I was speaking to a friend the other day about her sweet new baby boy, his delivery, and the challenges she experienced during labor. She said “they never told me half of what I needed to know.” She’s right! In so many ways parenting is the most wonderful challenge you will ever have. Like anything else in life, knowledge is helpful, experience is mandatory. The books can tell you what might happen but until you have a 5 year old screaming because he just slammed his finger in the door, again, and his sibling standing idly by providing unwelcome feedback and commentary, you just haven’t lived.
Well, slight exaggeration, but you get my drift. As I was thinking about the things that helped me most when my two were little it was the occasionally off-the-wall advise from my mom, dad, friends and grandparents who usually got me on the right path. The best thing my mom ever said to me was “read the books, take what you can from them, then do the best you can. None of us are perfect.” And nor should we be, how are our children supposed to realize we are people too and that we also learn from our mistakes. I think one of hardest things as a parent is to admit when we are at fault to our kids. We know we should, if we are to encourage honesty and integrity, it is an important and humble lesson to learn. Been there, done that.
On the PBS Parents blog site there are several mom and dad bloggers who talk about their experiences as well as an online video show “The Parent Show” by Angela Santomero, creator of Blues Clues and the early childhood literacy program Super Why. An ages and stages development tracker helps you identify the benchmarks for social, emotional, literacy and growth milestones your child should be in. Keep in mind, however, that all kids develop at their own pace. Your pediatrician is your best guide to what is normal for your child.
At KUED we bring the information to a local level. Using PBS programs as an element of instruction, we host workshops on themes varying from Media Literacy to Nutrition. The workshops provide information and tools for every day learning at home that incorporate books, media and tips from our local partners. If you are interested in hosting a workshop for a group of parents or learning more you can visit www.kued.org/kids and click on Ready To Learn. We offer these workshops for free to groups of 10 parents or more. During the school year the KUED Ready To Learn staff presents at Title I schools and Headstarts in Utah.
Another opportunity to talk to other parents and learn from their experiences is coming up this week. The “First Lady’s Parenting Conference and Expo” presented by “Uplift Utah Families” is the initiative of the First Lady of Utah, Jeanette Herbert. Parenting Mechanics 101 will be held at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City on May 4th and 5th. Attendees will enjoy keynotes, entertainment and more than 100 workshops (for parents and adults), in addition to an Expo with booths, activities and multicultural food and performances for the entire family! Special guests include Governor Gary R. Herbert, First Lady Jeanette Herbert, international experts on the family Richard and Linda Eyre, relationship expert Matt Townsend, KSL Radio’s Amanda Dickson, KSL 5 TV’s Nadine Wimmer and FM 100.3’s Rebecca Cressman. Featured Entertainers include: David Osmond, Jessie Funk, Joshua Creek, Crescent Super Band, One Voice Children’s Choir, Utah Hispanic Dance Alliance, Asante African Performing Arts and Center Stage Dancers. KUED 7 staff will be there with 2 PBS Pals in tow and presenting two workshops about the use of media today and “Tuning up your Parenting toolkit”.
The dads won’t want to miss the Larry H. Miller Dream Car Exhibit that incorporates messages of safety for our kids into the expo on Saturday. You can register or learn more at the Uplift Utah Familes website.
No matter how hard the job of parenting gets, the best way to manage is to keep a sense of humor, talk to other parents and get professional advise when a problem seems too big to manage. We’re in this together. Now, anybody have any tips about the sibling rivalry thing?