As a long distance runner navigates the hills and terrains of a marathon distance course, so should parents have a compass and map of sorts to get them through the peaks and valleys of family life, according to Jodi Orshan, marriage and family counseling therapist.
Orshan has developed a multi-faceted “Parenting Plan for practically perfect parenting” that appears to optimize her diverse background as educator, trainer, youth program director and life coach.
“Other than raising my own four children, I cannot tell you anything more gratifying then partnering with a family and watching them grow; it is just gorgeous, very rewarding,” Orshan said.
Her expertise in family building is over 30 years in the making and ranges from developing a blueprint for the day-to-day life scene, to remediating families in crisis like the 15-month-old who will not sleep through the night, or a contentious divorce requiring a soft and supportive touch.
“It is amazing how quickly parents can take charge when you offer specific tools and positive language for them to just take a deep breath, be present in the moment, let their fears and frustrations go, and fall apart later,” Orshan said.
Modern technology and micromanaging complex scheduling can pull families apart, according to Orshan who suggests that simple strategies like committing to daily gadget- free quality time with the kids can make all the difference.
“Making dinner together every night and turning off all electronics for a minimum of 25 minutes or so done consistently will produce amazing results. Studies show that grades improve as a result of this one simple act of uninterrupted family time. There is even a correlation with less bullying problems when parents are involved in activities with their children. It is one simple act but when you are there you need to really be there,” Orshan said.
The three major transition times for parents, according to Orshan, are:
1. Preschool when communication begins and a familial separation starts;
2. Early teens and the onset of puberty, and
3. Junior/senior years of high school when parents wonder if children are appropriately prepared to leave the nest.
Orshan laments that in today’s age there no longer is a “village” to help raise kids because no one person can be everything to everyone.
“When kids were more connected to their immediate neighborhood community parents did not have to worry so much and life was easier. We have now built a virtual community of support with our seminars and coaching so parents can also get the nurturing they need and let out a sigh and a smile.”
An example of innovative solutions that can make difficult situations easier was made by Orshan when telling the story of a tricky divorce that had a happy ending for the family.
“The two parents were very much battling and did not understand the concept of coparenting. Each parent becomes 100 percent parent and their family mission is decided independently of each other under different roofs.”
Orshan said, as a result, the goals and dreams of each new household turned out to be nearly identical, merely implemented in different ways and it resolved 90 percent of the challenges in that particular case.
“Live the values you want them to value. Be courageous and kind and caring to elders and animals, and inspire in them the values you treasure. It is critical to act the good life you want for them. It is not what you say. They are always watching you.”
To find out more about Jodi Orshan and “The Parenting Plan” visit www.theparentingplan.com or call 305-240-1249.