Guiding Good Choices: Filling My Toolbox

I didn’t expect to learn so much when I started the Guiding Good Choices parenting classes offered by HC DrugFree several years ago. I wish I had taken these classes sooner. My older children would have benefitted greatly – and so would I.

I’m a relatively well-educated person, but I wasn’t prepared for the requirements of parenthood – at least not for my older children. Much of what I learned from my kind and thoughtful parents and the way I was raised was not applicable to them. My older kids had very different temperaments from me, were not rule followers, and had some depression, anxiety and learning challenges.

My parents didn’t deal with anything like this; they were used to a smoothly operating family system where we did what we were told (though with plenty of eye rolling!) and handled our schoolwork with no fuss. I truly thought that modeling my parenting-style after them was a wise choice. But unfortunately, it didn’t give me all the skills I needed.

While I feel that I have “missed the boat” in some ways with my older children, Guiding Good Choices has shown me that I have not! As I practice the skills taught in these classes, they become a natural part of me and how I NOW interact with all my children. Yes, there has been a learning (or should I say “unlearning”) curve with my older ones, but improvements are noticeable, and I am so grateful!

My heart breaks for anyone raising children without the knowledge and information available in these classes. I have family members currently living in very unhealthy circumstances without the support of these tools. Though I don’t see them often, the other day I had the perfect opportunity to share one of the tools with the mom and one child. It was clearly helpful in the moment; they both calmed down as we “practiced” using the tool.

While I don’t have any control over their circumstances, or whether they remember to use what I showed them, I can at least keep the tools in mind and offer them at every opportunity. I find that prayer helps me, too, to stay in the best mindset – this way I focus my energy and time on honing the skills, so I am ready to use them myself or to offer them to others when welcome.

Guiding Good Choices has provided me with helpful tools to use in my own family interactions; they give me confidence to know what to do in difficult times and set us up for more successful communication and family bonding. It has also given me tools to share with others, and I am less likely to worry or fret when I cannot change circumstances or people. Thank you, HC DrugFree!!!

Submitted anonymously by a Howard County Parent.

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