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Dr. Barbara Lauer-Listhaus Discusses Cooperative Parenting at Suburban Torah

On Monday, March 12, a large group of parents gathered at Suburban Torah in Livingston for a lecture by local neuropsychologist Barbara Lauer-Listhaus. Presented by the shul’s preschool, the Iris Berman Early Childhood Center, the talk was entitled, “We’re in This Together: Raising Confident and Competent Children Through Cooperative Parenting.”

Dr. Listhaus works with families of every shape and size and says that, though cooperative parenting is traditionally a phrase used within the context of divorcing or separating parents, her definition here is a bit different. “I use the term ‘cooperative parenting’ to refer to an experience in which parents work together with their children through a team approach to establish the expectations, rules and family plan,” said Dr. Listhaus. “This process minimizes negative interactions and reduces the power struggle between parent and child.” Dr. Listhaus’ philosophy arose out of her experiences as a professional, meeting with patients and their families, as well as her experiences as a mother of four, including a child with special needs. In her book, “Flavors for Everyone: A Guide to Raising Siblings in a Special Needs Family,” Dr. Listhaus explores the issues that many families face when raising children with different abilities and personalities; however, her practical solutions do not apply only to families with someone who has special needs.

Dr. Listhaus suggests working together to establish a list of house rules, and coming together frequently for family meetings, where everyone can participate in an ongoing dialogue about expectations, successes, concerns and areas for improvement. “Cooperative parenting is based on teamwork within the family,” said Dr. Listhaus. “By working with our children, we give them an opportunity to understand our motives and they feel compelled to strive to succeed.”

“For many of us, it’s easy to let the days and weeks fly by without stopping for a moment to really assess how things are going in our homes,” said attendee Danielle Sharret, a mother of three. “I appreciated that Dr. Listhaus gave suggestions for small changes that we can make to improve communication with our children and make life more enjoyable for everyone.”

Dr. Listhaus’ core belief is that our job, as parents, is to raise our children to be the best that they can be without breaking their spirits or trying to change them into someone else. It is easy to forget the impact that we can have on our children just by modeling behaviors that we wish to impart to them—such as showing affection or demonstrating how much joy we derive from spending time together as a family.

“Being a parent is arguably the hardest job on earth,” says Dr. Listhaus. “But it yields the greatest rewards.”

Dr. Listhaus can be reached at [email protected]. Her book, “Flavors for Everyone: A Guide to Raising Siblings in a Special Needs Family” is available on Amazon.com.

By Rachel Jager

Top 10 Benefits of Cooperative Parenting

  1. 1. Creates a peaceful home environment
  2. 2. Builds confidence
  3. 3. Encourages parents to trust their instincts
  4. 4. Develops trust
  5. 5. Decreases behavioral issues
  6. 6. Teaches children to manage their own behavior
  7. 7. Teaches independence
  8. 8. Fosters empathy in children
  9. 9. Encourages happiness
  10. 10. Reduces stress
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