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When you took your first child home from the hospital, you knew everything there about how to be a good parent, right? Not even! Most of us didn’t even read a parenting book before we become parents and yet, we all wish there was a parenting manual or instructions, or something to help us out. Parenting is “on the job training” and the goal of Kudos for Families is to give parents as much information possible to help them be better parents and make life just a little bit easier amidst the overwhelm and challenges of parenting.

But, Where’s the Parenting Manual?

You are listening to the Kudos for Families podcast with Angela Meyers, episode four,
“Good Parenting Doesn’t Automatically Happen”

When I was a little girl, all I ever wanted was to be a mom.  And I wanted it with all my heart. When I was 24, I finally got married and was anxious to have a baby, but we ran into infertility issues and it was five really long years before we finally sat in the office of the adoption agency, holding our son for the first time.

I remember the social worker said she was going to leave us in the room for a few minutes to let us check him out and make sure he had all of his fingers and toes. I thought that was kind of an odd thing to say, and we didn’t do that, but, I think she just wanted to leave us alone for those first precious moments with him. And I appreciated that.

After we signed the paperwork and it was time to leave, I remember walking out of the agency and trying not to break into a run, just in case he really wasn’t ours and they changed their minds and tried to take him back! But, we did walk just as fast as we possibly could without losing our dignity.

And then, for us, it all began.

Think back to the time you first held your first born child in your arms. I’m sure you were in awe, maybe in love, head over heels, even though you just met that little person.

Hospitals are in the business of making sure your baby is born healthy, that the mother is well, and then they quickly teach you about the umbilical cord breastfeeding and diaper changing. And then they send you home.  Because we adopted our son we didn’t even learn those things. We were just given the baby and we were on our way home. No one even said “Good luck!”

So when it’s time to leave the hospital. Yep. You buckle that sweet little baby into the car seat and head for home! There you go!

You’re all set and you know everything it takes to be a good parent, right? Not even close! No one teaches you how to parent or what to do now that you are a parent. Do you remember the first moments when you met your firstborn child? How did you feel? Did you feel overwhelmed? Worried. Full of exquisite joy and happiness, or maybe it was a few days later when you had a chance to recover a little and then had a few minutes to stare into those innocent little newborn eyes.

Did you feel like you were going to be an amazing parent and that you had all the answers you needed to raise this little human? Probably not. Being a parent is one of the most important things we will ever do, but no one ever teaches us how to parent. And when you get a new little one, you don’t even get a set of instructions or a manual. At least with your flat screen TV, you got a manual, but where’s the manual for this new little one or an online link with little Jo Jo’s name and the “how to”  instructions?

I bet you spent hours researching which car seat to buy and setting up the nursery. But did you take a parenting class or read a book on how to raise a child? Most of us don’t but why not?

Before a little bundle of joy arrives, we’ve most likely spent more time researching a vacation or the car we’re going to buy than we’ve spent learning how to be a parent shoot. Before our first kid came, most of us had spent more time studying for our driver’s license than we’d studied about being a parent, or how about all the hours we spend studying for that class? We’d never use the information from, like ever. If you think about it, it’s kind of strange that we’re not taught any parenting skills before we have children.

If you want to cut someone’s hair, you have to spend several years at cosmetology school. If you want to be a trucker, you have to go to school. If you want to work at a fast food place, you have to get a food handler’s permit. Even if you want to do daycare in your home, you have to take classes. You have to get your home inspected and jump through all kinds of hoops.

Its the same thing if you want to adopt. For us, they did a criminal background check. They inspected our home. They made us fix things that might have been even the slightest bit dangerous for a child. And they made us take parenting classes. Then they put us through an extensive interview process and they dug deep into our psyche.

Then, even after the baby was in our home, there were more visits, more interviews, doctor’s reports on well checks and vaccinations. And then months, sometimes even a year after you’ve passed everything, you can go to court and finalize the adoption.

But typically you don’t normally have to learn anything to be a parent.

What? That is so crazy! Harold B. Lee said, “The most important work you or I will ever do will be within the walls of our own homes”. And yet, no one teaches us how to parent!

So does good parenting just naturally happen? Absolutely not! We tend to copy the parenting examples we had growing up, and that can be scary since our parents probably just did what their parents did. Maybe a little better, maybe a little worse.

And some of us come from happy homes, “happy” in quotation marks, while others of us come from dysfunctional homes with toxic parents. Are we really going to leave our parenting skills to chance or default? But that is exactly what most of us do.

Think back to when you were growing up, did you ever vow to yourself, “I’ll never be like that with my kids!” but then catch yourself now, thinking you sound just like your mom or dad ? Or you see yourself doing the very things you said you wouldn’t? Some of us succeed at breaking negative patterns, but most of us are shocked to find out just how much we parent, like our parents did.

We can actually hear our parents in our responses to our own children. And we’re at the mercy of whatever type of parent we had. And we seem sometimes to be unable to break through those patterns we learned when we were so impressionable. Now, some of it’s good stuff that we wanna keep, but we need to get rid of the bad or the not so good stuff that we learned.

Oh, and hey, that little bundle of joy that’s shockingly is keeping you up at night now, and has you turning to the internet and desperation to figure out how to get him to sleep through the night? He’s just going to get bigger and challenge you in completely different ways. And the tough times you go through when they’re infants and toddlers, just turn into different types of tough times as they get older. And then they’re teenagers.

We don’t think about learning how to parent until we have problems. And then we wonder what in the world is going on. Suddenly we run to learnhow the heck to handle it.

What if, however, we really learn and study about how to raise our children before there are problems?  Before there are big problems?

One parent said, “I want to have the knowledge before the problem, so we aren’t trying to navigate the problem and inexperience at the same time.” What if we set up our home and our relationships with our kids in the healthiest way possible, now?

Oh, and if you’re already in the middle of the tougher times, that’s okay. It isn’t too late to make things better. Yep. The principles we offer help, even with the older kids, and even in the tougher times with the harder problems.

There are principles, answers, and skills. They’re just waiting to be learned. And that’s what we’re about at Kudos for Families. We want to give you everything we can to help you in your parenting journey so you guys can thrive. We want you to have the knowledge and skills you need before there’s a big problem. My main push and the reason that I speak to so many parents and teach workshops and classes and offer seminars is because I want to help parents parent purposely, by design rather than just defaulting to whatever random parenting examples and situations they’ve had in their past, good or bad.

I want to help parents look at their parenting, keep whatever is good, but also get rid of the bad dysfunctional or toxic parenting they might not even realize they’re using. Everyone wants their family to flourish. Everyone  wants their kids to grow up healthy and well prepared for life.

So at Kudos for Families we will help you set up a home environment where your kids learn values and responsibility and where family love and unity grow and thrive. No one’s ever going to have a perfect family, but don’t you want to learn everything you can to be the best parent you can be and give your kids the best environment they can have?

So, join me for my weekly podcast and learn to parent by design rather than by default so your family will flourish. There’s such great information out there, and I’m going to do everything I can to give you as much of it as possible to help you on your journey.

Hey, if you enjoyed this podcast and want more of what kudos for families has to offer, check out our website@kudosforfamilies.com.

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