My name is Lisa Hoelzer. I have four daughters ranging in age from 16 to 7. I live in Rochester, MN where my husband works as a physician for the Mayo Clinic. I have a Master’s in Social Work from Brigham Young University and worked for just under a year in adoption services for state child and family services. I’ve spent almost 16 years as a stay-at-home mom, and I take that job very seriously. Early on I could see I would need more resources than just my natural ability or intuition, so I started reading a lot of parenting books and trying out the different systems.
I’m a big fan of “studies” – structured experiments that show that this course of action leads to this result – and the stronger the statistical evidence the better. I enjoy nonfiction books by authors such as Malcolm Gladwell that summarize all kinds of different studies, in part because they make you see situations in a new light – they show you that intuition did not prove to be true (or, in some cases, it did). But it’s very hard to “prove” that any one parenting method works necessarily better than any other. There are too many variables, and too many limitations on how we can interfere with children’s lives. I often wish there were alternate universes where I could try out two different parenting theories and see what the results would be! Furthermore, maybe what we do as parents matters less than we thought. Maybe kids would turn out the same regardless of how we parent. I’m willing to entertain that idea for a moment, but in my heart I believe that the way we parent matters, and that the more purposeful we can be in our parenting the better it will be for children. I believe that fostering a supportive but structured environment for children makes it so that they can grow to their fullest potential and not be bogged down by emotional baggage.
Also, my personality is such that I want a system; I want to believe that I am doing things the “right” way. It really drives me crazy to think that one way might be better than another, and I might not ever know. That’s what motivated me to read and study so many parenting books. Through trial and error and a lot of hard work, I came to identify some core parenting principles that helped me in all the various struggles and challenges with raising my children. They don’t work all the time, and there’s still plenty of frustration and discouragement, but they helped me have structure and an overall vision in parenting, which greatly reduced my anxiety. And that was one of the greatest benefits: just having confidence in myself, my knowledge, and my actions brought a lot of peace, which in turn made me a better parent.