In 1997 I was teaching first grade. One day a boy in my class came to me holding back tears and said, “Mrs. Garlick, the kids don’t like me and I don’t like me.” I have no idea what I said next, I only remember feeling a wave of sadness and naively thinking that he must have a horrible home life! How could a child feel so bad about himself if he had loving parents at home? I called this boy’s mom and asked her to come in for a meeting. What walked through the door was unexpected. She was lovely. She was quiet like her son, but in a gentle, kind sort of way. I shared with her my concerns and tears began streaming down her face. She simply said, “He says the same thing to me and I don’t know what to do. I tell him I love him everyday. I tell him how special he is. I have tried everything.” Again, I don’t remember how I responded, I only remember feeling hopeless because I could not help this mom and I could not help this boy.
Time passed, I stopped teaching and became a mom. The sadness of the boy and the helplessness of the mom have come back to me often because my lens has changed. I now see everything through the eyes of a mom. I know the feeling of watching my child be left out and the feeling of watching my child leave out another. I know the feeling of losing my cool only to find myself in the closet crying because I was sure I had messed everything up, again. I know the feeling of how a hug can fix a boo-boo when my child was little and the feeling of having the door slammed in my face as my child became a teen. I know the feeling of sending my child into the public bathroom alone for the first time and watching my child drive away behind the wheel for the first time. I know the feeling of wanting to fix everything to make the pain go away and watching my child become angry when I would try. I know the feeling because I am a mom.
And so I have made it my mission to understand everything possible about parenting. How is it that we can show a child love and he can feel sadness? How is it that we can have high expectations for our child and he can feel like a failure? How is it that we can tell our child he is awesome only to have him feel far from awesome? How is it that we can teach our child to be well behaved only to watch him do the complete opposite? I wanted to figure EVERYTHING out because I wanted to take away the helplessness and give hope. I wanted to know how to act, what to say and how to raise responsible, respectful, confident, joyful adults. And so I did. I went back to school, I became a counselor, I read and researched everything I could get my hands on and I learned. And while I know I can’t help every parent, I AM GOING TO TRY MY VERY HARDEST!
I have created my curriculum based on the authoritative style of parenting which the research has backed for years. It is called The Backpack, The Safety Net & The Compass. Parenting is a natural balance between nurture and structure, but the way we were parented will affect our ability to find this balance. In fact, it often affects every reaction and interaction we have with our children. This is what I call The Backpack. Once we understand our own Backpack, we begin to discuss The Safety Net and The Compass, the nurture and the structure, the love and the rules. The combination of both is the road to raising responsible, respectful, confident, joyful adults. In our time together I will lead you through why nurture and structure are so important and give you specific ways to implement them in your home.
There is no reason you should be parenting alone or parenting helplessly. There are ways to make a difference and the first step is doing it together. Make 2017 the year you make your parenting life a little bit easier. Set up your class today!