After becoming a mom, life is entirely different. It feels like a life-long practice. I was horrified in the beginning, trying to do the best I can to support this little being. Many times I struggled after an action toward the baby. Am I supporting my child's needs? Too much care? Too less care? Am I too authoritarian? Too permissive?
Seeing the life unfolding in front of me is quite magical. I saw a little being from totally unable to capable, to able, to mastery for each of the essential skills he needs to master to live in this world. Watching him grow every day is a cure for me. He teaches me that it is okay to make mistakes.
Just like when he first stood up and tried to make his first step, he kept falling. But he never gave up. He fell, and then he laughed or sometimes frustrated about it. Then he tried to make a step again. Many days after, one day, he made his first step successfully. Of course, soon he fell again. But I cannot describe and cannot forget the smile on his face. It seems that the accomplishment of his first successful step for him is so satisfying that the falling didn’t even bother him. It almost like he knew that the mastery of walking would come only with the matter of time.
Many months later, he still falls sometimes. But never the less, he is getting better and better. He can walk on different textures, with or without shoes, and he can walk uphill and downhill fairly quickly that sometimes he almost can run. The falls made him able to walk. As he experienced each fall, he drew something from experience and made a bit adjustment. “Mistakes are opportunities to learn” is a sentence that many adults will agree. But I believe that many will give up before the mastery level when they try to make a new progress, especially when they have to do something other than they want to do something.
People who drawn to what they want to learn and keep practice over and over again, become professionals. It's like musicians practice playing instruments, like artists practice drawings. They are drawn towards the perfection, and they know that they can always get better. But when it comes to parenting skills, the situations are different. It's mostly a definite need for all parents, but people do not necessarily feel like drawn to it. Not all people turns to be a musician, but all parents need to be good at parenting. Plus, there isn't a well-structured program for parenting skills. If you want to be a good musician, you go to school. You want to be a real artist; you go to school. But if you want to be a parent, where would you go?
The teaching/schooling system can track back to couple thousand years ago where Confucius taught his outstanding 72 students. And all his thought has been kept in writing. What about parenting? Well, the parenting skills passed on in a hierarchical family fashion from generation to generation. Many might hear the same thing over and over again. "You need to do it because your mother told you so!" And a kid heard that sentence over and over again will probably think that “I will never do that to my child.”
And later on, he or she would find those exact words coming from his or her mouth towards their children. It is like a cycle that never able to break.
Not until Maria Montessori and Alfred Adler's time that Scientists and psychologist started to look at children's physical and psychology development, and the sense of community. Till recently, people study neuroplasticity and neuroscience psychology all conclude profound findings that the success of a person’s life depend very much on their early childhood experiences, especially about if the child has secure attachments at his or her childhood. “Success” here doesn’t mean how much money they get or what they became, but in the meaning of the ability to pursue happiness. And finally more and more parents feel the need for parenting educations.
1967, the first time in the United States, Dr. Thomas Gordon had the first P.E.T. (Parent Effectiveness Training) parent workshop. And in 1972, Dr. Jean Nelson started her PD (Positive Discipline) parent workshop. After that, many parent workshops are starting to emerge like spring bamboo shoots. If you count today, there are about 25000 different types of workshops in the United States.
I read many parenting books and being into many parent workshops. I feel lucky that I have the resources to grow together with my child. To me these first few parent workshops are with more integrity. Dr. Tomas Gordon's P.E.T. is based on humanistic psychology developed by Carl Rogers, and Dr. Jane Nelson's PD relies on individual psychology developed by Alfred Adler. Humanistic psychology has diverged from individual psychology. So basically the philosophy behind the two parenting workshop is similar.
After went to both PD and P.E.T parent workshops I found myself at ease and relaxed a lot more with everyday parenting. I cherish those moments that I figured how to work with my child about different problems. It felt like P.E.T. and PD is complementary to each other for me, personally. P.E.T. gives fundamental structures for the whole parenting system, while PD begins from shaking or changing parent's belief system about parenting. After a while, I feel the urge to pass the information I benefit from to others. After all, I am not just parenting my child for my family at present, but for the society in the future. Then I become a PD Parent educator and P.E.T. Parent trainer. I feel lucky that I met Stella when I went for P.E.T. Parent Trainer training. Sometimes you might have those meant-to-be-moments. Meeting Stella is one of those moments in my life. She created this blog so that we can share our thought and feelings for parenting with P.E.T.
A single spark can start a prairie fire, and the spark will do so when it is its time. I believe that it is about parent education time. It takes time but it will have to start somewhere. The fire has been lighted up, and we can carry it over and make it go further. I am glad that I find my partner on this journey. I believe we can go further if we go together.