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I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the 2016 Uplift Families Parenting Conference last weekend. I am so glad that my husband and I made the time to go to this event. I left feeling happy that as parents, we do many things right but also feeling motivated that we can make some changes that will better prepare our children to be happy, productive adults.
The conference was held at the Thanksgiving Point Show Barn. It started with an outdoor buffet style, dinner. The food was excellent. We enjoyed kalua pork, teriyaki chicken, rice, pasta salad, green salad, fresh pineapple, and rolls. Dinner alone was well worth the $20 per couple cost.
Next, we moved inside to the barn for the conference portion of the evening. I hadn't ever been to the Thanksgiving Point Show Barn before. It was comfortable and there really wasn't a bad seat in the house. There were 6 presenters who each gave a 10-20 minute talk featuring TIPS (Teaching Important Parenting Skills). The following synopsises are based on my own notes. The full talks will soon be available on www.upliftfamilies.org.
First, we heard from the First Lady of Utah, Jeanette Herbert. As the mother of six and grandmother of 16, she recognized the importance for parents to have access to resources and TIPS that can help them to lead their families and raise children with the skills to succeed despite the stresses and negative influences that are a part of our world today. She started her "Uplift Families" initiative to provide that support to parents that will help them to be confident and successful.
Mrs. Herbert spoke about different parenting styles. She discussed attributes of 3 different styles: permissive, authoritarian and authoritative. I found a little of myself in all 3 styles but authoritative is usually the most successful style of parenting. Authoritative parents are very involved but not controlling and provide opportunities for freedom. They are consistent with rules, expectations and consequences.
Next, we hear from Richard and Linda Eyre, the key note speakers. The Eyres are parents of 9 children and authors of many value based parenting books, including the first parenting book to reach #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list in 50 years.
The Eyres talked about turning entitlement into grit. They believe entitlement has become a widespread problem among today's youth. It creates dependent, needy children who expect everything to be done for them and to be done immediately. They suggest we can raise children with grit (work ethic, determination, tenacity, stick-to-it-ive-ness) by having a family narrative and a family economy. A family narrative includes deliberate patterns, stories of ancestors, traditions, and rituals that create identity. A family economy includes a family banking system, chores, and opportunities to get kids out of their bubble and see how others live to create children who understand work, patience and the value of money. Find out more about the Eyres at www.valuesparenting.com
Deanna Lambson is an elementary school teacher, mother of 6 and 22 year PTA volunteer. She has developed a program called "White Ribbon Week" that teaches internet safety to children in a positive way. Go here to find out more about White Ribbon Week.
Mrs. Lambson gave great, down to earth ideas for talking to kids about pornography. She encouraged parents to prepare and arm kids when they encounter pornography. Talk about it, not just once. Have frequent chats. Tell children to remember tic, tac, toe....turn it off, talk to people and turn to something active.
Dr. Gregory Hudnall spoke about suicide prevention. A former Provo High School principal, he has created a community suicide prevention model called, Circles 4 Hope. It combines community connections, school programs, and mental health partnerships. Learn more at www.hope4utah.com
He listed 6 things that help prevent suicide. 1. Family cohesion 2. connectedness to community, school, family and friends 3.Problem solving skills, 4.Religiosity, 5. Restriction to access lethal means 6. Access to appropriate medical/mental health care.
Dr. Jackie Thompson is the Coordinator of the Educational Equity Department in the Davis School District.
She spoke about culture and how to teach our children respect for our own and other cultures. She told us the Maasai greet each other by asking " Kasserian Ingera" which means "How are the children"? She believes that if we as a society were always asking ourselves "How are the children" and answering like the Maasai, "All the children are well" that we would have a better society because we care about the heart of our society, the children.
The final speaker was, Dr. Paul Jenkins, a professional psychologist. who works with individuals and organizations to encourage positivity.
He spoke about pathological positivity and how to achieve more happiness in your life. He said anxiety is imagining what is worse than where you are now, hope is imagining what is coming is better than where you are now and gratitute is being happy with what you currently have. He suggested we should list 25 things we are grateful for - for 5 days and to write down a problem in your life and then list 25 things you are grateful for about that stressful thing.
After the speakers, we were treated to our choice of several tropical desserts and were able to visit with the presenters and groups that had display tables. It was a great night, all of the presenters were interesting, educational and fun. I highly recommend you check out www.upliftfamilies.org to see the videos of each talk (when they are available) and speakers from previous years as well. We hope you will join us next year!