Marion Goertz, Marriage and Family Therapist




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Parenting in Pressure-filled Times

As a grandmother of three, I am acquiring the gift of perspective. I can cuddle with these precious grandbabies, offspring of my two sons, and remember my own boys as children…one set of big blue eyes and another set of brown…bringing with them a sense of high adventure that never stopped. The normal stresses of surviving adolescence with both of them were certainly there. However the accompanying, mutual angst of their evolving into their own persons is somehow only a dim memory in the light of my pride in the men that they have become. Which is to say that, despite our best efforts sometimes, there is a strong likelihood that our children will grow up to be happy, healthy, responsible people. I recognize that grand-parenting often allows for the blessings and not the everyday work and responsibilities of child raising. How then does a parent gain a sense of confidence and well being in the throes of this business of, “Raising up a child in the way that they should go”?

Adjust Your Perspective:

While you may not remember what it was like to be three or even thirteen, we do know that children tend to act or speak out of what they are feeling. Take a moment to try to imagine their position of powerlessness and ask what’s going on. Try not to add insult to injury by punishing an outburst. An emotionally distraught child is not a “bad” child. Accept rather that the child is perhaps “sad” or “afraid”. Be curious rather than critical.

Pick Your Battles:

Separate out what is character defining and what is self discovery. Choose to ignore what isn’t really important in the big picture. Personal safety and interpersonal respect are important and worth challenging. Forays into discovering new forms of self expression through creative communication, hair or clothing styles aren’t.

Be The Parent:

Parents need to provide their children with solid boundaries and clear expectations that they are prepared to stand by. Henry Cloud and John Townsend in their book, Boundaries with Kids remind us that our God-given responsibility is to “stick to our guns one more time than our child does”. (p. 126)

Keep Your Sense of Humor Handy:

We need to sometimes suspend judgement and just “hang” with our kids, enjoying them at whatever age they are at…starting when they are babies. Delight in their uniqueness and the gift they are. This increases our chances of being friends with them as we all grow older.

Ask For Help When You Need It:

We’ve all been at the end of our patience, our wit and our rope at one time or other in our parenting careers. Reaching out is a sign of strength and shows a commitment to care and nurture our families to the best of our abilities.

Children are often barometers for what is going on at home. Stressed children may reflect adults’ issues that need to be addressed so that everyone can relax!

**Note: See the attached Home Library page for helpful
resources for raising healthy kids**




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