Children’s Collaborative parenting workshop series kicks off
Listen to Karen Pilaar talk and you can tell she has the kind of patience only kindergarten teachers are blessed with.
But after having a set of twins two years ago, even Pilaar’s patience is sometimes pushed to the limits.
To learn the best ways to deal with some of the problems she encounters with her small children, Pilaar and several other parents attended a workshop held at the Truckee Recreation Center on Tuesday, April 24.
The workshop, “Understanding Conflict Management with Children,” was taught by Susan Hopkins, a writer and early childhood education specialist.
The workshop focused on dealing with conflicts between a child and a parent, or between two children.
“You first have to defuse the anger,” said Hopkins. “Anger is such an intense feeling that it must be defused before any negotiation can happen.”
Hopkins suggests active listening and singing songs as possible ways to calm down.
“Then, you have to articulate the problem,” said Hopkins.
Parents attending the workshop mentioned everything from sibling rivalry, hitting, and child temperaments as sources of regular conflict with their children.
“What should I do when my child hits me?” asks one parent.
Another wants to know what she should do when one of her children hurts the other.
Hopkins emphasizes problem-solving.
“You have to focus on problem-solving, not the problem,” says Hopkins. “Take it from the negative and move it into finding a solution.”
But selling that to a room full of mothers isn’t the easiest thing to do.
One mom comments, “Problem-solving is great, but when you have siblings at different ages, it’s not all that easy,” says one parent.
Hopkins suggests establishing family agreements where the two foundations are safety and respect.
Getting children to visualize how they want to live and to write down your shared family values can give parents something tangible to fall back on during conflicts.
“The most important part of resolving conflicts with small children is empowering them to create their own solutions and be responsible,” said Hopkins.
The parenting workshop is one of several that will be sponsored by the Children’s Collaborative of Tahoe Truckee during the next month. The organization hopes the discussions will lead to “parents supporting parents,” and help prevent child abuse.
The next workshop will be held Thursday, May 3 at 6:30 p.m. in the Truckee Recreation Center. The topic, “Seven Ways Smart for School,” will include research on different ways children can learn.
For more information on any of the future workshops, contact the Children’s Collaborative at (530) 582-8322.
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