Thursday, December 5, 2013

Family and toolbox parenting.

Way back in April when I went to the Bloggers Conference in Christchurch, Leonie and I were at the table at the same time filling in an entry to win a Parenting Place (formerly Parents Inc) competition for a "toolbox parents course". We both looked at each other and said the same thing... "I hope I win because I'm a terrible parent!"...We both had a laugh when we both won a prize each. The prize was for one or a couple to attend a 6 week course. And ever since April, I had been on the look out for one in my area, but none seemed to be offered, until last month a Facebook friend invited people for one at her place. Phew!...I was considering giving it to someone in Auckland. And it was exactly the age group I needed..."the Middle years 6-12 year old's".

The group had eight of us and one facilitator and we met for 6 weeks from 7:30pm to 9:30pm. The course has been created by the genius parenting Gurus and mentors from the Parenting Place such as Ian and Mary Grant and John Cowan. Each of us were given a Participants Handbook to keep and to write notes in. The night is run by a mix of reading the handbook, watching short snippets of a DVD with presenters, some group discussions and review activity's. Time and care was taken to listen to each participants views and thoughts, but our facilitator kept us on track and moving through each of the nights topics. And there was a huge range of topics covered!

What did I come away from it??
Well I learnt perhaps I wasn't such terrible parent after all! I had found that over the years that I had been a parent, I had managed to glean a lot of the ideas presented in the sessions from reading the Parents Inc Magazine and from a couple of Ian and Mary Grants books I had on my shelf. My down fall was that I had read them...but hadn't been applying them.

So after attending the course these are the take home things that we have decided to apply to our family.

  • There are a range of parenting styles...but our aim is to be a parent coach style...with a backbone as opposed to Sergeant-major parent we have been at times. 
  • Trying really hard not to discipline with anger. I learnt that the emotion of the anger will override the lesson that can be learnt to improve behavior for next time.
  • I want to to try and encourage good EQ in the kids by teaching good manners. To get along in the world they need social skills and our home is the first place they learn to get along in the world. Habitual good manners will lead to habitual good treatment of others.
  • I learnt about the Anger Rules: "Its okay to feel angry, but the rules are...I must not hurt others or things or myself. And I must talk about it." I have thought about putting this one up on the fridge for the couple of hot heads in the included! Along with some cool down strategies mentioned in my manual. 
  • We did a session on personality types...the animal one: beavers, otters, golden retrievers, and lions. I almost cried when I realised each of us represent all of the  different personality types! No wonder we all clash sometimes! There was some good strategies on how to coach each kind of personality which was fab. 
  • Understanding this is the perfect time for family traditions and creating great memories. Exploring together andhaving fun as a family. 
  • Putting in the time and effort at this time in their lives will help us A LOT when they get to the teenage years. 
  • But the major thing we have instigated is the "Family Meeting". I was a little apprehensive about it...but gave it ago. Our first family meeting was about family meetings! I introduced what it was about and how it will work. We decided a once a week family meeting on a Sunday would work for us...AND the kids loved it! They were asking for a family meeting every second day! I said NO..put it on the agenda for next time! How hilarious! 
  • Things that we have on the agenda were: Chores for the week...they decided that doing the same particular chore for the week was better than we let them do it. Other things we talked about were the things coming up the next week like what days I was working and who had school activities. One person is the scribe for the night and one person gets to have the gavel and be the chair person. The Kids Love being able to put forward ideas like "Saturday family  Movie night" etc. "Hmmm Mumma and Dadda will think about those ideas...." we reply! We make it fun by having ice creams or chocolate and a game after the meeting, like Uno. 

Lately as we have been eating our dinners at the table and conversing I have been looking around at my little family with a feeling of contentment. Like...we are on the right track if that makes sense? and we are making progress to making ourselves a nice little family unit. My hope is that we would one day use the words "we are a close family". Or that my children will grow up not only as siblings but have genuine friendships with one and another. That they will look back on their childhoods with fondness and joy. And  that I will make it through the other side with all my hair still intact and preferable my not grey from stress! 
So doing courses like this really helps! Looking forward to the next one!


Meghan M said...

So glad you got to use your voucher - and thanks for the awesome insights - I think we would get a lot from it too - should think about hunting one down in Welly xx

Miriam said...

love it! Good for you :o) do link to bmwb on monday if you want to xx

Leonie said...

Yay! you got to use your voucher!!
I really must look for one here in the new year.