The Parent Wellness Compass Book

This book, written by family therapists, Holly Hughes Stoner and Scott Stoner, is a collection of thirty-two reflections centered around eight areas of wellness, each accompanied by reflection questions for the readers. It can be used by an individual parent, by people parenting together, or by a group of parents for discussion and support.

Two Excerpts from the Introduction to the Parent Wellness Compass Book:

“In some ways, raising a family is like an extended journey in the wilderness. We never know exactly what we will encounter. There are always unpredictable challenges in life that can throw us off course, and some of them can be quite dangerous. There is unspeakable beauty and joy around every corner of the journey, as well. For those of us honored to be on this journey of raising a family, there is no greater delight in life.

As families navigate this journey, encountering both unpredictable challenges and unspeakable beauty, they are wise to always have with them what we always have with us on our canoe trips—a good compass and a good set of maps. This is why we wrote The Parent Wellness Compass and this is what we offer you: A compass for parents and families, along with a good set of maps to helpyou navigate the joys and challenges of family life.

A compass and a set of maps are not substitutes for the journey itself. Just as each person who visits a wilderness will experience their own unique journey, so it is with families. Each of our journeys are unique, and yet all of our journeys will be enhanced by having the right tools to help us navigate.”

Most of us are familiar with the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” We think this concept is so important that we extend it to parents and families, as well, because we also believe that it takes a village to support a parent and a family. Our families are not meant to live in isolation, separate from one another. All families have a better chance of thriving in the context of community when they can both give and receive support from one another. It seems that in no other area of life is this truer than in family life and parenting.

The paradox, though, is that often when we find ourselves struggling as a parent or family, unsure of what to do next, we pull away from others, trying to hide our struggles from our friends, our families, and others close to us. We once heard a parent say, “In my neighborhood, parenting seems to be a competitive sport. We are all trying to appear as though we have it all together and, sadly, we are all too quick to judge another parent who seems to be struggling.” It is sad to us that at a time when parents need the support of a village of other parents, they find it hard to find such a village. We hope to change that.

Another of our hopes for this book is that parents, along with community organizations that care about parents and families, will use the Parent Wellness Compass as a tool for creating supportive villages of parents and other adults. We hope this book will help parents come together to be real with one another as they both seek and provide support for the challenging and rewarding work of parenthood.

We hope that because of this book, fewer parents will feel alone with their concerns and worries and will, instead, be a part of a community of parents who care about and support each other in their endeavors to be more intentional about their family’s life together. Non-profit organizations that serve families, schools, faith communities, and community centers are natural locations to provide villages of ongoing support for parents. We are discovering that these villages of support, while seeming to form more naturally a few generations ago, today need to be intentionally created.



Who Will Benefit From This Book?

•   Parents. By saying parents we mean all parents, regardless of the age of their children: biological parents, step-parents, foster parents, single parents, adoptive parents, and/or parents who are co-parenting with a spouse, ex-spouse,or partner.

•   Expectant parents. Many expectant parents attend classes to help them prepare for the birth or arrival of their child. This book offers parents the chance to begin preparing for the social, emotional, and spiritual journey of parenthood that begins the moment their child joins the family.

•   Grandparents, aunt and uncles, and other extended family members. Today, many extended family members are playing a big role in raising their grandchildren, nephews, and nieces. Having multiple members of an extended family read this book can be enriching for everyone, as discussions about different approaches to parenting emerge and get discussed, thus helping to avoid potential conflicts.

•  Educators, parent groups within schools, non-profit leaders, community leaders, faith leaders, mental health providers, and all who work in their local communities with parents and families may find this book to be a valuable resource.  Community leaders and organizations have a unique opportunity to create villages of support for parents, children, and families by using resources such as The Parent Wellness Compass as a foundation for programming in their communities.

The Parent Wellness Compass Companion Journal: A Free Download to Accompany the Parent Wellness Compass Book

While there is space in the Parent Wellness Compass Book for readers to write down their responses to the “Making It Personal” Questions at the end of each of the thirty-two reflections in the book, and to record “NEXT Steps” that they wish to take, some readers may not want to write in their books, and/or may want more space that is available in this book.  This journal provides ample space for parents to record their responses and is also a helpful tool for those parents who want to gather in groups with other parents do share their response with each other.

Recommended: To access the full functionality of this Companion Journal & NEXT Steps pdf, download and install Adobe Reader (free) for your device.

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