Our Stories

Reflections on Parenting Education

November 23, 2015 by Gayle Neufeld (Community)

Parents engage in small group discussions following a talk by Dr. Daniel Griffin at the annual Ari Zymelman Lecture Series on Parenting Education.Sometimes it feels really good to talk over difficult subjects with a group of people to whom you feel connected. For some, this is family in the traditional sense, for others its colleagues or close friends. Last week, it was our JPDS-NC community. The annual Ari Zymelman Parenting Lecture Series event gave us the opportunity to come together to hear about and discuss issues related to parenting and the challenges that arise when we debate the risks and benefits of allowing our kids to fail, to establish boundaries, and to set limits. These are not always pleasant or easy tasks to undertake, and it’s nice to know that we have company, support, and helpful suggestions for how to tackle them. I was fortunate to be a facilitator during the small group discussions that followed the formal lecture, and there was great energy at my table and the others in the room as we came together around topics that we all identify with so easily.

No one can deny that these are up-to-the-minute topics. We read daily about free range and helicopter parents. There is the Stanford dean who has written about her perspective on how parenting has influenced a generation of college students who concern her because of their limited capacity to function as independent young adults. And now we read that failure is becoming a gift that we need to think about giving our children, when years ago we were told that it was more important to give them almost nothing but praise.

I’m excited at the prospect of this type of discussion continuing at JPDS-NC. Other schools frequently have guest speakers engage with parents around compelling topics. But the idea of an ongoing series of discussions in which we learn from each other while we also support and encourage one another’s struggles and growth? That sounds like community.