ABOUT CONFIDENT PARENTS, CONFIDENT KIDS
On first reading…phenomenal! Exactly what I needed right now. I just started checking out books again, feeling like I was doing “something” wrong. I just wasn’t feeling great about some of my interactions and felt like I needed a jump start. This blog is putting me back in the right mind frame. It is informative, supportive, yummy! It just makes me feel capable..and like I am talking to my best friend about it!
– Annette Roberts-Dorman, Mom of two and President of Mom’s Club, Gaithersburg, MD
Confident Parents, Confident Kids merits the attention of anyone working in social, emotional and character development who wants a place to send parents for ideas and advice and dialogue.
– Maurice Elias, Author, Emotionally Intelligent Parenting and Professor of Psychology and Director of the Social and Emotional Learning Lab, Rutgers University
Confident Parents, Confident Kids began with an inspiration at 3 a.m. as I suddenly woke up with the thought, “I can’t find any sites that are helping me and other parents be proactive about our kids’ social and emotional development.” Five years later, Confident Parents, Confident Kids has been viewed over 152 countries around the world with a following of 22,000+ strong. And the community that has grown out of this idea includes you and so many parents who care about their own learning and development and know how truly critical social and emotional skills are to a child’s success in life.
I have worked with educators for nearly twenty years helping them teach students social and emotional skills in and out of schools. When I became a parent, I realized there were very few supports for parents who want to be proactive about teaching and reinforcing critical skills to sustain relationships, function successfully in school and in the workplace, and contribute as a citizen. This site is dedicated to offering simple, practical ideas for incorporating social and emotional skill development into everyday life.
There are lots of parenting websites and blogs out there. How is this any different? Parenting websites tend to address the range of every child issue under the sun and because there is so much information, it’s difficult to find ongoing support. Blog entries are designed to be simple and usable for busy parents who are life-long learners. The content is research-based but without using research language that requires supplemental textbooks to understand.
This site is focused on skills promotion and prevention, not on problems. Problems will be addressed but in a way that uses the situation as a “teachable moment” for the child and the whole family. In short, suggestions are meant to be used right away and easily to support you in optimizing your child’s social and emotional learning AND your family’s connectedness. After all, when working toward improvement in a household or a school, “it is the quality of the little things that makes the final difference.”[i] In fact, research has shown that parental involvement can be the single most influential determiner of school success.[ii] And the specific traits of families’ that were most successful in promoting child development at home and in school were those that practiced social and emotional skills at home such as, greater communication between family members and between family and school and also, more opportunities for child decision-making.
This site is geared for parents of children 4-21 years of age. Since there are many wonderful, easy-to-use resources for children’s social and emotional development from baby through toddler-dom, this site covers preschool through late adolescence (college-going age).
Skip forward in your mind’s eye with me to your child’s high school graduation. You are hosting a party at your house to celebrate. All of his core teachers along with the school principal attend to toast the graduate. Your child’s favorite teacher stands with her glass raised and says,
“Let me tell you about the kind of student and person _(Insert child’s name)_ has been at “Our High School.”
Now fill in the blank quickly in your head or better yet, jot down your ideas and try not to evaluate yourself too much.
_(Insert your child’s name)__ is:________, _______, ________, and ______. The highest compliment I can pay to a student is that he or she is _______________ and I can certainly say that about your child. I congratulate Mr. and Mrs. _(your last name)___ for the critical role you have played in raising such a wonderful human being. We expect to see great things in his/her future!”
Did you write down “got high math scores?” Did you write “made a lot of money in his summer and part-time jobs?” “Was crowned prom queen?” You more likely wrote that he is a kind, caring person; makes friends easily; is confident in himself; demonstrates respect and responsibility; or has leadership qualities. Whatever you wrote down, these are your hopes and aspirations for your child.
Since you’ve just quickly prioritized what you’d like to teach, reinforce, and create a supportive environment for through your parenting, why not start with the end in mind (not that parenting ends with high school graduation, but you get the point)? This site is intended to help you do just that. Entries will provide lots of ideas for easy, simple ways to proactively promote skills in self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making (http://casel.org).[iii] A person with strong social and emotional skills is an effective communicator, a creative problem solver, a collaborator, an empathetic friend, and a responsible contributor to his community. Your ability to teach and reinforce these skills at home will give you the confidence to help your child handle any challenging situation especially when you are not there to provide guidance.
I can’t think of a more important step for me in my career than to share in the challenges and dialogue with you on parenting and bring my background of improving schools to the conversation so that all of our family lives can be enriched. Thanks for visiting and I hope you will not only read but also, contribute to this valuable conversation! After all, confident parents raise confident kids!
All illustrations on the site have been drawn by the author, Jennifer Miller.
I welcome and encourage your comments, challenges, questions, and ideas. To contact, email me, Jennifer Miller at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
And check out this video introduction to Confident Parents, Confident Kids:
© Copyright, 2017, Jennifer Smith Miller. All rights reserved.
[i] Hall, G.E., Hord, S.M. (2001). Implementing change; Patterns, principles, and potholes. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
[ii] Epstein, J. L. (1983a). Effects on parents of teacher practices of parent involvement. Baltimore, MD: Center for Social Organization of Schools, Johns Hopkins University (Report #346).
Epstein, J. L. (1983b). Longitudinal effects of family-school-person interactions on student outcomes. Research in Sociology of Education and Socialization, 4, 101-127.
[iii] Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (2003). Safe and sound; An educational leader’s guide to evidence-based social and emotional learning programs. Chicago, IL: Author.