July is Purposeful Parenting Month. Did you know that VA has resources to help you become the best parent you can be?
July is an ideal time for active parenting. During the summer, children are out of school and spend a lot of time with family. This extra time allows parents to practice healthy habits with their kids each day, which can lead to an environment for open and healthy discussion and, ultimately, a rewarding family experience.
There is no guide to parenting, but there are resources available for Veterans. These resources provide parenting tools, techniques and strategies to help you deal with emotions – not just your child’s emotions, but your own as well.
That’s where purposeful parenting comes in.
The American Academy of Pediatrics lists the following six Ps of purposeful parenting:
- Purposeful – Set long-term goals for your parenting plan. Discover the purpose behind your child’s behavior and help them improve. Be intentional and nurture their skills.
- Protective – Make sure your child’s basic needs are met: food, shelter and sleep. Help your child feel like they can trust you. Be available to address their concerns and questions.
- Personal – Be kind and gentle when communicating and develop a strong personal relationship to show your child unconditional love and acceptance. Always be kind and gentle when communicating.
- Progressive – As your child progresses so should your parenting techniques. Engage your child with meaningful conversations.
- Positive – Promote positive thinking. Build confidence by offering encouraging comments or rewarding your child’s efforts to improve.
- Playful – Keep a playful spirit. Playing with your children fosters a learning environment that strengthens your relationship. Allow them to be creative.
Have you ever heard of a shoulder chaperone? Neither had I. There isn’t a tiny teacher sitting on your shoulders guiding you on how to make the right decisions after your mini-me just colored the walls with crayons or made a mess of your closet trying on your favorite heels or Cole Haan’s. Though the six Ps of purposeful parenting can positively assist you in these situations, VA has resources, too.
VA understands the importance of family and is committed to providing comprehensive care that addresses the well-being of Veterans and their loved ones. Parenting isn’t easy. VA works to support strong Veteran parenting and provides resources to address Veterans’ concerns.
VA has created an online Veteran parenting training site designed to provide support for general parenting issues as well as the unique challenges that Veteran parents may face. It is free, anonymous and available 24/7. It includes tools and techniques to improve communication with your family, which can lead to you better understanding your child’s emotions and behavior, as well as helping you to deliver positive discipline while managing any emotional and physical challenges that may develop.
The online parenting site has videos of real Veterans sharing their personal experiences. Interactive games and activities make it fun to learn new skills. The Veteran Parenting site isn’t exactly the shoulder chaperone, but it does work on mobile devices, so you can access the tools at the moments when you most need them most.
“Clinicians across VA have shared that Veteran parents report finding the parenting resources beneficial in addressing their parenting concerns,” said acting VA National Director for Women’s Mental Health, Family Services and Military Sexual Trauma Theresa M. Schmitz, Ph.D.
VA also collaborates with several partners within the community, and widely disseminates information from the Sesame Street workshop to provide additional resources that could benefit Veteran parents. These courses can be accessed online and were also developed with an understanding of the unique experiences of military families.
Parenting is a journey of ups and downs. It comes with tears and laughter, frustration, isolation and sometimes guilt. VA wants Veterans to know that they are not alone and that there are resources available to all Veterans and their loved ones to help them be the best parents they can be.
Remember: To parent is to accomplish.