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Remembering to be the Parent

Posted by on in Early Childhood
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Ok, it’s true. Parenting is a lot of work and a never ending job. I know. I am one. However, it is one of the most important jobs we will ever have. How the next generation turns out depends on how well we perform the tasks at hand.

But, there is no manual; no ring of flashcards to refer to when needed. Often, parenting is accomplished using a working model we learned from our own parents, either straight on, tweaked to make it more palatable, or completely changed around.

Parenting information abounds, with row upon row in the bookstore to peruse and hundreds of thousands more online. It is frankly overwhelming… not like my mother’s day, when Dr. Spock was pretty much it.

Too-Many-Books-520x245 

Some of the advice expounds a tight ship, while others implore parents to be liberal and free-wheeling. You close your eyes, choose a course, throw in some trial and error, and hope for the best. Fortunately, most of the time, using common sense, our children turn out pretty darn good, in spite of it all. But we do need to remember the generous dose of common sense.

I think many times parents forget their role. It may result from being short on time, or perhaps a sense of guilt for having to leave children in child care for long hours... the list goes on. The end result is a parent trying to become a child's friend, instead of his parent.

No one wants to be the "bad guy" after a long day at work, but parents are not doing their children any good by being their pal instead of their role model and safe boundary. I like to use the term "safe boundary" because that is what children look for... limits to their behaviors and a need to feel safe. If they can't find these things in their parents, they will feel at loose ends and have a poor sense of security.

Crying boyGood parenting provides children with a working model for self-regulation and proper behaviors. This is the same working model they take with them into their lives, as they interact with peers, authority figures, and, someday, their own children. 

mom-scolding-toddler 1

 Parenting is NOT just about getting through that trip to the grocery store at whatever cost in the moment. It is one of an endless number of experiences a child will have to watch you and learn from you and become who he will be.

kid adult talking

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Debra Pierce is professor of Early Childhood Education at Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana. Ivy Tech is the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college systems, serving nearly 200,000 students annually.

Her professional background has always involved children, over the past 40 years, having been a primary grades teacher in the Chicago Public School system, a teacher of 3 and 4 year-olds in a NAEYC accredited preschool for 15 years, and a certified Parent Educator for the National Parents as Teachers Program.

Debra is a certified Professional Development Specialist for the Council for Professional Recognition. She has taught CDA courses to high school career/tech dual credit juniors and seniors in preparation for earning their CDA credentials. She also conducts CDA train-the-trainer events across the country and develops and teaches online CDA courses for several states, is a frequent presenter at national and state early childhood conferences, and is a Master Trainer for the states of Minnesota and Arizona. She was also awarded the NISOD Teaching Excellence Award by the University of Texas.

Debra is active in her community, supporting children's literacy and is on the board of directors of First Book in Indianapolis. Debra is a contributing author for Hamilton County Family Magazine and Indy's Child in Indianapolis.
She loves spending time with her two grandsons, Indy, who is 6 and Radley, almost 3.

Debra has spent the last 16 years dedicated to the success of those pursuing the CDA credential and is the author of The CDA Prep Guide: The Complete Review Manual for the Child Development Associate Credential, now in its third edition (Redleaf Press), the only publication of its kind. She hosts a website providing help and support to CDA candidates and those who train them at http://www.easycda.com
The comments and views expressed are not in collaboration or affiliation with The Council for Professional Recognition or Ivy Tech Community College.
Follow me on Twitter at /easycda

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