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RAISING PARENTS: Dear Dr. Dana, Happy Mother’s Day – Be Grateful

 

I’ve been asked to write a parenting advice column. It’s harder than you think.

Oh, I can observe and listen and help moms and dads get further down the road they want to be on by supporting them to see their vision, offering insight into what is going on developmentally, and encouraging workable strategies … but how to boil that down to practical, universal, meaningful, written advice? I’ve decided to frame each answer around with a challenge: BE “something”. I’m sure the best parenting advice is not so much a list of things to do, but encouragement to grow authentically in the ways you want to parent.

Today’s advice to us all? The answer to many of our parent questions? The thing I’d like to tell myself today?

Dear Dr. Dana, 

Happy Mother’s Day – Be grateful.

To be thankful you need to be reflective. You are the grown-up, you have insight and perspective. Look carefully at your children, at your relationships with them, at yourselves.

On the way to gratefulness you will stumble over the bits that are tricky – regrets, hurt, embarrassments, bad habits, and failures. These are a part of your story; just a part.

It is Mother’s Day. Choose to celebrate wholeheartedly. Thank the team you parent with. Appreciate each precious memory. Practice contentment. Count your blessings. Notice the growth. Express your pride in who your children are. Laugh with them.

Be grateful.

Sincerely, Dr. Dana

secret family portrait

 

YOUTUBE PARENTING: Looking For the Parenting Behind the Camera

I have always wanted to do a parent education series based the lessons learned from YouTube videos. I’ve amassed quite a list of funny, poignant, fascinating clips of children. In every cute video, there is evidence of children’s brains engaging and clues about the parenting behind the captured moment.

One of the first baby videos to go viral was a laughing Swedish baby https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjXi6X-moxE . Once you stop smiling along you can see how attuned this dad and son are. The timing is spot on – dad allowing the little one to respond, recover, and initiate.

Even the Queen of England appreciated this YouTube spot on a visit to Google. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/…/Chuckling-Queen-gets-fit-Googl…

I wonder how we can be like this YouTube dad. How can we be a part of “serve and return”? http://developingchild.harvard.edu/…/key-…/serve-and-return/ How can we build our relationships with our children through effective communication?

I am pretty sure, if at all possible, it involves laughing together.

baby laughing
YOUTUBE.COM

RAISING PARENTS: Go Red Sox!

Boston Red Sox Opening Day is the epitome of Spring hope -the kind of wholehearted, expectant hope that is vital to parenting.

I am a proud member of the Red Sox Nation. So yesterday I cheered with a few of my favorites and my whole city for the promising start of a new season. It was the first real sunny day and we won. Players, even for a few innings, were batting a thousand.

My family birthday season started yesterday too; all seven of my children were born in the Spring and Summer. Like the Red Sox, there is a clean slate on which to write this season’s play complete with all of the wins/losses, challenges, injuries, drama, cheers, sighs, rallies, slumps, and personalities that make up my beloved team.

Spring is Red Sox, bulbs, babies, Easter – tied by themes of redemption, growth, and potential. My job as a parent is to encourage, support, and cheer as loud as I can.

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LESSONS FROM SADIE: I Needed a Coach

Just a year ago, I picked up the newest member of my family: Sadie. This rescue dog and I have become fast friends. But more – having a young learner around has made me reflect on the learning (on both ends of the leash) that goes on as she adjusts to the culture of our home.

Sadie has had to figure out language, expectations, routines, and limits. As leader and interpreter of the world to this little one, I have been in a position much like a parent. It is within our relationship that the real learning happens.

I read the books, bought the equipment and toys, prepared the house, even went to puppy kindergarten. Sadie and I were doing ok. She was so much fun and learning basic commands, but there were unexpected behaviors and the beginnings of bad habits. I wanted more and Sadie needed more.

Enter Brigitte (foxhillk9.com). Not only is Brigitte an excellent dog trainer with skills, knowledge and experience, but maybe her most important contribution has been to coach me in the training of Sadie. It has been invaluable to work on my goals for Sadie, to be closely observed, to practice more effective strategies, to be encouraged, to ask questions specific to my circumstances, and to develop a trusted relationship wherein MY learning can be effective.

It turns out that reaching out for expert help for Sadie meant I needed a coach for me as much as a trainer for her. This is the sort of impactful collaboration that parent coaching can provide.

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RAISING PARENTS: What I am Doing Now that I am a Grownup

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

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