Parenting is easy. Yeah, right. Parenting is, in many respects, the toughest job any adult ever has and often comes with the least amount of preparation or training.
As parents, we’re responsible for teaching and modeling positive attitudes and relationships – respect for others, trust, open-mindedness, calmness, open and honest communication, politeness, to name just a few. Parents also have to model, promote, and encourage positive attributes in their children – things like work ethic, healthy behavior, self-discipline, critical thinking and ability to think for oneself, lifelong curiosity and learning … again naming just a few. It’s a very tough act and we all make mistakes as parents.
Believe it or not, every adult on the planet has had parenting classes. We all learned how to be parents from our own parents. Sometimes those lessons were pretty good … and sometimes not. If we had poor lessons, we may have vowed to never treat our kids the way our parents treated us. And that works pretty good … until we’re stressed, get angry, and we revert to old lessons; repeating what we’d promised ourselves we’d never do to our own kids. That can lead to guilt, shame, self-recrimination, and family dysfunction. It doesn’t have to be this way. It is fixable.
Good parenting is a bit like a benevolent dictatorship. We’re the parents, we make the rules, rules will be followed or there will be consequences, but there has to be some flexibility. Rules have to be realistic and fair for our kids’ ages and developmental stages. And as parents we cannot be our child’s best friend. We can’t be parents – teaching, modeling good behavior and relationships, imposing rules and consequences – if we’re also trying to be our child’s best friend. This doesn’t mean we can’t play with, read to, or simply talk with our kids. But as parents we need to be authoritative – demanding yet also supportive and involved – and not rejecting, neglectful or uninvolved, not permissive (my child’s best friend), and not authoritarian (rigid).
In terms of parenting, I work at The HAVEN Place with a mixture of three models – Love and Logic, Common Sense Parenting, and Positive Parenting with a Plan. These three have two common themes – structure and positive parenting. Kids and the elderly have one characteristic in common – they do much better if they have structure in their lives. Interestingly, families – adults and kids alike – also do much better if they have structure.
If you’d like to learn more about why we as parents do what we do vs. effective and positive parenting check out our Resources page.
More questions? Send me an email asking for a free consultation. Include your availability in the coming week and I’ll respond within 24 hours with a day and time that works for both of us.