After taking some time away from STEP this summer for personal matters, I got to thinking about the need to refresh your parenting approach from time to time.
If you're a creature of habit like me, what starts out as a positive "methodical and consistent" can easily become a not-so-positive "in a rut".
The idea came home to me personally this fall when my son left for college and I took a fresh look at my relationship with my daughter. While we are close and have a strong and happy relationship, she and I are quite different in our personalities, ways of thinking, approach to problems, and outlook on change and adventure, among other things.
I was pretty convinced I had been seeing the relationship in full. But somehow the absence of my son and the influence of my relationship with him shed a new light on my relationship with my daughter-- in addition to seeing their sibling relationship in a new light. And definitely seeing where my behavior may have been undermining both.
There is little in life more humbling that parenting.
Despite learning STEP thirteen years ago, studying it over all these years, practicing it with absolute honesty, and teaching it several times a year for the past six years--
I am learning something new.
The good news is that with the attitude that STEP has given me, I'm never more than a few degrees away from righting the ship. Being experienced in the empathetic listening technique, and in the art of telling another that something is unacceptable with the gentle "I-message", I feel pretty positive about how to go about improving things. That's the philosophy of STEP -- progress, not perfection-- and the techniques to bring it about, in action.
It's also the reason I'm offering a special new STEP series-- a one-on-one Fall REFRESHER-- three private hour+ sessions to help bring families back to the proper focus. Motivation, Communication, Discipline.
So the take-away is: as a parent, KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN.