“Does anybody have a map?
Anybody maybe happen to know how the hell to do this?
I dunno if you can tell
But this is me just pretending to know
So where’s the map?
I need a clue
‘Cause I’m flying blind
And making this up as I go.”
ANYBODY HAVE A MAP? Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
(From DEAR EVAN HANSEN, Broadway musical)
Parenting is sometimes considered an innate process to raise one’s children to be capable adults—that everything is straightforward and will easily fall into place over the years from birth to adulthood. Conceiving children does not properly prepare us for the nurturing, physical and emotional, needed to raise healthy children.
An innate ability implies that we are borne with the ability and we just need to “untap” it at the right time with just the right amount of emotional energy. And that it will be obvious how to use this ability at each juncture in our parenting journey.
In my opinion, nothing could be farther from the truth. Parenting in today’s society is complex. There are so many factors tied to parenting. Parenting requires instruction from multiple places, assistance from a variety of resources and constant tinkering as we learn what we did right and what we need to improve. This book will provide a basic framework, a map, for such a process.
As the quote from Dear Evan Hansen above so aptly notes, we really do need a map to help guide our parenting journey. We are now almost two decades into the 21st century. Have the principles of parenting changed? Are there “new” principles that can be brought forth? I contend that the principles have not changed (to raise our children to be capable adults, i.e. engaged citizens) but the methods have evolved. In today’s society with its digital bombardment (TV, music, smartphones, computers, tablets, etc.), it is too easy to get out of touch with the basics of parenting.
Parenting challenges vary over the life of the child and often overlap with the lives of multiple children (sibs) in the family. Families might be confronted with multiple issues simultaneously.
- How do you deal with feeding an irritable infant when you are a tired, exhausted parent and you are trying to decide if you need to take the car keys away from your teenager?
- How do you have the strength to send your 5-year-old to kindergarten when she is crying all the way to the school?
- How do you protect your children from the threat of bullying and ensure that your children will not be bullies?
- How do you control the exposure to potential substance abuse in your teens while dealing with problems at work that threaten your financial well-being?
How do we do these things? Well, the Parental Awareness Threshold (PAT) is a valuable tool and can help! The PAT can —
- Help sort out the multiple issues with an irritable infant, an exhausted parent and a defiant teenager
- Help find the strength to take a distressed child to school
- Help deal with the various facets of bullying
- Help at-risk teens for substance abuse while dealing with personal issues at work
The PAT guides parents in a logical way to analyze their current situation (their emotional state in a given situation) with regard to the threshold and then take actions consistent with a 3-step process to pause, assess and choose the path forward in the context of a loving parent.
Simply put, parenting in the 21st century is a conscious awareness of the status of the parent-child relationship. It is the learned ability, not the innate ability, of parents to understand their interactions with their children and to change (adjust like a stereo system) their responses to maximize positive responses and minimize negative responses. I encourage all parents (and grandparents or caregivers) to be on that conscious journey using any and all maps available. I suggest CONSCIOUS PARENTING: USING THE PARENTAL AWARENESS THRESHOLD to start!