Being a parent can be totally overwhelming at times. This won’t come as much of a surprise to most of us. But what is sometimes surprising is how totally overwhelming parenting advice can be.
Not sure which organic, gluten-free, all natural yogurt to buy for your kids?
No problem. Stand around in the refrigerator section of your local grocery and you can bet someone (and probably several someones) will come along to offer you a whole dissertation on the subject of which yogurt brand to buy.
Want to know how to deal with your 2-year-old who just discovered the word “mine?”
No problem. There are roughly 20 bazillion parenting websites and mommy blogs out there offering tips like:
Teach your child the basics of negotiation.
Make sure you have lots of toys and duplicates of favorites for playdates.
Encourage your child to share with you. But don’t force your child to share everything.
Before you become a parent for the first time, you might wonder where you’ll find advice. Once you are a parent, you realize that the real challenge is not finding advice, but figuring out what advice is worth taking and more importantly, what advice will actually work for your family.
The Exchange Family Center Approach to Parenting Advice
At the Exchange Family Center, we don’t simply hand out parenting advice. We take the time to talk with you about your goals and why you are seeking support. We observe you interacting with your child at home or in other child care environments. Then we work with you to come up with a plan for modifying the behavior that concerns you.
We offer parenting advice based on the Triple P: Positive Parenting Program. This parenting model aligns with the latest research on social learning, cognitive behavioral, and developmental theory, as well as risk factors associated with the development of social and behavioral problems in children.
But beyond being informed by the research, psychology, and theory we also make sure that our recommendations are informed by actual experience. We listen, watch, and brainstorm with you. We aim to equip parents with the skills and confidence needed to be self-sufficient and to manage family issues without ongoing support.
An Example of the Positive Parenting Program at Work:
Meet Adam and Sarah: Tantrums, trashing the living room, and struggling to fit in at school were all part of a typical day for 6-year-old Adam. Adam’s mom, Sarah, was extremely stressed out, well beyond the parenting advice stage, and at the breaking point when she decided to look for support. Many situations with Adam escalated out of control. Sarah spent most of her time shouting at Adam instead of listening and talking to him.
The breakthrough: Once Sarah realized, during session two of the program, that her shouting at Adam was actually contributing to the escalation of his negative behavior, she was able to curb her own responses. As soon as Sarah was able to remain calmer, it started rubbing off on Adam. She spent time with him after school, engaged him in activities that he enjoyed, and really focused on praising Adam’s positive behavior.
Results: Adam and Sarah are doing great! Adam’s teachers have been so impressed with the change in behavior they have witnessed. His school achievements have skyrocketed. Sarah says that far from feeling criticized, the positive parenting program helped her see her relationship with Adam in a new light and relieved the pressure of feeling alone.
All parents go through times when they could use some good parenting advice. The wonderful staff at the Exchange Family Center in Durham has been trained to offer support without criticism. You will be amazed at how quickly observing and then tweaking your own behavior can affect your child’s behavior.
So, while we won’t tell you which yogurt brand to buy, we can help you figure out a plan for encouraging your child to eat healthy foods on a more consistent basis.
And, while we can assure you that the “mine” stage is normal for children around the age of 2, as they begin to understand the concept of possession, we can also help you develop strategies for teaching your child when it is appropriate to express ownership in line with your own values.
If you or a parent you know would benefit from positive parenting support, contact us today. We love to help strengthen Triangle families and improve the lives of children in our community.