SMDC psychologist speaks on parenting 'for the long haul'“Peaceful” might not seem to be a word that goes with “parenting,” but Rick Gertsema says parenting can be both peaceful and practical, and he wrote a book to show how.
By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
“Peaceful” might not seem to be a word that goes with “parenting,” but Rick Gertsema says parenting can be both peaceful and practical, and he wrote a book to show how.
Gertsema, a psychologist at SMDC Health System’s Hermantown Clinic, will be the featured speaker on Thursday at the Greysolon Ballroom, 231 E. Superior St., at a dinner sponsored by the Miller-Dwan Foundation and Women Leading Change.
The event is a fundraiser for the foundation’s Turning Point Campaign to build a mental-health and wellness center in Duluth for children, adolescents, young adults and their families.
Gertsema’s book, his first, is “Peaceful & Practical Parenting,” and will be released on Monday by Tate Publishing of Mustang, Okla. Its Duluth release will be at Thursday’s event, with a copy included in the $30 cost of admission.
The book came out of a manual Gertsema developed as he traveled around the state training parents who had adopted or were in the process of adopting kids with a history of being sexually abused.
But the book is designed for a broad audience of parents and seeks to take the mystery and confusion out of raising children.
“It got so complicated,” Gertsema said in a telephone interview last week. We’ve been in an era when parents were told to be friends with their children, he said. “And parents are so much more than friends. Parents are in it for the long haul.”
Gertsema’s “back-to-the-basics” approach is that raising children involves three concepts parents can start teaching them even when they’re very young: love, respect and honesty.
“It will mean something just a little bit different as kids go through the developmental stages,” he said. For example, even a 3-year-old can be told that hitting his brother or sister isn’t loving, he said. “And so the teaching starts at a very young age.”
Gertsema, 49, grew up on a dairy farm in southwestern Minnesota. He has worked in behavioral health since 1982 and has been at the Hermantown Clinic for 12½ years. He and his wife, Carrie, live in Duluth and have two daughters, ages 23 and 20, and a 3-year-old granddaughter.
Although he has ample experience in his field, Gertsema was a novice when it came to putting out a book, he said. “It was this whole process that I just had no idea. We started in January on the publishing process and they said it’d take about nine months. And that’s pretty accurate.”