Parenting is the hardest job there is.  It’s the most rewarding job, too, though the “rewarding” part can sometimes be hard to see.   Families can be overwhelmed by all the different strategies to raise a child the “right way.” And you will think, which one is the best fit for our family?   What if we feel like we don’t know what we’re doing?  What if we don’t do it perfectly?”

The truth is, there is no such thing as “perfect parenting.” Bringing new human beings into the world doesn’t make us less human. And it’s so common to feel as unprepared with your fifth child as you did with your first because each child is different. On the journey to raise a happy, secure, confident child, one who is loved and capable of loving others, mistakes are inevitable.  Your child’s needs, your family’s needs, even your OWN needs, (and yes, parents, what you need still counts!) will change over time, and so too will your parenting style.  You’ll realize that even tried and true strategies don’t always fit, and you’ll swap them out for others that you hope will fit better.

And through it all you’ll ask yourself, “am I doing the right thing?” Cornerstone therapists, nearly all of whom are parents themselves, use a family centered approach. We work not only 1:1 with your child but with the whole family. We will help you to understand the unique temperament, development and behavior of your child.  We’ll help you to celebrate their many successes and support you when inevitable bumps in the road arise with behavior, cognitive development, making connections with family and the community.  We’ll assist you in finding strategies to approach these difficulties that work for your family. Most importantly, your therapist will remind you that your kids don’t need perfect parents.  They need parents who do the best they can.  As long as your best is done with love and the commitment to nurture and support your child, the chances are excellent that he or she will do well.

While every family is unique, there are basic tips to create a happy, fun, secure home environment that gives your child the best chance to thrive.  Your therapist can help you “customize” these ideas to reflect your family’s culture and values.

Some fun tips on creating happy and healthy families are listed below,

Create Traditions

Traditions give children a sense of family and belonging. They do not have to be grand experiences. It could be as simple as when you pick up your child from preschool or school you sing “tell me something good!” or it could be that every Friday you and your family make pizza together, hop into your pj’s and watch a movie, make milkshakes or sundaes.

Meet me in the kitchen

In todays busy world this is one of the hardest things to do. As children get older it is almost non-existent. If families can agree to once a week to gather around the table or even help with cooking dinner it encourages kids and parents to relax and share what's on their mind (keep the TV off!). This is also a great time to talk about healthy eating habit too or trying new foods. Make a menu and have your kids give suggestions.

Get in the game

Playing together builds strong bonds and warm memories. There are so many fun things you and your kids even teenagers can do together.  I love board games or even playing the Wii with my kids, I rarely won but when I did I make a big deal out of it by dancing crazy around the room.  There are several age appropriate games for all ages.

Clean up as a clan

Most kids will grumble at the announcement “today we are cleaning the garage!”. You work, you talk, you get closer. "Children might complain about helping out around the house but these things create a sense of achievement and connection. Even running everyday errands with your child, whether walking the dog or going to the gas station, can provide short but sweet bonding time.

Hand Out the Hugs

Just like it sounds. Giving your kids hugs, pats on the back, high fives or silly displays of affection like nosey kisses, fun handshakes.

Look for Laughter

Creating a light, 'life is good' atmosphere at home. This doesn’t mean everything should be dismissed or laughed off but you have a choice. For example a cup of milk gets spilt on the table, starts rolling off the table you can choose to get upset or start singing to the tune of twinkle little star “milk is spilling to the floor wipe it clean ill give you more!” while you and your child clean it up. Learning to laugh at some minor and some major events throughout your day will help you and your child have long lasting memories. I remember one time when our child #4 spilled his milk all over the table, giggling child #3 ran to grab straws for everyone so we did not waste the milk. Even funnier was child #5 who was 2 at the time made a really funny face and kept saying “that is yucky.”