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by Sine Thieme, a writer and mother of four who is new to South Africa and busy chronicling her experiences on her blog, Joburg Expat.

This Mother’s Day, why not ask for the gift of attending a parenting workshop? It might seem counterintuitive to want to concern yourself with more mothering questions when all you really want to do on Mother’s Day is kick back and have no kid duties, but trust me, you will gain a lot. I recently attending one called  from this particular class. It is called “Strong Mothers Strong Sons” and facilitated by Megan de Beyer,  a psychologist who has run a number of these courses throughout South Africa and in California. I had the good fortune of attending her recent appearance at Dainfern College in Johannesburg.

For one, it was very refreshing to spend a whole weekend just listening to someone else’s teaching, especially someone with so much insight into the workings of families, and families with teenagers in particular. As mothers, we are always busy organizing other people’s lives, checking things off lists, and feeding people who seem to constantly be hungry, so sitting in class for a change without having to lift a finger was a soothing experience. None of Megan’s revelations in and of itself was really news to me. But it is one thing to know what you’re supposed to do (and not to do). It’s an entirely different matter to stop, take a step back, and look at the big picture for a change.

We discussed many topics, ranging from your teenager’s need for more independence as his brain develops, our need as mothers to be in control, female versus male emotional states, A-Type versus B-Type personalities, and – a must for a workshop on teenagers – sex, drugs, and alcohol. I came away with a number of great messages, such as:

  • Love your son as a separate person and a gift to you
  • Recognize your son’s ownership for his growth
  • Parenting is relationship building
  • A good relationship with his family inoculates a boy against harmful behavior
  • Stop nagging and simply be present
  • Accept that there is a place for laziness in your son’s life
  • Create times that are free of pressure and conversations that are free of judgment
  • Families who play together and pray together will stay together
  • Don’t let your ego interfere with your parenting
  • Be honest about what you’re raising your child to be

After an entire weekend of listening to Megan, not only do I feel energized to adjust my parenting approach, I also feel a new calmness, fueled by complete trust and belief in my children, a sense of awe and wonder that I get to witness their development. I’m sure it’ll wear off after a while, as all such things are prone to do, at which time I might have to attend another workshop. But in the meantime I feel content and proud as a mother of four wonderful children

For more details, read my related post on my parenting blog, Desperate Mothers.

Click here to find information about organisatoins that offer parenting workshops on Jozikids,

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