Family Services of Greater Vancouver, is one such Parenting class that just lets you know that it is okay to be imperfect at times because neither parents nor children can be perfect all the time.
I had enrolled myself in the Nobody's Perfect class series 5 weeks ago on a friend's recommendation. I am glad I went with her idea. They offered child minding while the parent attended the classes. Providing Ayaan an environment where he could learn to share and behave around other children without my supervision? I was all for it. The first two weeks, the classes were held in the same room where the children were. Then the classes were moved to an adjacent room. So the children learned to be by themselves. We did have a couple children crying but after a while they were just fine. We learned that by not jumping to save our child from their transient emotional outbursts, we allow them to practice self-control while letting them trust their teachers at the same time.
We discussed about taking care of ourselves, our emotional, physical and social aspects. If we are healthy and happy then we will be in the right frame of mind to take care of our children. We discussed about providing a safe environment for our children, about growth and the developmental milestones. Most importantly we discussed about their behavior and how setting clear rules and following through with the consequences outlined can encourage positive behavior in our children. We learned what most children do to gain their parent's attention and how we as parents can respond, so as to foster self discipline and cooperation from our children. What I liked best over all was the fact that we as Parents were able to vent our feelings and our everyday parenting challenges. And as a team we came up with solutions and answers that seemed much too obvious but we never thought of it by ourselves.
One of the parent pointed out that a child who is submissive, and over obedient is a child that needs more attention than the disobedient, mischief maker because the seemingly perfect child might actually be very resentful from within and puts on a perfect demeanor only to please everybody all the time. My ah-ha moment came about when the facilitator pointed out the importance of praise. Praising too much and too often can lead the children to believe that they can do no wrong and once they are in school they might get disappointed when they don't receive that kind of praise or if they see other children performing better than them. So, I have to learn how and when to give praise appropriately. I may not be perfect all the time but now I know that nobody is perfect and I'm not expected to be perfect either.
Given the dynamic family environment that each child grows up in, achieving perfection all the time is setting a very high standard for yourself and your children. We need to find a middle ground. A balance in our parenting skills where we are neither too authoritative nor too permissive. We need to trust ourselves that we have the ability to be good parents to our children. Sure it takes a lot of hard work but it is all worth it. At the end of each manual that we received in class it says... "the more you put into being a parent, the more you'll get out of it-in love and in the good feeling of a job well done".