Parenting with Awareness

 I was given complimentary access to the Parent Footprint training in exchange for a candid review. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

Last week, I was nagging my daughter to do something and she suddenly burst into tears. In between her tears, she told me that she had a really tough day because her friends didn’t pick her for anything the whole day and none of her friends wanted to play with her during recess. As I hugged her tightly, my heart broke. I grew up feeling left out and like an outsider and I didn’t want her to feel that way. It was one of those moments that I wished I could turn to page 54 of my parenting handbook and figure out the right thing to do and say so that my daughter would continue to feel confident in herself.

Parenting is hard. Nobody gives you a handbook on how to parent your child in the best way possible. We may take a class on how to install a car seat, change a diaper and swaddle the baby, but beyond that, it sometimes feels like we are thrown into a live experiment with a lot of question marks on theories and results. It’s a strange experiment to embark on, though, because you are trying to raise up a human being! And this human being has a brain, thoughts, personality and feelings. What works for one child doesn’t always work for another. Adding another complicated layer to that is the influence of how you were parented. We bring all these things with us when we become parents and there are times where it gets overwhelming. Sometimes, I wish I had a therapist on-call to help me figure things out. They would ask guiding questions to help me reflect back on my own feelings, thoughts and childhood.

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Dr. Dan Peters is a co-founder of Parent Footprint

I have, on many occasions, stopped and said to myself, “Oh my gosh, I’m my mom. I’ve turned into my mom!” Sometimes, it’s a funny thing and other times, it stems from the things that I said I would not do as a parent because it was painful or unhelpful for me. But I find that my parent breakthroughs come in those moments when I’ve reflected upon how I was parented and after I’ve begun working through those unresolved issues. It helps to give me the emotional and heart distance I need to parent my child for who she is rather than being reactive to the feelings that are bubbling up inside me as well.

Dr. Dan Peters is one of the founders of Parent Footprint and is also a psychologist, author and host of the Parent Footprint Podcast with Dr. Dan. Through the various training module videos, Dr. Dan guides with thoughtful questions. Sometimes, the questions can be a little painful, especially if your experiences as a child weren’t so positive. There were times that I had to stop the training and walk away because I didn’t feel ready to answer the questions and dig deep into my relationship with my parents. I loved the fact that I could have this “therapy” session without having to leave my home and that I could pause it when I need a little more time.

I’m still going through the three different parts of the training and learning so much. It’s also helped to open up some conversations with my mom about parenting since she’s here visiting me. It’s fascinating to hear about her retrospect in parenting my brother and myself and to see my own parenting through her lens as a grandmother. I’m also looking forward to sitting down with my husband and creating a vision of successful parenting. Navigating and shaping our children into adulthood is not easy. I’m grateful for parenting tools like this to help me along the way.

Take a moment to check out Parent Footprint and all the valuable resources on this site, including the Parent Footprint Podcast. Let me know if you decide to do the training as well! I’d love to talk about it with you! Also, comment below to let me know what parenting resources you find helpful.

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