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Positive Parenting Course: A New Approach to Parenting

My husband and I spent a recent Saturday morning attending a free positive parenting course, put on by Robin Brocklesby, founder of Embrace the PATH. Robin put together three free courses to expose parents in our community to this parenting model and see what the interest would be in doing more in depth courses. Before I tell you about our experience, here’s a little bit about Robin and how she came about starting her Embrace the PATH brand!

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Robin is an accomplished motivator with a solid reputation for providing vision, creating company cohesion and an energetic environment. As the owner of multiple businesses in Northern Nevada, including Creative Coverings – a Reno-based company recognized as one of the nation’s leading National Special Event Linen and Rental Companies, Robin has the tools and knowledge to create and direct a successful organization. Robin believes passionately in her family and community. As a wife, mother of three teenagers, entrepreneur, nationally recognized speaker and president of the Crisis Call Center of Nevada, her desire to inspire, empower and support others to attain their highest potential is what drives her soul.

Embrace the PATH stems from Robin’s personal journey to seek her truest self in life and business. As a blogger, speaker and consultant, Robin provides others with the vision to re-brand their life by conquering their fears and discovering their Passion, Authenticity, and Truth — all of which are necessary to find complete Happiness. True Happiness = Success. When Robin is not at the office, you’ll find her embracing every second of life — be it writing a new book (scheduled for release in Spring 2018), hosting a new podcast “So Long Small Talk,” driving her kids to their activities, adventuring with her husband of 17 years, pursuing her passion in fitness, and always searching for new activities outside her comfort zone.

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Robin started our class by reading a great little book called, Jared’s Cool Out Space, by Dr. Jane Nelsen and Ashlee Wilkin. This book takes us through how a little boy creates his “happy” space, a place where he can feel safe when he is frustrated or in trouble. I definitely related to this book, as my oldest is having difficulties with his frustration and anger right now, so it for sure hit the nail on the head.

We went around the room and introduced ourselves, let the other parents know how many kids we have, ages, etc., and it was clear we had a great group of diverse backgrounds and parents. Blended families, same-sex parents, single parents, biological children, adopted or foster children, younger children, older children, people with both. We all seemed to share many of the same struggles and frustrations, despite the differences in ages or family units. We were all here to find new tools and ideas for how to raise our kids to “not be assholes,” be respectful and just be good kids in general. Everyone had the same frustration that what we were doing now was not working. And there is a reason for that.

Most of us grew up in a time where our parents used a “Talk Down” mentality, as Robin put it. A “my way is the highway” take on the parenting journey — punishing kids for their mistakes/disobedience, using time-outs, etc. But with our society today, this parenting model is outdated and not working. Today’s social environment, and what our children are exposed to, is a more “sharing and creating conversation” model. So, no wonder our kids are not responding well to our time-outs, our punishments, our threats, and our constant YELLING! Anyone else feel like you are constantly yelling and not accomplishing ANYTHING? Because I sure do!

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This Positive Discipline/Parenting model that Robin was introducing us to was developed by Dr. Jane Nelsen, based on research by Alfred Adler and Rudolf Dreikers, all the way back in the 1920s. It is about creating mutual and respectful relationships. There are a few criteria of Positive Parenting:

  • Kind and firm (using these at the same time, which is respectful and encouraging)
  • Belonging and significance (belonging makes the child feel loved, and significance helps the child develop responsibility)
  • Long-term effectiveness (punishment might work, but only in the short term)
  • Teaching valuable social and life skills

There are also a few tools and concepts we went over, which were:

  • Mutual respect (kindness=respecting child’s needs, firmness=respecting yourself)
  • Identifying the belief behind the behaviors
  • Effective communication and problem-solving
  • Discipline that teaches a lesson, therefore actually sticks and works
  • Focusing on SOLUTIONS, not PUNISHMENTS
  • Encouragement instead of praise (noticing your child’s effort and improvements, not just their success)

As a group activity, we came up with a list of challenges we face with our kids. They included:

Whining, negotiating, tattle tales, entitlement, bossiness, blaming, bedtime issues, dinnertime issues, shutting down, lack of respect, too much technology, hitting, back talk, biting, homework issues, and tantrums.

