Practical Help with Parenting

One thing I loved about the parents’ workshop [see previous article] was the practical help Marya offered us.

In a class on getting more resource for ourselves as parents, she asked how many people were still drinking alcohol. Several people raised their hand. Then she said, very matter-of-factly, “Okay, everyone, look around. If you counsel with these people, you need to counsel them on this!” She said it with no judgment at all and a great deal of warmth and affection.

She also asked people to raise their hand if they had a hard time reaching out to other Co-Counselors when things got difficult with their children. Many people raised their hand, and she selected X— to counsel in front of the group. When X— said that she didn’t think anyone really wanted to listen to her struggles, Marya asked, “How many people here would love to listen to X— when she’s having a hard time?” More than half the people raised their hand, and Marya had someone write down all their names, to give to X—.

In the class on co-parenting, many of us laughed with recognition when Marya asked who felt that everything in their family would be perfect if their co-parent would just change? She continued, “We feel that our co-parent is so inadequate. And it’s true! The problem is, so are we!” I discharged a lot on that. I appreciated Marya’s loving but firm reminder that I have to take responsibility for my own distress and not treat my partner badly when his distresses show. She reminded us that we need to make our relationship with our co-partner a priority. (These are all things I “know,” but it is hard to act on them.) I realized that I still have work to do to back my partner as a father.

It was refreshing to hear that I was not the only one struggling with the issue of computers and screen time. When we discussed young people and technology, Marya admitted that it was a challenging area and that she had no magic solutions. She reminded us that it was an area in which the oppressive society tries to steal our children, and that we get to steal them back. Then she asked people to share their own experiences.

One woman said that when she sets a limit with her grandson on computer time, she offers herself in exchange and they often start roughhousing (engaging in physical play). Another had experimented with no screen time one day a week and prepared herself to give extra sessions on that day. A man said that he and his wife would “disappear” their iPad for a week and give lots of sessions. A parent of a teenager said that she spends a great deal of time playing computer games with her son and watching vlogs (video blogs) with him.

I will post on my bathroom mirror something that Marya said: “Just like my child, I am full of potential.”

Lisa Yarger

Munich, Germany

Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion list for leaders of parents

(Present Time 186, January 2017)

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00