Thursday, July 31, 2014

Loren Buckner: Parenting 101

Parenting is a subject of almost universal interest, and countless books have been written about it. But Tampa writer and psychotherapist Loren Buckner has approached the subject from a different point of view. ParentWise – The Emotional Challenges of Family Life and How to Deal With Them is a very readable self-help book that will help parents navigate the often stormy seas of child rearing. “Generally, parenting books focus on what parents can do to take better care of their children. The parent’s own internal struggles aren’t as well addressed,” Buckner says. “I wanted to examine parenting from the parent’s perspective.” Buckner, the mother of two, shares personal anecdotes with readers in the hope that her experiences will give readers insight into themselves as parents. She also includes stories from her psychotherapy practice so parents can realize that they are not alone in how they feel.

Buckner grew up in White Plains, New York and received her undergraduate degree from American University. She went on to earn a Master’s degree in social work from Tulane, then took a position as a substance abuse counselor in Vermont. When her husband was offered a job in Spain, she had the opportunity to spend two years living abroad before moving to Tampa and starting a private practice.
As someone who speaks publicly to large and small groups, Buckner has spoken nationally and internationally, with teenage parents, mature parents, and to parents of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. She discovered that all parents sometimes grapple with worry, disappointment, sadness, loss, and anger – but most feel too ashamed to talk about. 
Buckner, a self-described “reluctant writer,” never planned to write a book. “I was going through some parenting turmoil myself and decided to do a professional paper on the emotional strain of being a mother,” she says. “After I presented the paper, someone suggested I write a book. I thought about it for a while. Then I sat down and started writing. I wanted to show parents that if they understand their own emotions, they’ll be better able to understand their children’s.  But I didn’t want it to be a ‘Five Easy Steps’ book because there are no easy steps to parenting.” Before she knew it, she had written 50 pages and soon found herself enjoying the process. “The more invested I became in the message, the easier the writing became,” Buckner explains. “I never even got writer’s block. I spent hours riveted to the computer. I loved being able to speak to parents from my heart. As a therapist, I mostly listen. As a writer, I could speak about my own experiences and those of the clients I work with.”

Five years later, Buckner had completed ParentWise. The book combines true stories of parents struggling with the demands of parenthood, “Food for Thought” questions to help readers examine their own thoughts and feelings, 20 “Intentions,” or goals for readers to strive toward, and honest accounts of Buckner’s experiences raising her two (sometimes difficult) children to be happy, successful adults. She hopes her book will help parents better understand themselves and their emotions and see the link between what happened to them in the past and who they are today. “I want mothers and fathers to learn that they don’t have to be afraid of the memories, thoughts, and feelings that are inside them. The more comfortable parents are with their own emotional lives, the easier it will be for them to understand and take care of their children.” And that, when all is said and done, is the real goal of every wise parent.

For more information, visit the author’s two websites at and

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