I’ll Try That Next Time – Experiential Learning for Parents

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This is an ebook for parents who want to raise their kids in a responsive, respective, nurturing way. For parents who want their kids to learn how to consider their own needs as well as the needs of those close to them. Who don’t want to use punishments, rewards, shaming or labeling as parenting tools, but are sometimes at a loss as to what, exactly, to say instead. Especially when the parents themselves are tired, hungry and generally depleted.

Is that you?

Keep reading. 🙂

Hi, my name is Sari.

I’m a teacher, a coach and a mother of two kids. I wanted to create this e-book as a learning resource for one of the hardest things to learn in your lifetime: parenting your child in a responsive way.

Reading this book and working through the exercises will give you a deeper understanding of the interplay of your needs and those of your child. Noticing and understanding what needs you, your child, and other people have in different situations is a must for being able to respond to those very needs. You can’t react to what you don’t recognize, and the lessons in this book will guide you to pay attention to the different needs and feelings present in your day-to-day life.

You will also begin to acquire the skills of experiential learning – observing, reflecting, analysing, planning for future action – and experience the benefit of consciously learning what approaches and techniques work for your specific family.

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What is responsive parenting, anyway?

This is my chance to quote the World Health Organization:

”Responsiveness is most often conceptualized as a three-step process.

(1) Observation: The caregiver (usually the mother) observes the child’s cues, such as movements and vocalizations.
(2) Interpretation: The caregiver accurately interprets these signals, e.g. realizing that an irritable infant is tired and needs rest, or is showing signs of illness.
(3) Action: The caregiver acts swiftly,consistently and efficiently to meet the child’s needs”
Bulletin of the World Health Organization | December 2006, 84 (12)

For infants, responsiveness often means observing and meeting the child’s immediate physical and psychological needs: food, safety, cleanliness. The older a child becomes, however, the more diverse their needs become. Still, the three-part process of observing, interpreting and acting on the interpretations holds true whether the child is four weeks or fourteen years.

Most parents do this intuitively, to some extent. I believe, however, that you learn to parent better and more congruently – and you learn faster – if you use a conscious approach to learning. This ebook offers one such approach.

Experiential learning

Experiential learning simply means you are using your own experiences as your source material for learning. You don’t have to think about whether this or that theory works for our family, or try to imagine yourself reacting in new ways in situations that feel unfamiliar.

There are several exercises in the book, all geared towards helping you observe and analyse your own situation and come up with tangible action steps to try out next time something similar happens. Hence the name of the book.

That said, the book is not merely a compilation of worksheets. I wanted to give you a context and background for each lesson to make it easier for you to remember similar instances of your own. In the book I give you my views on parenting, learning and communication from the viewpoint of each lesson. I suggest further reading on topics that are outside the scope of this book, and draw examples from my own parenting. And as much as I’d always like everyone to see eye to eye with me on everything, I’ll actually be very happy if you take what you read and constantly ask yourself, ”What do I think about this? Do I agree or disagree, and why?”

What’s in the book?

In I’ll Try That Next Time, I’ll walk you through five lessons, if you will, on parenting. Each chapter is set up like a workbook: you will have exercises to reflect on and produce action steps to try out. As you complete the exercises, you will emerge with a deeper awareness of yourself as a parent and of your child as your companion in parenting. (I tried writing ”on your parenting journey” but a part of me is allergic to phrases that contain the word journey. I have kept the journey references and other platitudes to a minimum in the book as well. 😉 )

Lesson 1. Seeing your child for who they are.

Lesson 2. Acknowledging feelings.

Lesson 3. Problem-solving beyond rewards and punishments.

Lesson 4. Willpower.

Lesson 5. Boundaries.

The lessons in the book are a starting point. Your life, your family, your experience are the subject matter. Just reading the book through once will probably give you a few hours of quality entertainment to accompany your cup of tea or coffee. However, the benefits come from putting in the effort, going through the book several times, talking about the exercises and concepts with your spouse and friends, and putting to practice the insight action steps you uncover in the exercises.

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Not sure? Sign up for the newsletter, download and read the sample chapters and try them out for yourself. You don’t have to decide on the spot. 🙂