I get asked all of the time from new readers how Modern Parenting differs from “regular parenting.”
I tell them that Modern Parenting includes the important core values and principles that have been handed down by good parents for generations, while at the same time addressing new problems and concerns that have recently developed (i.e. safe internet use, bullying, nontraditional family structures, etc.).
As a child psychologist and a mom to 2 teenagers, I talk with Modern Parents a lot and what I have found is that Modern Parents view parenting as a way of life – not simply an action or responsibility to undertake until the kids turn 18. Modern Parents want to feel fulfilled by the way they parent their children, and they want the way they parent to align with their individual passions, values, and beliefs as a guide. They realize that parenting isn’t a “one size fits all” recipe, but an undertaking that is as diverse as the way two separate people take a different, but similar, route to get to the same destination.
Modern Parents want to get the most out of life, which means that they want to be the best parents possible to their kids – while not disappearing as individuals in the process. I have found that these parents don’t want to “take a break” from their lives just to raise their kids – they want to pursue their passions and hobbies in tandem with being a parent. In fact, Modern Parents have begun to see the value in modeling this self-improvement mentality to their kids because they want their kids to grow up pursuing passions and pursuits of their own.
How I Became a Modern Parent
Let me give you a personal example. I married my high school sweetheart (the only guy I ever dated) right out of high school. After 2 kids and 14 years of marriage, I divorced him when he came out to me and everyone else as a gay man. I can’t tell you how embarrassing, confusing, and devastating this time was for me. To make matters even more complicated, I had just started a 6-year graduate school program to become a psychologist when all of this was happening to me.
Now, almost a decade later, I have a new family that includes two happy, well-adjusted teenagers and a mom and dad who are divorced, but who also have found a way to remain best friends. Creating this family took years of hard work and determination, but I am very proud of my Modern Family.
I’m sharing my story with you to illustrate how I created the family of my dreams despite life throwing a curveball at me – and you can do this too. I refused to give in to the “victim mentality” that felt so tempting to succumb to; I knew that if I gave in to this feeling, my life (and my kids’ lives) would get stuck in nastiness and we would never have a great life. I believed that the kids and I still deserved to have the family of our dreams, so I developed the mindset necessary to make this happen.
In order to create my new Modern Family, I used, and improved upon, the classic parenting techniques that were passed down to me from my parents. This included adding a new mindset with modern skills and techniques that allowed me to:
- Survive and thrive after the family crisis of my crazy divorce,
- Find a work/life balance that helped me conquer graduate school while being an awesome single mom,
- Utilize effective discipline strategies with my modern kids so that I was not wasting time disciplining them with tactics that didn’t teach them how to be moral, good people in a modern world,
- And, most importantly, these techniques helped me figure out how to derive happiness and satisfaction with my new Modern Family.
If your family has experienced a crisis such as divorce, illness, unemployment, or other serious event, I am telling you that you can still create the family of your dreams in spite of the obstacles and challenges that are now in front of you. You deserve it and so do your kids. It takes hard work, but I know you can do it – because I did it too.
If you are a parent that is not struggling with overcoming a significant crisis, but you have been wondering how to feel closer to your kids or spouse/partner, or you are struggling with being overwhelmed with parenting responsibilities and lack personal time to work on yourself, then integrating Modern Parenting techniques into your daily routine can be the answer you have been looking for.
Going forward, I will be focusing my time at this blog on helping readers with what I believe are the 5 core areas that Modern Parents deal with everyday. These core areas are:
- Using effective discipline strategies that work with our Modern Kids,
- Creating a balance between life commitments and family time that brings out the best in us as individuals and as parents,
- Deriving contentment and satisfaction from the family, regardless of whether or not the family structure is traditional, nontraditional, or something in between,
- Surviving and thriving during periods of crises or change as the family develops over decades together,
- How to use technology to parent more efficiently, while at the same time teaching smart and safe technology use to or kids.
I will share with you the specifics of what worked for me in raising great kids and pursuing a satisfying personal and professional life as a Modern Parent. I will give you both my personal perspective as well as a perspective based on sound psychological principles.
My personal goal is to help you create the family of your dreams – however you envision it to be!
Finally, let me know what you think. Which of the 5 core areas are you struggling with the most? How are you going to start improving your family?