Answering An Email on the Statistics of Parenting.

A lot on my mind over the last few days. I have not been around much, real life seems to be consuming me these days and lots of changes happening. I had an email from a reader who was asking me about an article on statistics that I did in relation to the workshop series I am doing with a group of local parents. I answered his email and am sharing that answer here as I thought it might have some relevance for others:

I never use statistics – except to discuss their relevance. I would not use statistics as a point of argument, or to bolster my position – it is a personal choice. All the work I do is based on trying to get people to reconnect with the value of their own experience, their own knowledge … and to trust that. I think it is too easy to believe numbers when, as I have stated before, we do not know always who commissioned the study, how it was conducted and what their intent was. When science is coming to terms with the fact that the intended outcome of the researchers/scientists – even in the most strict of scientific studies – can influence the findings … you begin to take a step back from “evidence.” and realize this is not necessarily the font of all truth. And secondly, percentages are funny things – there is danger in believing in 98% “don’t” if you are the 2% that “do.” So I NEVER use statistics to back my arguments.

One of the things I have learned in travelling the world is that people are very different in many ways – in how they view things and how they interpret those things. It is what makes us so darn fascinating. All the emotions and needs are the same but our cultures, the countries we live in .. they have a huge impact in how we interpret life and it is wonderful to gain new insights and perspectives on how to approach things.

Listening to the people I work with over the years have convinced me that answers lie .. not in providing trite answers of “this is how it should be done” but in supporting the process of discovery for each person as they make sense of what is going on. Indeed, trauma is experienced when our normal sorting out processes are not able to deal with the issues that are going on. Sitting in judgment of whether a situation for someone else is difficult is ridiculous. We all process things in very unique ways. My first husband could administer CPR to a bloodied body without batting an eye … he cringed when his daughters asked them to help him put their pierced earrings on. It is what it is. I could not tell him that pierced earring were nothing simply because for me .. they weren’t.

Life is a journey we make and the discovery of answers comes to each of us in different ways at different times. I frequently remark at how different my husband and I are in life experience and yet we share similar understandings – each of us brought to them by very different journeys. Family counselling works well when we disregard the books on parenting and take the focus back down to the family. Empowering mom and dad and validating the stresses they are feeling, moving them past the worry and guilt into action that changes the experience is step one. Reconnecting parents and kids so that discipline is not about a punishment exacted but more about love. When a child knows and believes they are understood and loved, it can go a long way to making that part easier. How to do that takes time and attention to the specifics of each situation. Parents and kids need time together but when most of us were raised – hurried through childhood – and planted in adult responsibilities up to our necks .. we forget about the joy of play – of creativity and living.

What works for one family, what works with one child, may not work with any other. It does not matter. If there was ever a time we needed to forget about gathering a consensus on “the right thing to do” or “the right way to do it,” it is with our children. They are not a new electronic gadget – here is the owners manual.

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~ by blisswindlow on July 7, 2011.

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