Reflective Parenting Class

Since September 21st I’ve been taking a class called Reflective Parenting at Familyworks in Wallingford. I’ve really been enjoying the class. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I guess I thought there would be mostly instruction and tricks of the trade sort of stuff, but that’s not what’s happening. What I’ve found, at least for me, is that it’s half class, half counseling/commiserating with other parents.

There’s a teacher, handouts and even homework, but there’s also a discussion dynamic. I actually shared in class this week, which is pretty remarkable considering I’m a little shy. It took me three weeks but I finally got up the courage to share, and every week we’ve had to split into pairs and do some discussion questions. It’s actually been nice knowing that Jack is in a safe and even super fun environment while I get to hone my parenting skills and talk with other parents.

It’s also a fairly mixed group, with single parents and couples, so that’s a great dynamic. Of course at times it can be difficult. I see the husbands and wives picking up their children after class and think how nice it must be to have a partner in this crazy game of raising children. Or I see the couple with their brand new, mere weeks old baby and wonder if that will ever be me again. I know some of you are going to say, of course it will! But you can’t really know for sure. Even if I’m the best mom on the planet (which I’m certain I’m not) doesn’t mean that I get to have more. Just because I’m awesome, funny, attractive and all that jazz doesn’t guarantee me another husband or even a boyfriend. So I feel the acute loneliness too, when I go to this class.

It’s not a bad thing to feel, nor is it good it’s just a feeling I tend to ignore while I’m at the class because I have a thing about not crying in front of any person ever strangers. So I do my best to let those feelings go and just pay attention. Because there’s some great stuff in the class. Of course there’s no foolproof methods they’re giving out. Some of it is new to me, like understanding the emotional life of toddlers and just how important play is to children. Some of it I know, like placing boundaries, but still being flexible. It’s all great to hear, especially from a professional.

I think the best thing about this class is finding out that no one is perfect. I know in my mind that every parent struggles, seeing as how parenting is the most difficult job on the planet. But when you’re in the midst of it and hear stories about what other parents are dealing with it’s sort of a relief. Not in a “I’m so glad my kid isn’t like that” way but in a “I’m so glad I’m not the only one” sort of way. It’s so easy to judge parents. I see it all the time, especially perusing parenting websites. People ask for advice and get reamed, by other parents! It’s absurd!

I went online once to look up an appropriate time to start weaning a child off of pacifiers. I’ve used them since Jack was a baby. He only uses them at nap/bedtime now, but I know soon he’ll have to stop altogether. So I was looking at some message boards. One woman asked the very question I was pondering and the first response was something like you were an idiot for ever using them. They went on to berate her for another sentence, then told about how they never used them. Well that’s really great, glad you had the type of baby who never needed a pacifier. But you don’t have to be a bitch about it.

All that to say I love this class and I’m bummed it’s ending in two weeks. It’s given me some really useful insight and I wish it could go on for a while longer. At least until Jack has passed through the terrible twos … and threes … actually I heard it’s pretty gnarly from here on out … awesome.

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One response to “Reflective Parenting Class

  1. what a great thing! wish i’d had something like that when my girls were young!! yay for you stepping up and out there, staci ~ and maybe there will be another program out on the horizon soon, too. i’m thinkin’ so. 🙂

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