Character is the key

Have you ever wondered if you are a normal parent?

If it’s normal to worry whether or not you are “neurotic” in your concern for your child’s well-being?

It it’s normal to want to run away from home, even for one night?

Thornhill author Sara Dimerman has the answers for you.

The counsellor and founder of the Parent Education Resource Centre in Thornhill has published Am I A Normal Parent?, a book outlining observations Ms Dimerman made after having more than 200 parents answer 50 questions about their thoughts, feelings and behaviour.

And, as Ms Dimerman writes in her conclusion, she found out a “normal parent is someone who experiences a host of emotions, such as frustration, anger and resentment along with exhilaration, pride and satisfaction.”

After all, the mother of two pointed out, “As parents, we’re people too.”

Normal is a word that comes up in almost every session she has with clients, she said. “People want to gauge how they fit in.”

In the book, Ms Dimerman uses statistics gathered from her questionnaire, plus interviews she conducted with experts and anecdotes from real parents.

Each book contains a copy of the questions for parents to fill out themselves.

Subjects include worries about time management, anxiety about children’s safety and cultural impacts on parenting.

Ms Dimerman said she wasn’t overly surprised by any of the results of the survey, but thinks parents might be surprised “in a good way.”

Other reasons parents should read the book is they’ll gain a new awareness of what constitutes the definition of normal, learn why we want to be normal and understand the pitfalls of conforming to the norm.

Deb Carroll, the star of TV’s Nanny 911, wrote the foreword to the book.

In it, Ms Carroll said she thinks the book encourages parents to be more honest.

“I’ve been waiting for a book like this to be available so that parents can read the honest truth about parenting. I’d like them to realize that they are not alone when they feel that it’s hard work,” she wrote.

The book is her first, although Ms Dimerman has penned many articles, including parenting columns for York Region Media Group. She speaks as an expert in many media stories. You can check out some of her work at helpmesara.com.

She said she plans to expand the “Am I normal?” idea into a series.