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Parenting is not easy and if there was one thing that I could instill in you as a Family Therapist it would be to really believe in yourself and have confidence in your child rearing abilities. We know this job is tough but if you parent with conviction and stay true to the fact that you absolutely are the one in the family that has the ultimate control, your child will thank you for it later.

I say this because this is a time in your children’s life when they believe they should have more say in their day-to-day functioning than you’re comfortable with and it may feel difficult to know how far you should push them or what the right directives are in managing their care. It is their job to convince you that they know best and yet you are the parent and you absolutely have more wisdom and intuition than they do. You have to trust your gut to do the next hard thing and redirect them into healthier choices.

The key to doing this is to stay calm, identify their feelings, use reflective listening so that they know that you clearly hear them, and then come up with two additional choices to present to them as alternatives.

Despite the fact that kids want to dictate their choices to you, it is imperative that you stay calm and strong and reinforce that they need to follow your guidelines.

This can be particularly tough when your children may be living in 2 households and you don’t necessarily want to be the bad guy but you also know that you are responsible for their guidance. Even if the other parent doesn’t find it necessary to set up a healthy structure, it is a requirement of good parenting and someone has to do it. If you are reading this column, I suspect that you want to do the next right thing and you are willing to sacrifice some peace and quiet to instill healthy values for your children.

You don’t have to do parenting alone. There are many reasonable and free services that are available to increase your parenting tools and resources.

Families First offers wonderful resources that equips parents with skills to deal with the many challenges of child rearing. They offer classes that will support you and connect you to others who are looking for positive solutions.

The Life Recovery Center also offers affordable classes to assist parents in positive discipline, communication and problem solving.

Active Parenting offers a 3-session program for parents of children ages 5-12. They also offer programs for tweens and teens, especially for children who have special challenges like mood swings, attention and focus troubles.

Systematic Training for Effective Parenting is a course that can typically be taught in a one day workshop. There skills better equip you to have more confidence and encourage consistency which is the key to healthy parenting.

The important thing is that you don’t have to do it alone and there are resources that will assist you in in setting up the proper expectations for healthy relationships in your family. There is no reason to do it alone. It really does take a village to raise a child so why not seek out the experts who can make your life more manageable. Don’t you think that you deserve the support and expertise of others to assist you in the most important job of your life?

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