The Parenting Toolbox

I’m happy to be back at Busy Mom’s helper today sharing a positive parenting tip that helps me get through the more challenging times.

The Parenting Toolbox by Nurture and Thrive for Busy Mom's Helper

What is a Parenting Toolbox?

It’s a set of ideas, strategies and approaches that you cultivate over time to help you deal with the parenting challenges we all face. Even more than that it is an attitude that helps help deal with those challenging times in a positive way.

This idea of a ‘parenting toolbox’ came up during conversations with my sister as we both raise highly spirited boys. We call each other asking for advice saying things, like “I’ve tried everything and nothing works!” and “I need a new tool in my parenting toolbox!”

My sister and I have both recently made it through the independence-seeking, defiant, and boundary testing days of year two, only to turn around and find ourselves with the even more challenging behavior of year three. Her oldest just turned three and mine just turned four (phew!). Needless to say we’ve had A LOT of conversations over the last few years that have started with – “I’m so frustrated!” and more often than not have ended with “That’s a good idea, I’ll try it.”

As parents, we all face challenges raising our children. And in the face of those challenges we may also have moments of self-doubt. That critical voice in our head creeps in and wonders what we did wrong or even what’s wrong with our child. If we can push those thoughts aside and instead see our child’s new challenging behavior as an opportunity for expanding our parenting skills, then we are truly engaging in positive parenting.

Because here’s the thing:

Our children are constantly growing and developing. With each new stage come new joys and new challenges. We as parents need to grow right along with them—we need to face those new challenges with new ideas and new tools.

That trait, the ability to look at challenge as an opportunity to grow, is a characteristic of highly resilient people. Psychologists call this cognitive hardiness: a style of coping common among people who thrive even when faced with challenge and who report high levels of well-being. In other words, people who are happy and successful.

It seems to me that this is something that we as parents do all the time. Raising children is wonderful and challenging. It makes sense that when they grow that we as parents would view this as an opportunity to grow ourselves.

People are full of good advice for parents and sometimes that’s annoying, but I think usually it’s a good thing. Maybe even a GREAT thing. Yes, you have to filter through that advice – what will work for your child’s temperament and your family may not work for someone else. But I always listen and file away the advice I get because someday it might be the very thing I need to help my child.

So here is my wish for all of us. That we always grow alongside our children and that our parenting expands and deepens with each year. Fill up that parenting toolbox!

To get started check out these posts—all of them contain concrete parenting actions. Tools for your parenting toolbox.

Three Quick Tips to Help Your Kids Calm Down

The Power of a High Five

Self-Regulation Toolkit for When Kids Have to Wait

How to Get Your Child to Listen

Four Mealtime Strategies for Kids Who Won’t Sit Still!

Thanks for Reading!

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Hi I’m Ashley! I'm a mom and a child development psychologist. Once I became a parent, I had so many more questions! I realized we have so much yet to learn. I write about issues that affect us all as parents, drawing from research and experts in my field. Please email me topics or questions you'd like to see discussed as well!

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