Be Your Kids’ P.A.R.A. (Part 1)

Differing parenting styles can still produce great kids.  I subscribe to the “Mary at the wedding of Cana” approach, as a beautifully feminine and engaged method of problem-solving and parenting (which sometimes feels like a series of problem-solving episodes).  At the wedding of Cana, Mary noticed a problem: the wine was about to run out.  She talked to the right person, Jesus.  And she took bold and decisive, God-directed action instructing the staff to “do whatever he says”, which gave fabulous results and averted embarrassment. The resulting wine was even of higher quality than the initial wine.

Being your children’s P.A.R.A. means following Mary’s example.  First we must P-ay A-ttention to what is going on with our kids.  One of the benefits of volunteering at the school or driving to field trips is you see the dynamics with your kids and their peers.  You step into their world with adult eyes and a fully developed brain.  Often you can see trouble spots your kids are not  fully conscious of and also simple solutions they might employ to overcome the challenges.

After P (paying) and A (attention) comes R (respond) and A (arrange).  Overinvolved parents pay attention, but then they  react rather than respond—often overstepping their kids’ boundaries.  A measured, well thought out response empowers your kid to experience success and failure, when necessary.  Mary did not frantically grab the wine jugs and take over; she implemented a calm directive that allowed many people to be touched by Jesus’ first public miracle.  When we “arrange”, we make sure all of the ingredients for success are present, and we step aside giving our children the gift of the satisfaction of making the right choice and the essential life lessons of the consequences of making the wrong one.

Next time I’ll share a couple of examples when I was being a P.A.R.A. to my own kids.

The Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationship Tip:  Part of helping is knowing when to step back and when to jump in.