Interview with Ryan Norris, the insightful author of 12 Positive F Words for Parents: How To Become The Authentic and Confident Parent Your Child Needs. In this empowering book, Ryan delves into the intricate art of parenting, guiding individuals towards a path of self-discovery and nurturing relationships. With a focus on personal, relational, and parental identity, Ryan’s book serves as a beacon of guidance, assisting parents in cultivating confidence within themselves and their family dynamics. By creating an environment that fosters authenticity and strength at the core, Ryan’s words invite readers to embark on a transformative journey of reflection and learning, prompting them to reconsider the essence of their influence on their children and the world.
Can you give us an overview of your book 12 Positive ‘F’ Words for Parents? What inspired you to write about this topic?
In my new book, we discuss healthy foundations. What it takes to raise and train self-efficacious child into a mature autonomous adult. What inspired me to write this book was the current state of our country as a whole. Watching schools, TV, movies, and social media raise our children is unacceptable and I could not just sit around and watch it happen. I feel most parents are not truly engaging with their children. Leaving them to fend for themselves idolizing all the wrong things. They are children, they need to be guided, taught, trained, and loved.
The title of your book is intriguing. Could you explain what each of the 12 positive “F” words for parents represents?
The 12 positive F words represents words that will encourage, esteem, challenge, and advance your parenting approach. Not only for yourself as an individual but for your spouse and children as well. This book is meant to bring families together to discuss some of the most existential questions. All members of the family can participate with this workbook. With the ability to read, discuss, and journal all in one book. This book is meant to be the topic of conversations at the dinner table, around the fire, and anywhere your family can be alone and intimate.
Parenting can be challenging. How did you come up with these specific 12 words? Were they based on personal experiences or extensive research?
To be honest I spend a lot of my time reading the Bible and in prayer. I didn’t think of any of these words preemptively. I sat down to write, and I believe the Lord gave them to me as I wrote the book. This book took less than 3 weeks to write and over a year and a half to edit. I have had doctors, pastors, evangelist, therapist, grandparents, moms and dads of all ethnicities and backgrounds read this book prior to publication to ensure its validity and pragmatic approach.
Positive communication is key in parenting. How do these “F” words contribute to fostering a positive and healthy parent-child relationship?
Positive communication is key in parenting and that’s why each F word provides a positive, encouraging, and uplifting perspective of all 12 F words. Each word can be a building block for discussion, application, and even confrontation. Confrontation and discussion is not negative, these are how we humans figure things out. Health confrontation is needed, it even helps some people understand and see different perspectives. My hope is that each “F” word will contribute to fostering a positive and health parent-child relationship through discussion, prayer, and even discernment.
Could you share an example of how one of the “F” words has made a significant impact in your own parenting journey or in the lives of others?
Most definitely, one of my favorites is “fear”. We see a lot of fear in our country today. I believe that fear is taught, instilled, and also innate. Fear can be something that warns us, like going to close to the ledge of a cliff or moving at too fast rate of speed. While these are preservation techniques that our body uses to keep us alive. We also have to remember that fear is a lie. We can overcome our fear. We can control our fear. Teaching my children that we control and have the ability to command our fear has been the best tool in my parenting took kit. Now that my children understand and implement these teachings they aren’t afraid of new things or to try something new.
The book seems to focus on positive parenting techniques. Can you elaborate on how parents can incorporate these principles into their daily interactions with their children?
Yes, parents can incorporate these principles into their daily interactions with children through reading and journaling their responses. Each section of the book has a journaling section that asks what it would look like for you to apply each “F” word into your parenting style. Not only do I provide examples, but I also offer suggestions, and I even give you a spot to apply it to your life. While I can’t make you go far on the life bike of parenting, but I can design it, create it, and even force you to sit on it but I can’t control how far you pedal on your own. This book has a ton of applicable approaches but if they are not implemented it won’t work. As parents we have a lot of work on our hands. This book was designed to help relieve some of that burden.
Many parents face difficult moments or challenges. How can these 12 “F” words help parents navigate tough situations and maintain a positive outlook?
Facing difficult moments and challenges is something every parent understands even if you are an expecting parent. My book 12 Positive “F” Words for Parents shows parents just how to confront those difficult moments and challenges. You see the majority of us not just parents but adults in general respond from our emotions instead of our cognitive thoughts. Something made us angry, so we yell. Something made us sad, so we ignore, run away, or cry. While emotions will rise our response to those emotions is our responsibility. When our Focus is clear, and our Foundations are secure we learn how to respond to our emotions in an encouraging and uplifting manner.
