Having children opens you up to a whole new world! It usually doesn’t take too long before you discover the challenges of parenting. Maybe it happened in the early months when you realized you didn’t speak “infant” and comforting your fussy baby became an ordeal. Or perhaps it was later when you could plainly see that reasoning with your toddler was impossible. Most adults hate to admit that they find themselves out of their depth but when it comes to parenting it is actually very common. The parent/child relationship is transformative in nature and requires resiliency and the ability to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances. This could be fodder for high drama so the question is, how is a peaceful, nurturing home environment created? Is it even possible? I believe it is.
Being a good parent is vitally important to most people and this can create an added pressure to an already emotional situation. Adults that are not living up to their notion of parenting can be guilt ridden and very discouraged. The good news is that you don’t have to be a Perfect Parent. David Winicott, pediatrician and psychoanalyst coined the phrase “the good enough mother.” Without a doubt, the role of the mother is primary to the child’s development, yet over the last few decades men have become much more engaged in the child rearing process. So we now can explore what a “the good enough parent” might be. It is my hope to lend support through this website and blog to help you create a practical approach to parenting that works for you. Each family has its own culture and there is no “one size fits all” formula for a happy functional family. There are however patterns of communication that can be developed with children that will establish the qualities of honesty, trust and respect. With these in place almost any problem can be solved and the foundation for a happy family life can be laid. Having an understanding of stages of development, creating reasonable expectations and being consistent further allows one to work successfully in guiding young children.
Having children brings gifts on many levels. Our sense of purpose can be greatly enriched and our connection to the community and world becomes larger and more important. Often we can recapture some of the magic that we felt growing up as we see our children discovering the world first hand.In fact, remembering your own childhood, its trials and joys can be a great help in navigating the challenges of parenthood.
So, welcome. I hope that you will find some of the ideas and questions posted here helpful and even encouraging. I will enjoy hearing your questions or receiving feed back.
With this venue I hope that I may share the wisdom and experience that I developed through my experiences as a parent and Montessori teacher of young children. My career spanned thirty-eight years and throughout that time I continued to be amazed by the nature of children when they were given an equal amount of freedom and responsibility. I saw many children flourish and grow quite rapidly when their needs were fully met. Parents would often ask me what it was that helped the child to become so competent and peaceful. I believe that a respectful and safe emotional environment frees the child to explore and discover so that a strong sense of self emerges. Children blossom when they are integrated into the life of their family and community. As active contributing members the process of self construction is fully supported. Many people didn’t think young children were capable of being contributing members of a group. Not only is it possible it is quite important to their personal growth. What might that look like in the life of the family? I will explore this topic further in one of my blog posts. In 1986 I was certified to work with parents using the method called Systematic Training for Effective Parenting or S.T.E.P. Combined with my Montessori background I was able to craft a program that incorporated many aspects of the Montessori approach as well as the social psychologies of Alfred Adler and Rudolf Dreikurs who were foundational in the formation of S.T.E.P. It was their theories that shaped the practices of Positive Discipline that are still popular today. I have facilitated parenting groups for the last twenty-five years. Anyone who has been around a young child will attest to their energy, eagerness and enthusiasm for life. Constructively channeling that energy is part of the solution to any discipline challenges. The role of the parent is to guide and assist the child in his development by clearly defining limits yet offering a balance of freedom with responsibility. Respectful and clear communication establishes a receptivity in the child that goes far in supporting the parent/child bond. It is my hope that this format will allow people to seek solutions to personal challenges with an openness and timeliness that will help them garner the benefits of a happier, more peaceful family life. I suggest also that it is an absolute gift to the spirit if you can find the humor in the drama. Very often hindsight allows us to see past situations in this light and it is very fortifying.
Lois M. Olson
Founder of The Montessori Children's House Inc. Laramie, Wyoming Montessori Primary Certification 1973
Systematic Training for Effective Parenting facilitator certification
Thirty eight years of experience working with children ages 3-6
Twenty five years facilitating parenting groups
Ten years facilitating teacher training
B.A In Psychology