I was running a 'reduce the stress in your life: nurture yourself workshop' recently and some of the factors that came up as a major trigger to stress were linked to being a parent. Difficulties with dealing with adolescents that don't want to come home, toddlers having tantrums, managing electronics with your child, consistent co-parenting, managing different family units, being able to spend enough time with your child, not having enough time for yourself, managing conflict, dealing with their stresses..the list goes on....
We don't always get it right, the balance between our needs and those of our children, the feeling that we know what we are doing and where we are going as a parent. We don't have book when we have a child. The best we can do as in the words of Bruno Bettleheim is to be a 'good enough parent', one who raises their child well and although there are mistakes there are also many ways in which this is compensated for by 'us doing right by our child'.
Bruno Bettleheim wrote his famous book The Good Enough Parent in 1987 and is widely known for his pioneering work as a child psychologist. He talks about the importance of looking at the world through your child's eyes to improve understanding and work towards living as a family as 'equally important partners'. He writes 'when we succeed in understanding how things look to our child when seen from his perspective, we somehow make his experience our own, not in his but in our way, and thus we gain a deeper comprehension of him as a person.' (he refers to 'he' but is referring to a child of either sex).
So how do we reduce the stress and increase our confidence as a parent to cope with some of the issues listed above and ensure that we look after our wellbeing too? Bettleheim advocates that an increase in understanding and perspective taking helps. The concept of being 'good enough' is also helpful as that seems to reduce the perfectionist tendencies we can fall into as a parent at the expense of our own needs.
We are not given a book when we have a child and even if we did the journey of being a parent is an amazing and complex journey which is unique to each parent and child. Sometimes although it can be the most exciting of times, the most incredible we can do with a little help and support on that journey.
It was in discussion with a psychotherapist who manages beautiful complimentary health venues, together with my findings from my stress management workshop, that I realised a workshop in enhancing parenting skills might be helpful. I draw on 16 years experience of coaching and facilitating parenting skills with individuals and groups within the criminal justice system, my own experience as a parent and knowledge of psychological strengths based approaches. In putting this workshop together I felt it would be helpful to consider the 'good enough' parent concept by exploring the principle ingredients of parenting skills work on affirming what you bring to the relationship and also covering strategies for managing conflicts that arise. It will provide 2 hours of personal reflective space to consider how to be the best we can as a parent and how to look after our own needs too. This will be the first in a serious of workshops and will provide an introduction as I plan to write more in due course linked to what people would find helpful.
I am offering the first workshop on Fri 7 Oct 10-12.30 at an introductory price of £40 with low numbers for a relaxed feel, at the beautiful Coaching Room, 6 Orchard Close, Flax Bourton, Bristol BS48 1UE. If you fancy trying out this workshop then book on www.paypal.me/mariposacoachinggb/40 or click on my website www.mariposacoaching.co.uk/workshops.
If you would like to have an informal chat contact me on 07811 740580. I am also interested in thoughts about this workshop and this subject! This workshop is also beneficial for those considering parenting or who have a parenting type role, are a step parent or who would like to find out more.