Greetings. I want to welcome you to a new series of articles, focused first on explaining the fundamentals of Terrific Parenting. These are the principles that allow you to build responsibility, nurture optimism and teach your children to enjoy the self-fulfilling rewards of right effort.
After laying out these principles over the weeks ahead, I will then dig into making those principles practical: In other words, how do we apply these in daily life so that you can build the healthy habits of success in your home.
Principle 1: Parenting Clarity Is
This principle is about the importance of having a clear, undiluted focus for your family and for your parenting approach. Too often in today’s world, we can become bombarded with different messages of how to parent, what to think about and what to focus on. Included in these various messages are often the opinions of those with relatively little exposure outside their own home or family. With the world of blogging and Facebook, everyone has a voice. Individual expression and creativity are allowed to prosper in this model, and the future is exciting.
However, not every voice that offers guidance should be valued equally. Too many voices causes confusion. Too many ideas means that you keep changing direction, and trying new things…before the more proven, data-based approaches have been exhausted.
As I begin this series, I will encourage what we might call a “consolidation” of parenting ideas and strategies. By this I simply mean, that the wide majority of the behavioral research on parenting, as well as most parenting books can be boiled down to about twelve basic ideas that you need to know.
Of these basic ideas, many are made more complex than they need be. My goal here is to keep it simple, and to keep it real.
So, what do I suggest you do with all those books? Those Parenting magazines? The good advice others, like me, promote on the Internet.
I suggest something profoundly simple: TEST.
TEST IT. Be willing to honestly put the idea or strategy to the test.
If it works, great.
If not, discard it.
How long do you test? Weeks, not months…if the strategy is built on proven principles.
If you are reading or practicing a set of proven parenting principles, you shouldn’t have to keep fighting or struggling over and over with your kids. You shouldn’t have to make things more and more complex, feeling like you are constantly adjusting to a new a set of conditions. This is a sign that you are off track. If you are using the tools that make parenting work more easily, then three major things should happen quickly:
1. You should feel relief, NOT confusion.
If you have confusion, you have too many ideas floating around in your head 🙂 Okay, honestly…that’s true for most of us. But when it comes to parenting…too many ideas will result in a failure to take action… RIGHT when you need to take action.
You get overwhelmed, and then hesitate. When you hesitate, your children see this. They see your uncertainty…your not knowing what to do next. This means…
2. You should know how to respond to your kids, immediately….regardless of what they throw at you.
Okay, not 100% of the time… but 98% of the time… a good game plan should eliminate your confusion. You know what to do, and you do it without pause. This then lets you see…
3. Changes should happened quickly, when you have the right parenting tools.
Rather than months or years, change should happen in days or weeks (for most parenting struggles). Contrary to much of what you read, children are remarkably resilient and they respond with remarkable adaptability to a clear and consistent game plan. They will learn to drop bad habits quickly, and adopt healthy habits rapidly…once you have clarity.
In a few days, I will cover principle two. Can you guess what single factor most quickly destroys the best parenting practice, and actually lays the seed for bigger failure. Perhaps you already guessed it. If not, I will cover this Wednesday.
For now, consider making life simpler. Put most of those books in the closet for now. Take a break.
And turn to those principles that actually have proven that they work. BY proven, I mean that there is a noticeable movement toward positive, productive and responsible behavior. Your child has learned to handle their emotions better. You are working less…and they are working more… at their happiness. These would all be pointers to successful strategies worth keeping.
If you want more immediate guidance, I always encourage you to check out more information on www.TerrificParenting.com.
For now, take care…
and Be Well…
Randy Cale, PhD