Another year has flown by, leaving me wondering where the time went. As I think about my family’s milestones and memories over the past year, I’m reminded of how often I get consumed by work, my family’s hectic schedule, and the never-ending list of household chores. It’s easy for my family to go through the motions of our daily routines – get up, go to school or work, come home, eat, do homework or work, go to bed, repeat, repeat, repeat – and even be in the same room without really noticing and appreciating each other. It takes deliberate and constant effort to be a positive parent (and partner), and the new year is a good time for a fresh start.
This January, Sonoma County is celebrating Positive Parenting Awareness Month for the first time! We join several other celebrating counties in California – Inyo, Napa, Mendocino, Santa Cruz, and possibly more!
Positive Parenting Awareness Month is a time to recognize the vital role that “parents” – including birth, foster, and adoptive parents, grandparents, and other relatives or family friends – play in raising happy, healthy, thriving children. It’s a chance to encourage all types of families to seek and accept support from friends, family members, neighbors, and local resources, such as the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program. And it’s a time to let go of past parenting mistakes or regrets and start the new year with new tools in the “parenting toolbox.”
We encourage everyone to use and share these tips to renew, refresh, and recharge their commitment to positive parenting not just in January, but every day of the year.
This article is created by Nicole Young, the mother of two children, ages 14 and 17, who also manages Santa Cruz County's Triple P - Positive Parenting Program. Scientifically proven, Triple P is available locally through the Child Parent Institute. Our classes are listed at calparents.org/classes.
What is positive parenting? It’s an approach to raising children that strengthens family relationships, increases parents’ confidence and promotes children’s healthy development. Research shows that the quality of parenting and caregiving throughout a child’s life is one of the most powerful predictors of their future social, emotional, and physical health and well-being.
There isn’t one “right” way to be a parent, but there are many parenting programs and strategies that have helped families across the world. One program in Sonoma County is Triple P, which is based on these five principles of positive parenting:
Principle 1: Provide a safe, interesting environment. This gives children and teens the opportunity to play, explore, discover and experiment. This is how they learn and develop important life skills, such as communicating with others, solving problems, and being independent. The amount of supervision and limit-setting will change as children get older, but even teens (and young adults) need to know they have people in their lives who will keep them physically and emotionally safe.
Principle 2: Create a positive learning environment. Help children and teens feel safe and confident to explore and learn new skills by noticing their efforts, giving positive attention and descriptive praise, and modeling healthy, appropriate behaviors. These tips might seem too simple or obvious to mention, but many times it’s the smallest efforts that make the biggest difference.
Principle 3: Use assertive discipline. Remember that discipline is not the same as punishment. Assertive discipline is a calm, consistent approach to teaching children and teens new ways of thinking and behaving. When used as a teaching tool, assertive discipline helps children and teens accept responsibility for their choices, become aware of other people’s needs, and develop self-control. Someday, your children’s employers and partners will thank you for teaching them these skills.
Principle 4: Have realistic expectations. Every child and teen is unique in the way they learn and develop. Conflict and frustration can occur when parents expect too much too soon of their children. Likewise, children and teens miss opportunities to learn and grow when parents don’t expect enough of their children. It’s also important for parents to have realistic expectations of themselves. Remember there’s no such thing as a perfect parent or child.
Principle 5: Take care of yourself as a parent. Many parents and caregivers feel unprepared or uncertain, and asking for help is often seen as a weakness. Fear of being blamed or shamed prevents many people from seeking support. And yet, the non-stop job of parenting is easier when our own physical, social, emotional, and intellectual needs are met. This recharges our “parenting batteries” so that we have energy to be patient, consistent, and available for our children.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Let’s make positive parenting a daily habit and start the new year with a renewed focus on our family relationships and parenting practices. We're in – are you?
Child Parent Institute
This monthly column provides tips for anyone who is helping raise children, based on the world-renowned Triple P - Positive Parenting Program, available to families in Sonoma County at the Child. If you have a question or idea for a future column, contact Grace Harris, Children and Family Services Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Upcoming January Classes at CPI
Handling Anger, Mine and My Child’s
Tuesdays | January 8 – February 12 | 6:00-8:00pm
Positive Parenting Teens
Wednesdays | January 9 – 23 | 6:00-8:00pm
Positive Parenting for Fathers
Thursdays | January 10 – February 14 | 6:30-8:00pm
Single and Parenting
Fridays | January 11 – 25 | 6:30-8:30pm
Parenting Apart Without Tears
Thursdays | January 17 - 31 | 6:00-8:00pm
Raising Resilient Children
Kaiser Medical Office Building 2
401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa
Wednesday | January 23 | 6:00-8:00pm
Mondays | January 28 – March 11 | 6:00-7:00pm
Co-Parent Counseling Orientation
(Required for co-parent counseling)
Tuesday | January 29 | 6:00-7:00pm
Wednesday | January 30 | 6:30-8:00pm
Positive Parenting for All Ages
Wednesdays | January 30 – March 6 | 6:00-8:00pm
Thursday | January 31 | 6:00-7:30pm
Clases en Español
Imagine You (En Español)
Lunes | 14 de Enero | 6:00-7:30pm
Aprendiendo a Manejar Mi Enojo y el de Mis Hijos
Martes | 5 al 26 de Marzo | 6:00-8:00pm
Miércoles | 6 al 20 de Marzo | 6:00-8:00pm
Disciplina en Dos Hogares
Miércoles | 27 de Marzo | 6:00-8:00pm
Programa de Conciencia para Padres y Niños (edades 10+)
Jueves | 4 al 25 de Abril | 6:30-8:00pm
Criando Niños Resistentes
401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa
Miércoles | 24 de Abril | 6:00-8:00pm
Parents of Children with Autism & Similar Issues
FREE | 1st Thursday of every month
Drop in, no need to register.
Thursdays | February 7, March 7, April 4 | 9:00-11:00am
Parenting Through Recovery from North Bay Fires
A drop-in group for parents who have lost their homes in the recent fires.
FREE | Drop in, no need to register.
Fridays | January 11, February 8, March 8, April 12 | 9:00-10:30am
Pet Loss Group (ages 8-11)
For children who have lost a pet due to the fires in Sonoma County.
FREE | 6 Sessions, registration required
Tuesdays | January 15 - February 19 | 4:00-5:00pm