Transforming families around the world
P.O. Box 206, Goleta, CA 93116, U.S.A.
(805) 968-1868 (phone and fax)
How to Obtain Support for Aware Parenting
A message from Aletha Solter, Ph.D.
Founder of the Aware Parenting Institute
Dr. Aletha Solter is a Swiss/American developmental psychologist who is recognized internationally as an expert on attachment, trauma, and non-punitive discipline. She has led workshops for parents and professionals in 16 countries. The titles of her five books, translated into several languages, are The Aware Baby, Helping Young Children Flourish, Tears and Tantrums, Raising Drug-Free Kids, and Attachment Play
Don't expect quick, simple answers
I realize that it is not easy to raise children according to the Principles of Aware Parenting. It is probably quite different from the way you yourself were brought up, and you may not know any other parents who are trying to raise their children this way. Many parents have questions about this approach, feel isolated or overwhelmed, and need advice or support.
Please do not e-mail me for personal advice. I receive so many e-mail requests for advice from parents around the world that, unfortunately, I do not have the time to send personalized replies. Even if I did have the time, my advice would be a repetition of the material that is printed in my books unless I had extensive background information about your particular child and family situation. Furthermore, Aware Parenting does not consist of quick, simplistic answers. Sometimes the key to solving a problem lies in something that you may not initially be aware of.
I offer consultations by telephone, skype, or in person for people who have read at least one of my books and filled out a pre-consultation questionnaire. This questionnaire gives me important background information. When I talk with parents, I am often able to use this information to get at the root of a problem and make helpful suggestions. This is impossible to do by e-mail. If you want to see the questionnaire, I'll be glad to e-mail it to you (in English or French). There is no fee or commitment required for the questionnaire.
If you decide to schedule a consultation, please send back the completed questionnaire, and e-mail me for an appointment. (firstname.lastname@example.org). I am usually able to accommodate most people within a week (unless I am on a workshop tour). Please click here for more information about my consultations and fees.
Other sources of information and help
1. Read my books (The Aware Baby, Helping Young Children Flourish, Tears and Tantrums, Raising Drug-Free Kids, and Attachment Play) If you have read only one or two of them, you may find answers to your question in another one of my books. My books have been translated into many languages. My two workbooks (English only) may also help you. They are full of exercises and charts to help parents put the theory of Aware Parenting into practice.
2. Read the articles posted on our web site. One of them may address your particular question or concern.
3. Check our web site to see if there is an Aware Parenting instructor in your area who is teaching a class, support group, or workshop where you can ask your questions and find support. Some of our instructors also offer private consultations in person, by telephone, or by Skype. Go to our home page and click on the flag for your country.
4. Join an online discussion group. There are several Aware Parenting discussion groups at Facebook. A beginner group is here. It is a closed group, so you will need to log into Facebook and ask to join it. (Please note that these Facebook discussion groups are neither sponsored nor moderated by me, but some are moderated by our certified instructors.) We have an official Facebook Page with information and updates about Aware Parenting around the world.
5. Form your own Aware Parenting support group or study group. It doesn't have to be large. Sharing ideas and expressing feelings with one other person can be very beneficial. Everyone needs someone to talk to and a shoulder to cry on. You can use the exercises following each chapter in The Aware Baby and Helping Young Children Flourish to explore your childhood and your feelings. Doing this may help you to clarify some issues. You can also use my workbooks as a guide for exercises and discussions in a group setting. These workbooks grew out of my own experiences leading Aware Parenting classes.
6. Try to obtain help with the daily work of parenting and with housework. Remember that parenting is a difficult job. Don't try to do it alone. If you have no extended family nearby, try to create your own "tribe" of friends. Meet other parents with children the same age as yours. Perhaps you can form a playgroup, exchange childcare, or do housework together. If your children are teenagers, get to know the parents of their friends. Remember that we human beings evolved in extended family clans where no adult was ever expected to be the sole caretaker for a child.
7. Have realistic expectations for your children and yourself. You don't have to be perfect. A few mistakes are not going to damage your children forever. With the tools of Aware Parenting, you can always repair and heal whatever damage you may have caused. Remember that being a parent is a continual learning and growing process.
8. If you are frequently angry at your children, you are probably not getting enough help or suppport to meet your own needs (see number 6). Look for the sources of your anger in your own childhood rather than in your child. Consider seeing a therapist to help you heal from your childhood traumas.
9. If your child has serious behavior problems or is involved with drugs, consider taking him to a psychologist or a substance abuse counselor. Try not to blame yourself for your child's problems. Remember that you have always done the best you could, given the resources and information available to you, and that you are not the only influence on your child. With your help and loving support, however, you can always be an important part of the solution to the problem.
My wish for all parents is a lifetime of joyful connection with your children!