The Opening Path

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Lancaster, PA 17603

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Introduction to Parenting

“I’m Going To Be A Parent…YAY….GASP!" ...From joy to worry to answers.”


In my third trimester of pregnancy I had a recurring nightmare:

I am walking around on stage dressed in an old flannel shirt and jeans. People dressed like me walk by carrying large pieces of scenery and putting down props. I am reaching into my back for the script and try to remember where I put it, thinking I left it at home, and began looking around for someone‘s script to copy. I notice actors are dressed for a performance and moving purposefully to their places on stage. I am in the front of the stage, and the curtain opens to an audience looking at me. In growing panic, I realize they are expecting me to start. “I don’t have my script,” I whisper to another actor. He looks back at me sternly. I wake at this point, my heart banging against my chest.

From twenty some years distance, I can still feel a little of the panic of the dream that clearly expressed my fears of not being prepared for the responsibilities of parenting.

Many of us enter parenthood feeling unprepared. Babies are, from their first moments, enormously dependent on us, even needing us to hold up their heads. As parents, we assume an awesome responsibility.

So, in response to the dreams, I read two books: one by Dr. Spock and the other by Penelope Leach. Unfortunately, they could not have been more different. While Dr. Spock was teaching me how to let my baby cry herself to sleep, Penelope Leach was giving me permission to have my baby sleep with me and advice on how to be completely available.

How could two experts be so different, and who was right? More importantly, how was I to know? I wanted the research, the hard research that would show me what worked. On this website I will share the result of that journey, based on research utilizing the principles of the science of psychology. I found this research while writing my master’s thesis on preventing problem behaviors in adolescents—after I had finished raising the first of my three children. So this work is a reflection of this, the experience of teaching this approach to many parents, and the continuing research on creating secure attachments.

I think there are three basic skill sets to parenting:

Warmth: How you communicate love, understanding and foster in them a sense of their being important to you.

Positive communication: How you talk to your children in a way that teaches them to approach the problems and challenges of life, how they will deal with failure as well as success

Supervision: ways of setting and maintaining reasonable and helpful limits.

Each section contains subsections teach with stories as well as explanations that clarify how research supports these and how to implement them.

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