I believe that parenting is the most important role we have, but I don't believe it is the hardest. We make parenting harder for ourselves because we don't actually make the time to really improve our parenting skills. The intention is there, but like many things, we don't actually turn that intention into action. How much time have you really spent improving your parenting communication or listening skills, for example?
We make parenting harder for ourselves because we read books on the subject with catchy titles which only share the parent's perspective and that don't actually teach parents the communication skills to effectively handle a child's response. Shocking right? But it is true, most books on the subject conveniently forget to mention what to do if the child does not respond exactly as you want them to. We make parenting harder for ourselves because we think it should come naturally. We make parenting harder on ourselves because we think the kids are making it hard on us without realizing we are missing some skills that could make it easier.
We make parenting harder for ourselves because we don't actually break it down and think about the components that make up our parenting role -- such as communicating, listening, sharing values respectfully and problem solving fairly. We make parenting harder for ourselves because we don't actually learn how to communicate, listen, share our values respectfully or problem solve fairly. We make parenting harder for ourselves because by not knowing these things, we miss out on moments of connection with our children that can take our relationships to a much deeper, more rewarding and satisfying level.
Parenting can be broken down, just like any other process, yet for some reason, we think it has to be harder than that. It simply is not the case, it can be made easier and more enjoyable at the same time. Dr. Thomas Gordon did exactly that over 50 years ago when he wrote his book titled Parent Effectiveness Training: The Proven Program For Raising Responsible Children. All of our relationship dynamics, not just parenting, fall into this simple diagram and so many of us are missing the communications skills to really know how to best handle situations because we don't truly understand relationship dynamics. More importantly, we don't really invest the time in developing the communication skills that would make the difference.
Myself and other certified instructors around the world teach the communication skills developed by Dr. Thomas Gordon. I know I speak for all of us when I say that not one class goes by where the parents in the class don't say "why doesn't every parent read this book and take this class?" I am doing my part to get the word out there about this parenting resource that I want every parent to know about. It is not enough to simply wish all parents had these skills we have to do a better job of getting the word out there.
Why should we invest more time in understanding the dynamics of parenting and other relationships? Why should we invest more time in learning how to really communicate, listen, share values respectfully and problem solve fairly? Because we are raising the next generation who are learning how to navigate relationships using our example. The better we are at it, the better they will be at it. In addition we only have one shot at this life, don't you want to know that you really did get all that you could from this amazing parenting experience?
I believe that we are all doing the best we can, but I also believe we could all be doing an even better job if we just knew how. Parenting does not have to be that hard, we are making it harder by not giving ourselves the communication skills that would make it much easier and even more enjoyable.