Hi, I’m Justine and this is the blog for Good to Great Parenting. I’ve been parenting for over 13 years and learning positive parenting skills for the past decade. Here’s my story of how I went from being a lawyer living in London to a parenting coach. That’s a picture of me and Steve before we had kids. Notice how carefree we look! We used to enjoy walking in the mountains and we were in Scotland or Wales when that photo was taken. Eventually we got tired of living in a clean house doing whatever we wanted whenever we wanted and we had kids! The new role of being a parent was both wonderful and daunting. Mostly, it was and still is wonderful.
Things had got tricky when our first born was biting other kids. He was 2. It’s not an unusual problem for a kid in that stage of development but it was definitely embarassing! He had a new brother and had started kindy and there was a lot going on for him at that time. Surely, he’d grow out of it, I thought. At kindy the teacher mentioned a parenting course she had heard of … several times. Was it that bad I asked myself? Did I really need to do that? I felt I could crack it if I just kept going. But the biting didn’t go away.
I tried all the things good parents did. I calmly told him why it was wrong to bite and reminded him lots of times that biting wasn’t nice and Mummy didn’t like it. Sometimes I got cross and shouted at him. I got a lot of advice, often when I didn’t ask for it. This was confusing and not helpful. Things like “ignore the good, praise the bad.” You try ignoring a toddler who bites another toddler and see what happens. It was eventually when someone suggested that I bite him back that I decided something had to give.
I went along to the course even though I wasn’t sure if it was right for me. It was a life-changing decision. I could see how powerful these skills were straight away. After completing the course I got a chance to be an assistant and to train as a facilitator with the co-owner of the Parent Practice in London – Elaine Halligan. I spent the next 2 years training with Elaine and the founder of the business and author of Real Parenting for Real Kids, Melissa Hood. It was an exciting time.
But back to my son and the early days of putting what I had learned into practice.
Once I became more self-aware of how I was acting with my son I realised that he was getting the wrong messages from me. I was unhappy with his behaviour but I was behaving in a way which made him think that I didn’t like him very much. I started to be more positive with him and his whole body language changed. He would cuddle up to me on the sofa. I was surprised how very different things were.
I haven’t forgotten what it was like to feel stuck. Since then I have been working with families to help pass on the full range of skills that can make life so much easier. I’m committed to passing on these wonderful skills to help empower families in our community to have a positive and fulfilling family life.
Welcome to my blog – I would love to hear about your parenting journey!