I am taking a parenting class. Yep, even though I am a year and a half away from my last child leaving the house, I am taking a parenting class. This class isn’t just any parenting class. Jodi Hildebrandt, Licensed Professional Counselor, is out to change the world with her three core principles that will deepen EVERY relationship. Not just a parent/child one but any relationship combination you can think of. The three core principles are:
Be Impeccably Honest
Be Vulnerable or Humble
Her class has ROCKED my world. Jodi said, “You must be so full of integrity that you are such a safe place for your children.” Some of the Characteristics of Truth she mentions are being,
Jodi Hildebrandt writes:
“Kids are born connected—they are perfect beings—and at birth they begin to interpret and place meaning onto their environment. Through this interpretation they decide whether or not they are safe, and they question their value/worth.”
“We have the charge to teach children how to challenge their own distorted thoughts and how not to assume responsibility for someone else’s distorted thoughts (perceptions.)
“It is the responsibility of both the child and the adults in their world to share (back and forth), give, instruct and practice tools and skills of personal integrity—and the outcome will be connection.”
We were meeting for our 2 hour class and we were discussing these principles and their ramifications. I raised my hand. “O.K.”, I said. “What about private body parts? I gave my daughter anatomically correct names and she blurted out in a crowded elevator that her vagina was itchy.” Another mother, much younger than me, raised her hand and said, “I too, struggled with how to handle this issue with my children.” She went on to say, “I practiced saying “penis” in the mirror 20 times before it sounded natural. I wanted to describe their genitals like I would say a finger or a knee. But, then I told them that these parts of their body are their private spaces. I went on to say that sometimes people around them can feel uncomfortable when we say these private parts of our bodies . I told my sons that if we are with a group of people to come and whisper to me what is wrong so that it won’t embarrass some people. ”
I looked at her and thought, “Wow! What a wise mother. She managed to be sensitve, reassurring and truthful at the same time.” I raised my hand again and said, “Ok, what about Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy?” There was a lot of discussion about that and Jodi finally said, “I didn’t tell my son about Santa Claus and his sister told me that he was defending Santa at school and I needed to tell him.” Jodi went on, “I was putting all of his Santa letters in a scrapbook and my son came up behind me and said, “What? It was you all along? How could you not tell me the truth?” So Jodi said they had a long talk about it, and as parents, she said we have to figure out the best way for our families when it comes to mythical creatures.
I remember one of my daughters at about age 9 came to me and wanted to know the truth about the Tooth Fairy. For some strange reason, I didn’t tell her the truth. I wanted to continue the fantasy for her and it totally backfired. She burst into tears. She came to me and specifically wanted to know THE TRUTH. It is a huge regret for me, because it was the perfect time to talk to her honestly about it. Later, I went to her and did talk honestly about it. I felt so bad about that experience that when she had the Maturation discussion at school and she wanted to know the low down, I told her everything she wanted to know. I let her lead with her questions, and when she asked, “Exactly, how does it happen?”– I told her. Especially in this world where everyone is informing your children of things they used to be protected from, telling the truth is really important. You recall in an earlier post I wrote how Elder Foster interviewed Pablo and found out about how Pablo’s father took him aside and prepared him every year with what his maturity level could take and was truthful with him. Jodi would approve.
Here are 4 or 5 good podcasts on parenting your children that Jodi Hildebrandt has made. You can click on anyone that looks interesting to you.