For example, if something makes us angry we can ask are you trying to make me angry because I am feeling bothered, hot, or whatever physiological response you are having. Most of the times our children are not. If they are that’s where boundaries and respect come in to play. Another example if something makes us sad like our child won’t hug us or talk about their day with us. We can communicate how we are receiving what they are doing and provide a transparent example of how to communicate our present challenge.
What do you hope readers will take away from your book? Are there any specific changes or improvements in their parenting approach that you hope they’ll make?
My biggest takeaway I desire for my readers to experience is FREEDOM. Freedom to be authentic and confident that while they may not be perfect parents. When they communicate, provide a safe place, build self-esteem, and confidence in their children they are in fact FANTASTIC parents. Not every parent that reads this book may believe or trust what I am saying but I promise you that God has designed a certain way for a certain reason. As parents we can show our children how great life can really be when we remain authentic and confident in who we are and who we were created to be.
Parenting styles can vary widely. Do you believe these 12 positive “F” words are universally applicable, regardless of cultural or individual differences?
100%. I believe the 12 positive “F” words are universally applicable. I believe every person in the world understand the desire for love, encouragement, edification, and the need to exhort one another. Justice and mercy are universal. When we raise our children we must teach them how to live a life that is full of mercy, love, grace and seeking justice. So, yes I believe that every F word can be universally applied. In all cultures children are looking for love, support, safety, direction, correction, and encouragement. All of the “F” words build toward and provide practical approaches to obtain children’s deepest desires. While walking parents through their own past hurts and traumas.
In your opinion, which of the 12 “F” words is often overlooked but can have a significant positive impact on parenting?
I would say the “F” word Fulfilled is often overlooked. When I counsel Parents it seems they just want to make sure their kids make it to adulthood. That they get good grades, assimilate into the culture as “normal”. I believe that these are obligations and the duty of a parent. But drawing out our children’s max potential, showing them the meaning of life, making sure they know who they are in this world is true fulfillment. A lot of kids now adults got good grades, make a lot of money, do a lot of good and yet they feel worthless on the inside. This book aims to help parents identify with what real identity is, not what’s culturally acceptable. I don’t want our children to just purely survive. I want them to thrive, explore, challenge, and experiment to develop their own identity.
Could you provide a sneak peek into any practical tips or exercises from the book that parents can start implementing right away?
Practical tips for parents to implement right away would be set designated time apart to communicate your dreams, aspirations and desires for your child. Then stop and without interrupting allow them to tell you theirs.
Also set up different time every day or multiple times a week to just have fun with your kids. Just 10 or 15 minutes where you do whatever they want within reason. The idea is for you to allow them to choose this will help their efficacy and autonomy.
Also, every now and then provide time for them to come to you with their doubts, fears, and concerns without responding negatively verbally. Only respond with hugging, hand holding, kiss on the forehead, and communicating support and encouragement.
Finally, something that could work would be to tell your older children the pain or hurts that you went through with your parents and your childhood. This will help your children understand the why behind the things that you do.
As an author and a parent, yourself, what has been the most rewarding aspect of exploring and writing about these positive “F” words for parents?
I guess the most rewarding aspect was seeing how many areas I can improve upon. I have learned so much about myself writing this book. I struggle with anger, depression, anxiety, PTSD and a whole slew of physical complications as well. Building that foundation of communication, transparency, and trust has been the most rewarding. Helping my family teach me and I learn from them by walking through and doing these exercises have brought us so close together.
What were some of the challenges you faced while writing this book, and how did you overcome them?
The largest challenge I faced while writing this book was how to connect with the audience and not sound preachy. I discovered through involving the audience and inviting them to join would be the best approach. This is why I developed the workbook approach instead of just a sit and read book. I really didn’t have to many challenges writing it. It all really came together so fluidly.
In today’s fast-paced world, parents often feel overwhelmed. How do your 12 “F” words address the issue of balancing responsibilities and maintaining a positive parenting approach?
I approach life balance from a mental and theological approach. Our world is moving period and it always has been. Self-control and self-discipline will always be the biggest barriers for us as parents. As humans we want what we want, when we want it, why we want it. But as parents we can help our children understand the reality of patience, control, boundaries, consequences and respect. When these concepts are adopted, applied and implemented the pace of the world wont matter because we will know our mission and our place in the world. Understanding our FOUNDATION helps us keep calm in the craziness. This is why FOUNDATION is the first “F” world. Our foundation is crucial to the way we approach others and the world at large.
Finally, what’s next for you? Do you have any plans for future books or projects related to parenting and personal development?
I do, my next step is to hopefully make this book a class. Speak publicly to help encourage and uplift parents all around the globe. Will you help me by buying my book, walking through the exercises and leaving your feedback?
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