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Riding the Waves of Parenting

I was at the beach recently, soaking in one last weekend of summer. As I sat in that sand taking in the vast ocean scene before me, I couldn’t help but watch a group of three girls attempting to navigate the intricacies of a paddleboard in Atlantic Ocean waves. Overall, they were incredibly successful when the waves were calm, however the problem entered in when a large wave would come and one of them would inevitably fall off.

Because I can do nothing in this life without viewing everything through the lens of a social worker, I was impressed with their problem-solving ability. Most notable was the way they would shift positions and attempt to counter-balance their collective weight, in an effort to keep their craft afloat. At one point, the one that was solidly and securely navigating the board with her paddle decided to jump off, in an effort to better allow everyone else to readjust their position and approach.

Though on the surface, her behavior and actions didn’t make any logical sense, it ended up being the key to their eventual success and stabilization. That’s because as they tried and failed and tried and failed and tried and failed, it turned out that a major adjustment was needed in order to move forward. The “leader” of the three eventually realized that and she took action to bring about a better end result.

I think this is such a perfect picture of parenting. It might be all smooth sailing for awhile, everyone safe and grounded in their current roles and responsibilities. However, when a rogue wave comes, it can necessitate some alteration in your navigation and approach.

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I say this to encourage you that when you feel like you are operating out of your depth, don’t be afraid to make some adjustments. Have the clarity to recognize those deep waters and understand that you can gain some success, but it is going to necessitate some parental adjustment and flexibility. And here’s the good news: That’s okay!

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If you’ve ever watched a young toddler begin to learn to walk, you know that he doesn’t get it right the first try. He falls and gets back up. And he falls, and he gets back up.

This process stays on repeat until he figures out the rhythm and cadence required to, literally, put one foot in front of the other. Very few toddlers that age get frustrated when they {inevitably} fall down 72 times a day. They just keep getting back up and getting back up and, eventually, they have solidified a skill set wherein they now have capacity and ability to walk successfully.

The same is true for you and your parenting process. The waves will come, it will be scary and uncertain, but hang in there. Stay the course while making some necessary adjustments, and just watch what can happen.

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Sonia Martin
Author: Sonia Martin

Sonia is a licensed social worker and holds both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Social Work. Her clinical focus is on helping parents and professionals understand the role of the brain in behavior and how to adopt therapeutic parenting techniques to mitigate negative behaviors. She is the Director of Central Alabama for Lifeline Children’s Services and is a mother to 7 sons, 3 of which were internationally adopted and she is a foster parent.

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Riding the Waves of Parenting

by Sonia Martin time to read: 3 min