and parent, I have spent the last fifteen years learning why parenting is so challenging and how I can help people feel good about their role as parents. I have been accredited in programs like Triple P, Positive Parenting Program from Australia, and have created several programs of my own. I have learned that parenting brings with it emotional upsets that cannot be anticipated no matter how forward-thinking we might be. The goal of Break Free of Parenting Pressures is to provide quick helpful ideas, validations and reminders to make parenting less stressful and to help remove some of the self-doubt and uncertainty most parents experience. It is meant to give you a laugh, help you feel good about your parenting role and to empower you to embrace your natural guidance. The chapters have been supplemented with exercises, personal stories, thought provoking articles, and suggested resources, so an enthusiastic reader could use this book to guide herself towards major changes in her life. I’ve also included fun, realistic, easy and effective tips, which I call FREE Parenting tips, for those who prefer the ideas without any explanation at all. You know your family and your situation better than anyone else. Use this book for ideas and support but always remember you are the expert in your home. In the end it is you who has to feel good about any changes you decide to make. It is natural for people to allow life to flow when things are going well and only make changes when absolutely necessary. If we want to be proactive we can’t wait until things go wrong to act. We need to do some work in those good moments to build a strong family foundation so when the tough times arise we come through it okay. Breaking free of parenting pressures is about taking back our power as parents and embracing our natural guidance. I believe every parent starts out wanting to do the best job she can and believing she has what it takes to reach this goal … my job is to help you re-connect with that knowledge. My Anonymous Message When I remind people they should pay attention to how they talk to their kids and make it a habit to use a nice voice, they look at me like I’m pointing out the obvious. Most of us believe we are nice most of the time and would be shocked or disappointed to hear otherwise. I was one of these people until the day the universe conspired to show me differently. On this fateful day my kids and I were hurrying off to an appointment that we were already late for. I was rushing my kids trying to get them to pick up the pace and the more I pushed the more they resisted. Finally, I got them buckled in their car seats and started off to my destination. At that point I should have been able to relax. The drive was going to take us forty-five minutes no matter which route I took which should get me to my appointment only a couple of minutes late. Here’s the amazing part … somehow in the struggle to get my kids into the car I managed to push the button on my cell phone and call my house. I have no idea how that happened and knew nothing about it until I returned home and retrieved the message. There, on my machine, was this evil woman talking to these little kids in an angry, condescending voice. It took me a few moments to even recognize that the voice I was hearing was my own. What shocked me most wasn’t what I was saying, it was the voice I was using and the terse way I was saying things. I heard my sweet little four year old ask me to turn on the music. My sharp voice responded, “No, we don’t need music right now, I just need some peace and quiet!” My son started to complain and I responded immediately with little accusations of how he had made me late and how much I hated being late. I was not being nice and would not have believed it if I hadn’t heard it myself. This was definitely not how I like to think I talk to anyone, especially the two most precious people in my life. It was an eye opener and has resulted in my paying attention to the voice I’m using and altering it when it isn’t reflecting the kind of person I believe myself to be. I’ve never managed to accidentally phone home again, but I took that little lesson to heart and believe I’m a better mom because of it.
Debbie Pokornik is a parent educator, speaker, and workshop leader. She is a mother of two who believes all parents can benefit from support and encouragement at some point in their parenting journey. She lives on a small acreage in Manitoba, Canada with her husband, two teenagers, and numerous pets.
Visit Debbie’s website at www.empoweringnrg.com