So. My mother gave me tickets to a parenting seminar called "You're Not the Boss of Me!" (given by Terry Carson of TheParentingCoach.ca) and offered to babysit so that I could attend. Let's ignore the implications of what that means she may or may not think about my parenting and focus on the good part; I got to leave the house for an evening. My husband even got to come with me! It was practically a date!
I was even interested in the topic as Big B has been saying exactly that, in actions if not words, for quite some time now. So, off we go, hoping against hope that we will come back with some magical plan that will fill our home with sunshine and I'll never have to raise my voice again. Or at least be able to have a decent bedtime.
Basically, it was about recognizing different parenting styles and how to adapt yours to better work with your kids. She discussed "Authoritarian Style": your kids do what you tell them, or they're in deep shit. This style involves nagging, criticizing and punishment. "Permissive Style": your kids do whatever they want because you'd really rather not argue about it. "Democratic Style": You and your kids work together in a respectful manner to obtain the mutual goal of a happy and well run life. (I'm paraphrasing a little bit...) Guess which one is the right one? She offered some tips for how to deal with certain situations, funny anecdotes, and some catch phrases.
I did like the woman, and a lot of what she was saying made sense, but I didn't come out of there feeling enlightened. I felt like I was already doing (or trying to do) most of what she'd suggested, and besides that.. most of it seemed like common sense (ie. if you argue about something with your child, say no in the first place and then end up letting them do whatever it is, there will be arguments about every damn thing until the end of time).
I think that the most valuable thing I took away from the talk was this: in trying to learn how to be a better parent, I feel like I'm doing a pretty good job parenting. Only an idiot thinks they know everything. Also, there were about 40 other people in the room, so it's not just me.
Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a CD about how to get my kids to stop whining to listen to.
Also, some suggested reading: CHILDREN THE CHALLENGE - Rudolf Dreikers
I haven't read it yet, but his work is what a lot of the Democratic parenting method is based on.