Parenting in a Cookie Cutter World

Here's some food for thought.

- Parenting can be the most rewarding and frustrating experience, all at the same time.

-There are thousands of books on the subject, and you could spend years trying to make sense of them.

-We live in a world that thrives on independence and conformity at the same time!

-When you have a child that won't fit in a cookie cutter, you've got unique challenges!

I would never claim to be an expert in this area (nor are most); however, I would say that I’ve found or been taught routines , organizing methods and new ways of looking at parenting that help me to deal with the complexities of raising an out-of-the-box child.

And, yes, yes, I still call my sisters all the time! My family is my lifeline.

During our many hours spent in speaking to professionals, I've learned two valuable tricks that have changed the way I parent: recommendations and snippets.

Recommendations

I’ve had LOTS of time during appointments to talk with doctors, occupational therapists, teachers, psychiatrists and psychologists. They make up our " team ." I constantly ask them for reading recommendations.

You see, I have a horrible memory! So, despite the best advice that’s given to me, I won’t remember the important parts in two hours.

I learned to ask for the reading materials. Almost ALL of it can be traced back to a theory or article or book of some nature. It’s so easy and so beneficial.

Golden Nuggets of Wisdom

There are those times when you're having a conversation and realize that you've just been given a golden nugget of wisdom. That’s the time to ask for material. Here are a couple of ways.

1. I noticed you have a lot of information about_______. Where could I find a book that explains it like you do?

2. Do you have any materials that would discuss this in more detail?

3. Where could I go to find out more about______?

They can steer you in the right direction. Not only that, but the reading and research that you do is focused and meaningful. Your time is precious. You don’t have the luxury of sorting and sifting that is often necessary when researching a topic.

When your therapist tells you, “I teach a lot of parenting skills based on the theories of Love and Logic .”, or “I recommend that you determine your style of ______.”, that’s gold!

Golden nuggets are also offered by your professionals in the form of questions. For example, we heard, “Have you ever heard of executive function ?” When you get specific information like that, it tells you exactly where you need to focus your time and energy.

When two of our psychologists began talking about how helpful dogs can be, I had to pay attention. It wasn't just one, but two people making the same remarks.

And when I did the research on the relationship between animals and kids? I discovered that animals, especially dogs, can have an amazing effect on the behavior of children.

Having two independent professionals make the same reccomendation turned us towards a type of treatment or therapy we would have never considered.

Snippets

Because I forget things so quickly, I have a second trick that helps to keep me grounded in the world of chaos: snippets.

I have a list posted in several discreet places in my house, and on it is a list of things to remember. They are my snippets.

What makes the list? Those things that gave me goose bumps when I read or heard them! You know what I’m talking about. Those comments haunt you in a good way. I’m so afraid I will forget them, I write them down.

The key to success is that your list is that:

1. It has to be meaningful to you

2. It has to fit on one page

3. It must be a significant trigger

My List

I attend church, and my list reflects those aspects of my core belief system. I survived a very scary brain infection that required rehabilitation, and it appears in my list. Your list will reflect your core beliefs and your life.

o Find the magic in ordinary days

o Daily quiet time with God

o Be a saver, not a spender

o Be active within my church family

o Cherish my precious gifts: husband and children

o I am my best when my plate is half full

o We are made to be connected

o What needs to be done right now?

o Be grateful regardless of the circumstances

o Seek to be a servant

o Celebrate the challenges of life

o Many hands make light work

o I can’t control the curve balls of life, but I can control my response.

When things feel too chaotic, I read my list. When I need a refresher, I read my list. If I'm frustrated... you've got the picture.

My parenting tips and advice comes from the research I have done based on the recommendations of the professionals that have helped my daughter along the way, teachers who have really made a difference, and parents who are thriving while living in the trenches. They’ve all blessed our lives in so many little ways.

Be thankful for those people. Their simple words may change your life.