Have you ever taken a parenting class? Yeah, me neither. I mean, who has the time, right? We all have our own instincts, and then there’s the fact that we were raised by somebody. Plus, if any of us want to learn more there are like a million parenting books to choose from. That’s why when I signed my husband and me for a parenting small group through our church, he was like “you signed us up for what?” with a look of surprise rather than snuggles and a foot massage. But it was great, and we actually pulled some really good highlights from our parenting small group.
The study that our group did was a study called Loving on Purpose by Danny Silk. He is a Senior Leader out of Bethel Church in California. It was awesome. I highly recommend it. The workbook can be purchased on Amazon. Parents really could go through the workbook on their own, or do it as a part of a group, where the group leaders purchase the audio/video portions of the program so that the group can view it together.
Here are the highlights that I gleaned from our parenting small group:
Parenting groups are a great way to make friends.
We met other parents of the same faith with kids of similar ages who were going through so many of the same things that we were going through. Plus, our kids were able to play with other kids of the same age while we were learning.
Parenting your own kids doesn’t have to be about how we were parented.
For so many of us, much of how we are parenting is a reaction to how we were parented. For the things that we hated, we are absolutely trying to abstain from doing with our own children. Things that we loved, we are trying to mimic. And for everything else, we often fall into similar patterns. As a result, when pushed we do what is familiar rather than finding a new way. Our parenting group was such a good reminder that we can do new things and it doesn’t have to have anything to do with how we were parented. It can simply be that we have sought and are using new tools that are available to us.
Other human beings do not want to be controlled.
This includes my kids as much as it includes anybody else. If I try to take their freedom, it will be a battle every single time, and ultimately there will be a huge world of resentment between us. It’s more important for me to guide them in learning how to manage themselves than it is for me to try to control them.
There is no good reason to argue with my children.
In the program, they actually give some really awesome verbal tools to use to avoid arguing with your kids. So good! And really, what good can possibly come from arguing with your kids? It’s not like we can argue our kids into good sense, right? That has to be something they sort of come to on their own, maybe with our guidance, but certainly, it cannot be forced on them.
Connection with my kids is my priority.
One of the main points of the program was to make it clear that we parents need to keep loving our kids. So simple, right? Actually, it’s not. Parents are also human. We get frustrated and hurt. We feel defensive of our feelings and justified in our anger. And because we feel like we are the ones who should be in charge, sometimes we also feel like we should use it to inflict punishments that are justice for our feelings. But punishment isn’t the key, connection is. Loving our kids intentionally and unconditionally is the way to build a healthy, lasting relationship. It’s the way to open the door to their little hearts so they actually hear all the instruction we are trying to give them.
If any of this rings true to you, or you’re interested in more, I highly recommend this parenting study. If not, but you are still interested in meaningful parenting strategies, then I recommend seeing if there are any parenting groups at your church, or to talk to some friends or neighbors to see if they might want to put one together with you. Sometimes even just reading a book together with other parents could be a good way to share experiences and learn.