Good goals for parenting

Published 9:46 pm Thursday, October 15, 2015

Let’s face it: Being a parent is probably the hardest job most folks will ever have.

Most folks quickly recognize the importance of training and continuing education when it comes to their careers. Most employees who have been successful for 18 years or more also have sought to improve and expand their knowledge about their chosen field during that time.

When technology changes, it requires us to learn new ways of doing our jobs, new skills and new procedures. When a company gets new ownership or new management, successful employees look for opportunities to learn more about the new culture and how they can operate successfully within it.

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Consider how much more important, then, it is for parents to be well equipped for the challenges they face in the challenging, lifelong career they embark upon when they have their children.

Nobody is born knowing how to be a parent, and for most of us, it’s impossible to objectively consider the efficacy of our own parents’ parenting skills in order to determine whether to mimic them with our own children.

Much as pregnant couples might read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” smart parents will recognize that billions of other parents have experienced the challenges of raising children before them, and they’ll seek out the collective wisdom of those who’ve done it well.

Similarly, even parents who have mastered the art of raising toddlers will recognize new challenges when those toddlers go off to elementary school. And every person who has ever lived with a teen in the house will have noted that those creatures call for a special kind of treatment that would have been inconceivable for grade-schoolers.

Recognizing the need parents have for good advice, the Suffolk Public School system will host a seminar next week by Dr. Michael Popkin, author of the book “Active Parenting.”

Popkin’s book discusses how to use parenting skills to instill positive qualities in children, such as discipline, respect, cooperation, courage, self-esteem and more. One important factor in doing this is by building a community of good role models around children, he says.

During his visit to Nansemond River High School on Oct. 21, Popkin will focus on the dynamics between parents and children as it pertains to helping children succeed in their education.

The 6 p.m. program is free. There will also be dinner available at 5:30, along with free childcare. Dinner and childcare both require advance registration at or by calling 925-6752.

About 3 million people have been through Popkin’s program, he said this week. Through it, parents can find more joy in their relationships with their children and find themselves less frustrated, he added. And those are the kinds of goals nearly everyone has for their jobs.