Parenting, A Work In Progress

September 24, 2022

Quote of the Week

"What people of all ages can use in a moment of distress is not agreement or disagreement; they need someone to recognize what it is they're experiencing." - Adele Faber

This Article Inspired Me To Be A Better Parent

"Have you ever had a hard day, or even just a hard hour before bedtime, maybe you weren’t quite the mom or dad that you wanted to be—and then when you go in to check on the kids before you go to bed, they’re peaceful, angelic, beautiful…and you’re struck with a pang of guilt? I know that I have.

As a pediatrician and host of a parenting & kids’ health podcast, I come across a lot of parenting stories. Some are cute. Some are funny. Many, especially those I encountered personally when I used to work in a hospital, can be heartbreaking.

But few stories have ever stopped me in my tracks, leaving me both stunned and inspired, promising myself to strive to be better tomorrow.

Until this one.

What follows below is a story that struck me the moment I read it because—I’m ashamed to admit—I’ve experienced the same feelings as the writer. I’m willing to bet that you have, too. This is “Father Forgets,” by W. Livingston Larned. It was written in the 1920s and some of the language may seem a bit outdated, but the message is evergreen.

Read it and see if this message resonates with you—and if it does, I offer my own suggestions on how to parent differently below. [read article]

Reading Corner

Title: Balloons for Papa: A Story of Hope and Empathy
By: Elizabeth Gilbert Bedia
Ages: 4-8

"As I finished reading BALLOONS FOR PAPA, a heartwarming story about a young boy's hope and resilience when faced with the serious illness of his mother and his father's resulting sadness, I couldn't help but think about all of us who've been impacted by this global pandemic – all of the lost fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and other loved ones – and how comforting a book like BALLOONS FOR PAPA can be for children and the parents/caregivers they deeply love when a scary health challenge rears its head. I love how Arthur's yellow boots carry the thread of hope throughout the black and white illustrations, along with the balloons. The deeply-felt emotions of a child are captured in word and image. Brava!" - Amazon Reviewer

Be the Change

For this week’s experiment inspired by the article and the suggested book...

Here are some phrases to try out before saying something hard:

1. ‘I am going to say something difficult, so I would like you to just listen for a minute before speaking. Can you do that for me?’

2. ‘I am going to say something right now, and I just need a hug afterwards. Could you do that?’

3. ‘I just need to be listened to right now. Could I set a timer for one minute and just vent?’

This may seem difficult to say, and that’s okay. This is just an experiment, and with time it will become easier. Start with someone you already trust.

Take a moment to close your eyes and imagine being in a difficult situation. Then, imagine asking for empathy from someone using one of these phrases.