HAGELIN: How to be a peaceful, patient parent

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ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Culture challenge of the week: Parenting pitfalls

Have you ever been around a woman whose calm wisdom and gentle confidence uplift everyone around her? A woman who confronts the toughest parenting challenges with practicality, patience and peace?

My friend Marianne Clyde is that kind of woman. But she will be the first to tell you that she developed that peaceful perspective (which leads to the most effective parenting) only after foundering for years in the choppy waves of guilt, anxiety and endless self-criticism.

We’ve all been there, right?

We want to be good moms and dads, but we sometimes get lost in a fog of confusion and conflicting advice. We demand perfection of ourselves — and our children — so we turn ordinary parenting mistakes into endless opportunities for self-doubt and discouragement. And our children’s moments of immaturity, disobedience and limit-testing become ugly, negative confrontations instead of valuable moments of teaching and formation.

Through it all, we can’t help but compare ourselves to other parents, compounding the difficulty of the already-difficult task of parenting well in a challenging world.

It’s too easy, then, to lose sight of where we’re going and what we’re trying to do and end up paddling around in circles — or missing the beauty and joy of family life.

Marianne found a better way — and you can too.

In her book, “Peaceful Parenting: 10 Essential Principles,” Marianne draws upon her years as a family therapist — and her real life challenges as a wife and mom — to map out a life-changing approach to successful parenting.

“Being an effective and loving parent has very little to do with what others think about you,” she observes. “It is not about controlling your child but controlling yourself: your thoughts, your words, your actions. It is about an awareness of how your words and actions in the present moment can affect your kids for the rest of their lives.”

It’s a book that’s inspiring and honest, because Marianne’s “been there.” She says, “I retired from being perfect when I got my divorce. Perfection caused too much pressure: always trying to be what I thought everyone else thought I should be.” But she discovered the secret to being the mom that her creator wanted her to be — not the mom that she imagined everyone else wanted her to be.

“It’s been a long, hard, fun, crazy, and interesting trip from insecure wife and mother to MommyZen,” she writes, “but I want to share what I have learned along the way with you.”

How to save your family: Begin ‘Peaceful Parenting’

Through her book, Marianne shares her core insight about the incredible influence you can have as a parent, and then offers “10 Essential Principles” for more peaceful parenting. But that’s only the beginning.

While some parenting guides stick to generalities, Marianne gets into the trenches with you. She draws upon her vast experience coaching and counseling families and spells out some invaluable real-life applications of her 10 principles. She tackles tough issues, ranging from the age-old question, “How do I get my kids to obey me?” to sibling rivalry to “Feeling guilty after your own meltdown.” And then she walks you through the process of making a life-changing commitment to peaceful parenting.

One of the most valuable aspects of Marianne’s book is her intuitive understanding of the range of feelings that parents — especially moms — experience.

She observes that many parents have the tendency to try and “appear that you have it all together and have your priorities right,” which means you “don’t say how you feel because you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or appear to be falling apart.” But that’s a recipe for disaster, she says: “[Y]ou can imagine that pressure stuffed way down deep as a volcano waiting to erupt.”

Marianne’s approach, unfolded in the pages of “Peaceful Parenting,” promises a better way. She will help you “live from your place of authenticity, your true self: the self that doesn’t get flustered, offended, whiny, enraged, but knows that all life is just a journey that is meant to be enjoyed and savored. The peace that you radiate ripples out into your world and creates a safe, open, nonjudgmental environment for your kids to be who they were created to be, and grow into healthy, loving, productive adults.”

What could be better than that?

Get your copy of “Peaceful Parenting” today, and become the parent you were meant to be.

Rebecca Hagelin can be reached at rebecca@howtosaveyourfamily.com.

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