Pointers for Parents – Available Tuesday Nights
My wife and I, like millions of other anxious first-time parents, bought a copy of Heidi Murkoff’s and Sharon Mazel’s, “What to Expect When You are Expecting” with the belief that this modern-age bible would impart upon us all the wisdom necessary to traverse the new frontier of babyhood. Additionally, multiple readings of the subsequent versions of “What to Expect the First Year” and so on would enable us to reach a point where we would be able to navigate parenthood using common sense, lessons from childhood – the good and the bad – and the wisdom handed down by our parents. Obviously, we knew it wouldn’t be easy raising a child from entry into this world to his exit out of the house, hopefully, to college. The path to parental wisdom appeared long but manageable.
Well, at least I knew physical exhaustion was inevitable. When it came to reading the mind of a child, however, and knowing his or her unique needs and problems, I wanted an answer from a fix-it book. Just as many people today use Web MD, I wanted a diagnosis based on the symptom. I wanted it clear and linear. Yet, what did I find in the books? I found more discussion about us, the parents, and the importance of “knowing thyself” and no access to a secret code. All I wanted was a formula. Apparently, the learning curve goes on. So, where do I go from here?
Eventually I found that as a parent of a young child the road to self-awareness and parental enlightenment, if you wanted to take it, was short. It just seemed that the mix of peers and literature was immediately accessible and abundant. Unfortunately, as my child reached middle-school, the same support system that provided us guidance began to evaporate. Nevertheless, didn’t we go through similar transitions in our youth? Further, we had the benefit of experience and the wisdom that arrives with our self-awareness, education and our inherent ability as parents. However, the ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus stated, “That you cannot step into the same river twice.” He was correct. The setting had changed. Again, I wanted to reach for the fix-it book.
At least I know this: As our children approach the pre-adolescence and the teenage years our search to find the parenting formula continues because we want to get it done right. And the right mix doesn’t involve baby proofing your house or distracting your kid with a big cardboard box. The fight over the remote control has changed to the battle to change privacy control settings on the computer and many other issues that has us debating the classic nature vs. nurture and the changing norms in our society.
Therefore, on this road, I ask where can we find a stop in the Crescenta Valley where we might be able to find place to discuss and learn more about parenting a pre-adolescent or a teenager, or both at the same time? Starting Sept. 13 at 7:15 p.m. the Glendale Unified School District, the Crescenta-Cañada Family YMCA and the Crescenta Valley Drug and Alcohol Prevention Coalition are sponsoring for the second consecutive year free weekly parent education seminars at Crescenta-Canada YMCA.
I attended several seminars last year and came away highly impressed by the interactive format led by Pam Erdman MFT (Marriage and Family Therapist), and thankful for the insight I gleaned from the discussion. This year, in addition to Pam, we have added Paul Royer LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) to the roster. We have an organized series of presentations on the calendar including parent foundations, peer pressure, parenting styles, communication, motivation and other relevant and timely topics. Any Tuesday evening is a good time to drop-in and ask a pressing question or two.
If you attend and take away only one thing from the seminar it will be well worth it, because I anticipate you will share this information with another parent as a member of the unofficial Crescenta Valley parental support team.
David Marquez is the executive director of CV Drug and Alcohol Prevention Coalition. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.