In December of 2010, Rufus Griscom and Alisa Volkman (founders of the parenting website babble) gave a wonderfully candid TED Talk about parenting taboos and how we as a society falsely advertising to new parents about what life as a parent is all about. With humor and grace, Alisa and Rufus illustrate five off-limit topics including the response of fathers to their newborn babies, isolation of new mothers, miscarriage and more. One of their final talking points rests on happiness. We are steadily fed streams of happy family images through the media suggesting that our life as a parent will be leaps and bounds happier than before our little bundle of joy arrived but, in reality, research suggests that most couples will face a decline in happiness during child rearing years. This is a hard pill to swallow and, as Rufus and Alisa suggest, may be due to how we are trained to believe parenting to be. They suggest that by adequately preparing parents, we as a society can begin to raise the bar of happiness for parents over time, increasing the number of moments of pure joy that can be found in parenting and maybe reducing those moments of extreme frustration and loneliness.
I'd like to take this one step further. In addition to not knowing what lifestyle changes to expect as a parent, parents are also fed inaccurate and at times inappropriate ways of navigating their child's behavior as they grow leaving parents frustrated and disconnected from their children. I believe that in addition to more frank and honest discussions about parenting, the more we work to empower families in ways that increases peace and cooperation in the home, the more we can raise that happiness bar. I think this is an area where Redirecting Children's Behavior truly shines by giving parents practical tools that reduce the stress within the home and allow families to experience more moments of genuine and joyous connection.
Click here to see Alisa's and Rufos's fabulous talk in its entirety.
By Heather Remer, MA - Guest Blogger for INCAF