If you are the parent who thinks you never get it right, you are not alone. Many parents feel they are not the role models they should be.
An upcoming conference aims to help moms and dads dispel preconceived notions about how they “should” act, and to rediscover the joy of parenting.
It Takes A Village to Raise a Child Parenting Conference is set for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 12 at Florida Technical College, 12520 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines. The cost is $35 a person or $60 a couple through Oct. 11, and $45 a person at the door.
The event is hosted by Whole Hearted Parenting, a Miramar-based company that offers parenting coaching and workshops, and Indigo Village Educational Foundation. MomsMiami is also a sponsor. The conference was started five years ago in San Diego by Indigo Village founder Susie Walton, who created the foundation to offer cutting-edge programs in parenting and life skills.
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The conference will feature 10 speakers on issues such as rediscovering the joy of parenting, determining your unique strengths as a parent and understanding your teen. Parenting children of color, adoptees and those in the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community also will be discussed.
The conference is geared to parents of kids from 18 months to 18 years, said Maggie Macaulay, president of Whole Hearted Parenting.
The theme is “Celebrating our Uniqueness.”
“We wanted to include a lot of discussion on how we are all unique, including children of color, those struggling with gender identity, and children of adoption,” Macaulay said. “There will be information on how to be true to you, and how to encourage your child to be themselves, even when they are receiving pressure to be somebody else.”
Macaulay said the event is not only for parents who are having issues with their kids. “This is for any parent, and for every parent, whether they are having problems or not.
“It can be stressful to be a parent in today’s world, and so what ‘It Takes a Village’ is about is creating that village, connecting people and resources so that parents have a place to come and refresh and see things from a different perspective.”
A Village Marketplace at the event will feature books by conference speakers, as well as resources and information on parenting.
Speakers include Susie Walton, author of Key to Personal Freedom: How Myths Affect Our Family Lives; Mandi Hawke, director of youth services at SunServe, a social services agency for the LGBT community; and Delene Cole, a licensed marriage and family therapist.
Kristin Mackey of Miramar, author of You Can, You Will, You Did! Micro Changes, Macro Transformation, will speak on expressing who you really are and maintaining balance.
“Parents can find themselves overwhelmed by everyday demands, which can drain their energy and vibrancy,” Mackey said. “I want to help parents see the value of staying personally aligned, as well as practice the key habits that ensure they stay fresh, happy and vibrant.”
The youngest speaker is Caleb Sessions, 17, of Boynton Beach, author of 7 Days to Understanding Your Teen.
Sessions will talk about the mindset of teens and the thoughts behind your teen’s actions.
“Parents can better understand how to empower their teen, as well as have a better understanding of what it's like to be a teen nowadays in our society,” Sessions said.
After the morning session, which is for adults or adults with their teen children only, there are two after-conference sessions where parents can bring kids ages 7 and older.
The activities will begin at 1:30 p.m. with a homemade vegetarian lunch at Yogi Hari’s Ashram, 12750 SW 33rd St., Miramar. It is $10 and will be prepared by Tara Shuku, author of the cookbook Simply Divine. Attendees also may bring their own lunch, Macaulay said. Lunch will be followed by a nature walk and yoga class.
Event proceeds go to Indigo Village, which will help fund two SunServe weekend workshops for LGBT youth in Broward County.
“So often we have this image of what children should be like, of what a family should look like, or what parents should be and how they should talk to their kids,” Macaulay said. “This conference is about recognizing who you are as a parent, and parenting from that place. Recognizing who your children are and parenting them uniquely. Sometimes we forget that parenting is a joyful experience.”