Then, we came up with a list of life skills we want our kids to learn, like:

Respect, kindness, leadership, empathy, compassion, honesty, self-worth, problem-solving, communication, responsibility, values, manners, and work ethic.

Robin provided a few examples of common ways we react to our kids (sound familiar? Imagine yourself yelling the following):

  • Can you PLEASE STOP being mean to your brother?!?!
  • Brush your teeth NOW!
  • If you don’t put away those toys, I will give them all away to kids who will appreciate them!!!

We talked about how our attitude as the parent and the way we say these things to our children might make them feel, and it definitely was not on the valuable life skill list! It was definitely more towards the challenges that we are trying to overcome.

Then Robin had us rephrase things, make things more of a question instead of a demand, changing the tone of our voice, and it was truly eye opening how we could imagine our kids reacting differently. As a business owner, she also brought up the point that if we treated our employees or coworkers the same way that we treated our kids, we would probably not have any employees or coworkers that could stand working with us. TRUTH BOMB!

This parenting model is striving to create CONNECTION before CORRECTION. Having honest, open conversations with our children when we aren’t upset to set expectations of behaviors to hopefully take down some of those reactionary statements that lead us all to be angry and annoyed and shut down. We need to try and get into our children’s minds a bit to understand where their behavior is stemming from, because a lot of the times, they have no idea either and are just as frustrated as you are! This does not mean that we will be passive parents and let our child’s behavior go without consequences. Robin says she could spend a whole day on teaching about consequences, so I look forward to that!

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We did a few more role-playing activities that were great (parents helping parents), and gave us an idea of what a more in-depth course could look like. Robin is creating this course, which will be held over five weeks and will be broken down into a few age groups (toddlers/small children, elementary school age, teens, etc.). She will be offering it in January, starting on Saturday, Jan. 26!  As a Reno Moms Blog reader, she is also generously giving our readers 10 percent off with coupon code MOMSBLOG. If you are interested in signing up for this course, please check out her website at www.embracethepath.com, and click on “Parenting.” You can also email her with any questions at robin@embracethepath.com.

I am so excited that this is going to be offered, as this was so timely with what my husband and I are struggling with in our parenting adventure. Our current methods are not working, and we don’t want to raise assholes, or feel like assholes ourselves, as one of the parents in class put it! There is no parenting handbook that we are handed when we give birth to these tiny humans we have created ourselves, and parenting is HARD. I struggle daily with thinking I am completely failing and screwing up my kids and setting them up for a lifetime of therapy, and I can’t even begin to think about the teenage years!

So…thank you, Robin, for bringing this into our community and for being willing to not only share, but to teach us and give us a safe place, a village, if you will. I am so looking forward to the 5-week course and educating myself, my husband, and some close family members about how we can be a united front and put our best effort forward with raising our boys. I look forward to having more of a parenting community when we get started in January! Also, this parenting model might not be for everyone, and that is ok too! We are all different in our approaches, and if you are wanting a new take, I would highly recommend checking this out!

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About Megan Fikes

Megan Fikes
Megan Fikes is a 4th generation Nevada native , married to her husband Jon and mother of 2 amazing little boys, Kaleb and Jameson. When she isn't chasing after her two love bug boys, she is working from home with her Arbonne business, PTO President at her son's school, Social Media Director of a local women's connection company (PolkaDot Powerhouse), and co-founder of Mom Mondays Reno, a local group for moms that focuses on self-care for all moms! She enjoys reading anything she can get her hands on, cooking for her family and friends, and dancing to the beat of her own drum! She loves living in Reno with all it has to offer and couldn't imagine not living so close to Lake Tahoe, which is her favorite place on earth! She is embracing and navigating the journey of motherhood while realizing her own dreams in the Biggest Little City!

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