If you’ve raised your children well, there comes a moment when they start giving you advice. Not just the “you should drink more water” kind of advice, but smart, practical, “wow, that’s a great idea!” kind of advice.
I provide parent education programming to families in Silicon Valley. It’s a tall order, staying ahead of trends that impact today’s children and teens, particularly with highly-educated, highly-informed, high-achieving moms and dads.
But my secret to success is giving families what they need, not necessarily what they want. As my advice-giving daughter noted today, “You offer the education that every parent needs to get, and that every parent deserves.”
I think I’m going to take that phrase and use it at every one of my Parent Education Series events. Why? Because I believe it. And because it’s true.
When my own kids were in college and law school, I decided to join them and head back to graduate school for a master’s in education. I wanted to study the research on parent education, and to look at how a program like mine fit into the national and international landscape of parenting programs.
What I found surprised me. There was almost no research on programs like mine, based on the mental, physical, social, and emotional tenets of child and adolescent development.
There were plenty of court-mandated programs for parents who had abused or neglected their children. There were programs for divorcing parents, and there were programs for families impacted by addiction.
But there was little or no research on education designed to empower parents, to give them the strategies, tools, and behaviors they needed to support their kids’ health and well-being.
As a former early childhood educator, I knew that personalized, developmentally-based parent education could transform the life of a young child. In more than a decade of work with parents of middle and high school students, I realized the parents of tweens and teens were equally thirsty for professional, high-quality parent education.
Which all brings me back to getting good advice from your adult children. If you do it right, you will find that the work you put into raising them is infinitely rewarded…because, after all, parenting is a growth opportunity.
The child you educated will grow up to educate you.
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Written by Charlene Margot, M.A., Founder and CEO, The Parent Venture. Palo Alto native, mom of two young adults, lifelong advocate of kids, schools, and families.