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How You Can Join the Conversation with Denver Parents About Raising Kids

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While parenting may be the most rewarding job on the planet, it can also be the most challenging. Most of us have stayed awake at night wondering if we said the right thing, or how we can help our child thrive at school, or how to approach a difficult conversation in an age-appropriate way. We tend to go with our gut.

Sometimes we celebrate small successes. Other times, we are racked with guilt. Sometimes we wish for an annual review just to gauge how we are doing, because to us, our children’s success and happiness are our responsibility. Our kids are counting on us.

So there is a growing community of parents that is purposefully engaging in the educational discussion about childhood development and the issues our children face in a complex, fast-paced world.

We are finding that while we cannot get annual reports on our progress as parents, we can build on our knowledge base, forming a more educated gut instinct.

Some Denver parents are engaging in the conversation about raising our children in the following ways:

There are parenting book clubs that focus on books related to childhood development and education. In 2012, one such book club read World Class Learners by Yong Zhao, The Price of Privilege by Madeline Levine, and Drive: 9 Ways to Motivate Your Kids to Achieve by Janine Walker Caffrey. Lively discussions with coffee and treats followed, as did side discussions about books like The Blessing of a Skinned Knee by Wendy Mogel, Quiet by Susan Cain, and Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman. Form your own parenting book club or join one in your community.

Check out school websites. In the first month of 2013, a number of the world’s thought leaders on childhood development, school reform and parenting will visit Denver area schools to talk with parents about the issues that both concern and inspire them. Examples include:

  • On January 10, Paul Tough, author of How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character will speak at St. Mary’s Academy.  He challenges our culture’s belief that intelligence, endlessly measured by test scores, is the sole indicator of value in our education system.
  • Michael Gurian, best-selling author of The Wonder of Boys, The Wonder of Girls, Leadership and the Sexes, and Boys and Girls Think Differently, will speak on January 17 at Graland Country Day School.
  • On January 16, DPS’s Special Education Advisory Council will host a workshop on ADHD and developing ADHD-related parent management skills to help children thrive at home and in school.
  • The Harvard Negotiation Project’s Debbie Goldstein will facilitate a discussion on Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most on January 29 at the St. Anne’s Episcopal School.
  • At Colorado Academy on January 31, New York Times author, Dr. Ned Hallowell, will offer advice on how to survive in an ultra-competitive, ultra-fast society, while managing worry and stress in you and your children.
  • At Kent Denver School, on January 31, parents and educators will hear from Bill Damon to “learn how to inspire young people to discover a sense of purpose through building character, good work, and being dedicated to citizenship.”

Many parents also join mothers’ groups and playgroups created as social outlets, through which mothers can get re-energized, share stories and learn from others. For example, Mothers of Boys was founded to bring together moms living in a household of boys. Membership fees help pay for monthly events, including an interactive evening on January 15 with Certified Angel Therapist and Intuitive Kristy Sands, and an evening of makeovers and shopping at Neiman Marcus on February 7. Mod Moms is another local group that schedules nights out, playdates with the kids, and a philanthropy club.

So if you’re up in the middle of the night, stressing about your next parenting move, make it your New Year’s Resolution to join the conversation.

 

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