Parenting As A Community

Dear Gateway families,
Our recent parent education events, the first one featuring Sheri Glucoft-Wong (if you haven’t watched the video yet, you really should!) which was then followed by two elementary-grade parent coffees, have sparked an exciting flurry of conversations about parenting in our community. Many people have since asked me to recommend articles about parenting to help them continue their thinking and learning, so I’ve put together the following list as a starting point.
How can we help our children learn resiliency? Often it is our own adult discomfort with our children’s disappointment or struggle that leads us to try to remove challenges from their path. Jessica Lahey’s reflection  Why We Should Let Our Children Fail takes an honest and painful look at how over-parenting can lead to learned helplessness.
How do we teach children healthy tech use? As Erika Christakas writes in The Dangers of Distracted Parenting, the short answer is that we have to model the behaviors we want to see. So put down the phone when you are with your kids. And if you haven’t watched it yet, make sure to check out last year’s fabulous parent education event with Lori Getz on our Youtube channel.
Is social media actually dangerous? The data is clear that increased social media use leads to more feelings of vulnerability and isolation.  As  Sean Cavanaugh reports, research shows that restricting use alone won’t be effective in promoting mental health; children need active coaching in how to build healthy relationships, set boundaries, and stand up for themselves in real life if they are going to have those skills in the online realm.
Will my child be prepared for and get into college? Many parents start asking themselves this question while their child is still in elementary school, and it influences how they approach middle school and high school. In Elite College Admissions are Broken, Alia Wong writes a compelling piece about how a culture of achievement pressure conflates selectivity with excellence.
A few more resources we’ve found:
  • Wait Til 8th empowers families to delay giving their children devices until 8th grade.
  • Lean In discusses how to be a feminist dad.
  • Talk With Your Kids helps parents discuss sex and healthy relationships. We offer a parent ed event on this topic in January, when we run Puberty/Sex Ed Programming.
What recommendations did Sheri Glucoft-Wong have? If you’ve read this far, here’s your reward: the one book recommendation that she passed along! “I usually recommend The Runaway Bunny.  It’s my favorite “parenting book” because it shows parents how important it is to simply be there to “hold” their kids whatever they do, wherever they go and to start from where the kids are, not from where you think they should be.”
I welcome your thoughts on these articles, or any other resources you’ve found helpful in your own journey as a parent. Our whole community benefits from this dialogue!

Dr. Zachary Roberts
Head of School