Parenting is hard. It's hard to balance the needs of our children with our other responsibilities. We get tired, and we don't always have the energy to enforce our family's rules and expectations. When we start letting attitudes and misbehavior go unaddressed, our children take that freedom and run with it. They push at the boundaries, and see how much further they can get us to budge. They start to wonder, on what point will we actually stand firm? Sometimes it feels like the children are the ones with the power, and we're just running around putting out fires and fights.
Dr. Maggie Mamen is a Clinical Psychologist with thirty years of experience. She is also an experienced mother, and a grandmother. Dr. Mamen's mission is to restore confidence in frazzled parents, who are not sure if they're doing this “parent thing” the right way. She speaks with candor and a dry humor that engages her audience, while she shares from her own experiences as a parent and counselor. Her seminar is encouraging and enlightening. The Parent Power! Lost and Found DVD is a compilation of the same seminar given to three different groups. Occasionally, Dr. Mamen's outfit and the setting will change, but it's not a distraction from what she has to share. The first 57 minutes of this seminar is used to introduce the course, explain the problem, and discuss its causes. Dr. Mamen points out why parents feel incapable and powerless to take the reins in their families, and who is working to undermine their authority and confidence. The final 39 minutes of the seminar explains ten steps parents can take to solve the problem and restore control and order in their homes.
There are five chapters on the DVD:
- Vive la difference! – discusses the differences in each of our children based on gender and birth order, and how that affects the way we parent them.
- Changing times… – explains how the culture in which we parent is different from the one we were raised in, and how that affects our parenting.
- Where have all the powers gone? – covers the shifting of power from parents to children and the causes behind this shift.
- The “quiet revolution” – explains how to reclaim healthy power in your family.
- Mindset shifts – lists ten small steps that can bring big changes in your home.
As Dr. Mamen speaks, her main points are occasionally displayed on the screen. This same outline is detailed in the DVD insert. Having the outline in advance can simplify note-taking as you view the DVD. It allows you to focus on the smaller points that she makes, since the main points are already presented to you.
This seminar isn't too long, with a running length similar to most movies. It can be viewed in one setting with your spouse, or it could be viewed in two or three segments, over the course of several days, as time allows. The content is not full of psycho-babble and it does not lean toward any particular religious beliefs. It should be acceptable to those who are parenting from a Christian worldview, as well as those with secular beliefs.
Though her ten mindset shifts are necessary for regaining power, they did not list detailed or practical applications. They are changes you need to make in how you view your role as a parent, rather than a list of methods to try. However, there is a reason for that. As Dr. Mamen begins her seminar by explaining, there is not one single method that will work for every child. We need to confidently use our intuition and understanding of our own children to decide how to apply these changes.
I found Dr. Mamen's seminar to be very encouraging. Her “been there, done that” attitude helped me to relate to her as a speaker, and gave validity to her thoughts. She isn't speaking with a professional or technical style, but in a conversational manner. I fully agreed with her assessment of the causes of the empowerment of children, as well as its negative effects on family relationships. I enjoyed the Parent Power! Lost and Found seminar very much, and would recommend it to anyone struggling with demanding children and boundary battles in their home. It is one that my husband and I will be viewing again, whenever we need the encouragement to stand firm and be the parent God meant us to be.