what my bank account was,
the sort of house I lived in,
or the kind of car I drove…
but the world may be different because
I was important in the life of a child.~ Forest E. Witcraft
I am a single mom to two boys, just 18 months apart. Right from birth, it was obvious my boy’s temperaments were totally opposite. My first born was quiet and reserved – his brother was so much more energetic, boisterous, and quick to show his feelings – the good and the bad! I have to admit, I struggled with my parenting. I am an engineer; surely it couldn’t be this hard! Where was the manual on how to parent them!
I decided to take a leave from my engineering career and stay at home with my boys. I read every parenting book and attended parenting workshops … So many different philosophies.
As my youngest got older our battles increased. “Being the boss” parenting didn’t work – it just raised the anger in both of us and caused even more havoc in our family. There had to be a better way – surely?
We saw psychologists, social workers, play therapists and not much changed until I came across Dr. Ross Greene’s book, The Explosive Child. His philosophy was summed up in one sentence that said “kids do well if they can”. This statement stopped me in my tracks. The more I read, the more I was hooked and the more I needed to learn. I soon discovered that my son’s parenting needs were incompatible with the way I was parenting him.
This was a lens changer for me…actually a life changer.
This was not a quick fix; it took a while to truly wrap my head around “kids do well if they can”. Then I identified my son’s unsolved problems and started using collaborative problem solving to solve these one by one.
I also operated a home daycare while I stayed home with my boys. It was a good thing I was using collaborative Problem Solving, there were always so many conflicts to work through giving us lots of opportunities to practice.
Guess what?! Within weeks, our home life got a little bit calmer, there were fewer melt-downs, less fighting and less yelling. I was sold so I officially put my original Engineering and Project Management career behind me, closed the daycare and enrolled in Algonquin’s Developmental Service Worker Program full time. In 2012, I began working in regular classrooms in our local school boards, putting this philosophy to the test with the students…and I haven’t looked back since.
I’m a volunteer moderator with Dr. Ross Greene’s parent support Facebook group called “The B Team” and with Dr. Stuart Shanker’s parent support Facebook group called “Self-Reg Parenting”. I facilitate workshops for school board staff on how to collaboratively problem solve with students. I’m certified in Dr. Stuart Shanker’s Self-Reg® model and will soon start training to become a Shanker Method® Certified Facilitator.