The Parenting Tool Box

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.”  Maya Angelou

The Parenting Tool Box

by Danna Merritt, MSW, LMSW

What does a toolbox look like in which to put your parenting tools?  A parenting toolbox is kin to virtual reality…. It is not concretely present, but it is still visible and can be used.  Ideas in your head are “put” in your virtual reality toolbox.  Like with any toolbox, what you put in it is key to fixing things. In this case, parenting tools can be turned to and used for parenting, just like the tools in a household toolbox you use to repair things around your home, to fix your car, or the tackle box you take fishing with you. Parenting tools are important. However, the effectiveness of these tools, just as with tools in other toolboxes, are measured by their strength, whether they are appropriate for the task at hand, or if they are used knowledge, consistently, correctly and skillfully.


What occurs internally can play a significant role in how a person acts on the outside. When a parent implements their tools with their child in the medical setting, they find within themself a level of confidence, peace, consistency, assuredness, as well as an attitude of leadership in their parental relationship with their child.  This raises the possibility that their child too will reflect similar attributes, and respond to medical treatment with confidence.  Your internal state includes memories, feelings, thoughts, and the ways in which expectations are applied in living your life.  Understanding why you think, feel, and act the way you do leads you to utilize your toolbox appropriately, skillfully and intentionally in the raising of your children everyday. Understanding why you think, feel, and act like you do is the key to developing and applying effective parenting tools skillfully.

During the PEP program, (and the same is even true as you read this) you are encouraged to fill your toolbox with parenting tools for gaining insight and understanding why you do things the way you do.  For example, two of my favorite tools from the Parents Empowering Program are the 4:1 Rule, which is explained in the previous article, and the Hot Pen method, a free association style of journaling Journaling is a tool for parents to make discoveries about what they are thinking and feeling.  Upon making such discoveries, parents are then able to translate them to parenting behaviors that can improve their relationship with their child(ren).  The technique of writing and sharing your stories with other parents who live in like circumstances is very cathartic. Who you are and what drives you can be both revealing and freeing..  Learning more about who you are on the inside and then developing parenting skills you can choose to apply in your actions and behaviors (on the outside), gives you strength to apply the tools of consistency and objectivity. Filling your toolbox with useful tools means you can parent your child in a home atmosphere fertile for raising a medically challenged child to become an empowered, independent, and confident adult.

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