Parenting is a tough job!! No kid comes with an instruction manual and if they did each would have to be completely unique. However, there are a few principles that can serve as basic structures as we wade that deep, alligator infested swamp, called “PARENTING”!! Here are six basic skills that we’d all like our kids to have by the time we get them launched at 18.
- They need to have enough self-discipline to do those things they don’t want to do to get those thing they need (like go to work)
– This is the main reason to do homework and get adequate grades. It’s not to get into an Ivy League school so much as it is to practice/learn self-discipline.
- They need to develop appropriate self-modulation so that they don’t act on every emotion they experience.
– It’s not OK to punch holes in doors (or someone else) because they’re angry and it’s not OK to laugh hysterically in church just because they’re buddy told a funny joke. This is a part of the “social skill development process”
- They need to have good problem solving skills
– When things don’t go as planned be able to step back and figure out an alternate strategy. This is a primary tool for avoiding (working their way out of) depression and anxiety.
- They need to develop good critical thinking skills
– This is the ability to evaluate new information relative to what they already know. Obviously this is a moving target because what we know is never static. It’s most fun to watch this skill develop in early grade schoolers. Most kids actively work this process and some of the outcomes are really funny because the base information is pretty limited.
- It is important to help them develop a moral base adequate for appropriate decision making. This skill is based on values: “because it’s the right thing to do” rather than “I’ll get whacked if I do/don’t”.
– This skill is a developmental process that often is a direct reflection of the child’s home environment. However, the ability to engage value based reasoning doesn’t develop until a child enters adolescence.
– Developing this skill (perspective) makes the number 6 possible
- To be healthy and happy throughout live, a person MUST develop the ability to establish and maintain healthy relationships.
– The ability to establish and maintain healthy relationships requires adequate ego strength to participate in healthy give and take that relationships require, as well as withstand and resolve the inevitable conflict inherent in relationships.
So often parents get caught up in the day to day conflicts that often seem to be an inherent part of parenting. There is real value in keeping your eye on the long ball – what is the goal, the value I’m trying to teach?? Is this the best way to do that?? Children of ALL ages learn within this framework.
As you interact with your children, think about which goal(s) are being served and how best to maximize their growing potential. In future posts I’ll discuss effective ways to approach this parenting style.
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