As a parent I received some very good advice from other parents, including my mother, colleagues and from workshop presenters.
I always enjoyed attending classes on parenting although initially I was cautious as I thought “I should know this.” It is an interesting idea that because we are parents that some of us believe that automatically makes us an expert or that we should instinctively be able to handle the multitude of scenarios and challenges that come our way as parents.
But we parents know better. The adults who don’t have children know best until they have children, or marry someone with children. Then like the rest of us they learn that there are many ways to raise a child, no two children are the same, even if they have the same parents and same home. And who would want that? I like the uniqueness of each of my sons.
One of the enjoyable and grounding aspects of attending a parenting workshop on, let’s say, raising a spirited child, is that the room is full of parents with the same questions and concerns. There is also a class full of wisdom and experiences that the parents have to share which can be a bonus to the instructor’s knowledge. Often, parent classes involve discussions with parents sharing experiences, and you realize there is lots to learn and also enjoy the affirmation you are fine!
During the years I attended some small group sessions over a few weeks, other times I took classes at the college and lots of one-day or one-evening workshops. I took great notes while listening to Barbara Coloroso and Gabor Maté, and many others. I learned about the importance of raising responsible children, communication skills, discipline that is responsible for all; self-esteem; and the tremendous joy of being a mom and having a family. Healthy love goes a long way!
What is important to parents in supporting them attending groups or workshops is flexible times, some daytime, evenings or weekends. Child care concerns and cost are considerations, and make sure the topics are relevant.
There are a variety of family supports within Vernon and if you want to check out the various services in this area the Crisis Line has all of them on their website at www.peopleinneed.ca The CMHA Vernon website also has the most up-to date for all community services in the area.
In addition to the classes, I learned from conversations with other parents, some were friends, others colleagues, some of them parents I spoke to while we pushed our children on the Lakeview Park swing set. One mom in this situation gave me great advice on helping my son settle into a bed time routine that worked great, for awhile. And then I tried another parent.
While driving singer Michelle Wright to Vernon to perform a concert many years ago as a fundraiser for the Family Resource Centre, I described to her the various programs provided and she was very impressed. She shared with me her own story of struggles and challenges and being in a good place. That night she shared her story with the audience and I will always remember her last line, “There is no shame in asking for help.”
This is so true, whether this is for your parenting, your relationship, your substance use, your health, your mental health, your own challenges. Ask, and then ask again.
Michele Blais has worked with families and children in the Vernon area for the past 27 years. She is a longtime columnist for The Morning Star, writing on a wide variety of topics, appearing every other Sunday,