As a holistic organizer, I focus on four primary areas of life: spaces, systems, time, and content. My tag line reads, “Who we love, what we do, how and why we live – because everything else is just stuff.”
So, I’d like to shed a little light on “who we love,” which I kind of lump in with systems – how we do what we do. Let's just call it parenting.
My work with kids started with a master’s degree in education and a short-lived teaching career that evolved into program development and organizational leadership for nonprofits of the Roaring Fork Valley. During that time, I worked with young people and their families involved with YouthZone’s programs for adjudicated youth. It was then that my wife and I conceived our first and only child.
While no amount of theoretical training or practical experience truly prepares us for parenthood, over the last several years, I’ve had some success with a few concepts that come in handy when I’m otherwise happy to throw my ostentatious seven year old out the window (which I’m pretty sure you’re not allowed to do).
Drawn from personal experience with two awesome parents of my own, training as a middle school teacher, and Love and Logic’s renowned methodology – I’m relieved to say that parenting (for me) boils down to a few simple concepts:
1. Children want their parents to set clear, consistent boundaries,
2) Behavior modification should be implemented with loving kindness, and
3) Kids become empowered by parents who model reliably responsible behavior.
By far, the most effective parenting strategies I recommend, I’ve learned from Love and Logic. According to their website, “Love and Logic is a philosophy founded in 1977 by Jim Fay and Foster W. Cline, M.D. It is the approach of choices among leading educators, parents, and other professionals worldwide. The Love and Logic Institute is dedicated to making parenting and teaching fun and rewarding, instead of stressful and chaotic. We provide practical tools and techniques that help adults achieve respectful, healthy relationships with their children. All of our work is based on psychologically sound parenting and teaching philosophy.”
Like most techniques, the variety of iterations depends largely on an individual’s personal interpretation. My own approach to parenting consists of establishing a compassionate and creative framework for implementing rules.
I know. That sounds – harsh.
After a recent talk with a locally renowned child psychologist, I was reassured to that my approach is pretty typical for fathers. We dads tend to lay down the law and build relationships around consistent enforcement. Mothers, however, typically foster a much more nurturing approach that focuses on creative expression. One style favors a free-flow of spontaneous exploration, the other a bit more rigid in its rule-centric application.
Both have their shortcomings and advantages; both have the potential for conflicting results. But done with a little understanding, I think both methods can be implemented with balanced and complimentary success.
When it comes to intentional parenting, we have an opportunity – if not an obligation to do our very best. If there is only one thing in our life time we really try to do well – it should be how we raise our children. For parents struggling with how to raise kind, respectful, responsible kids, there is no need to reinvent the wheel.
Our local resources are superb. Enroll in a parenting workshop. Sign up for a little one-on-one with an experienced professional. Look for a group experience that resonates with you and your family. If you feel like you could use a little support now, don’t wait for things to get better on their own. A little intervention can change the course of what we do and how we grow together as a family – and as a community. In addition to a wide variety of other parenting approaches, there are several agencies, organizations and social-welfare groups that teach Love and Logic workshops throughout the Roaring Fork Valley.
For more information on this one-stop shop for proven-effective results, visit Love and Logic.
Local Aspen, Colorado / Roaring Fork Valley parenting resources include:
Roaring Fork Family Resource Center
The Buddy Program