Monday, February 9, 2015

Responsible Parenting

Many experts have their view on responsible parenting. The Children's and Family divisions of the world also have their views. My question is what is your view of responsible parenting. It is obvious. This concept starts with meeting a child's basic needs of food,shelter, safety, and comfort, but what goes beyond these basics? I ask you to consider inspiration, motivation, and empowerment. Everyone knows the end of child rearing is adulthood. But, how many start with the end at the beginning? A parent's goal is to turnout an adult who is able to step out into the world with strength, confidence, and competence. Parents need tools in order to accomplish these goals. I think overall parents who inspire confidence and independence, motivate thoughtful decision making, and empower their children to acccomplish their goals is one who is doing well in our culture.Recently, in my professional circle we have discussed how culture effects parenting. Here in the US parenting is very different than other places. It has occurred to me that responsible parenting also includes not just training our children to live and thrive in our culture; but to respect parenting from another. Overall, I think responsible parenting is all about working to inspire, motivate, and empower your children to live and follow their own dreams. While teaching them the things they need to know about living everyday fife. Let's start with every day life. As an adult everyday life obviously consists of going to work, creating and living by a budget, cleaning, bill paying, washing dishes/clothing, self etc. It is about all the responsibilities that we all have to take on in order to make life work. A large part of responsible parenting is all about teaching children and helping then to master these skills. Then it will be easier to thrive in doing the other things in life. Let's look at the others. Inspiringg children takes three things: Finding out what they love to do, think about, plan etc. Helping them to gain the tools they need to pursue those things. Then talking to them and demonstrating for them how you do the same. Most people do not think of responsible parenting has anything to do with how they actually live their lives. The truth however is that your children will live the life they see not the life they are told about. How you interact with others, how you feel about work and life all shows up in how you live and children will follow that before and beyond all else. In the end in order to inspire your children you yourself must live an inspired life. Follow your dreams and talk about how you do it, what it means, and how you feel. If you do not have a specific dream find someone who does and help them follow theirs. Then talk to your children about that, and how it makes you feel. Let them know it is okay for you to have a dream it also okay to help others fulfill theirs. No wrong or right way just a way to choose. Motivating many think motivation is all about hyping up and being falsely encouraging. But, children can spot a fake at fifty paces with not errors. Motivating children is about two things. Getting in there with them and showing them what to do and how to do it. If you want your six year old to clean up after themselves. You should start when they are three helping them to clean up and put things away together. When they are old enough they will automatically pick things up because it is what you do. The second motivator is to listen and act on what you hear. Children will tell you what they need. The issue is parents and other adults for that matter think kids do not know what they want or need. Not true. Maybe we as adults could help them see what they want is not good for them or it would be better to make another choice. This means they know what they want or they can not have it. Children know what they want. What else is a temper tantrum all about? Remember listening is different from hearing.Listening is all about understanding every aspect of what is said. Words, body languages, facial expression, body language are all things that will tell you more about what is being said than the words themselves. Acting on what you understand will greatly depend on what you have listened to. Sometimes acting on what you have heard is about comfort and explaining why what is desired is out of reach or sometimes impossible. Many times it is about being patient and waiting. And sometimes it is about working together to make it happen. Whichever it is get after it! Empoweringyour children is about giving responsibility and stepping back. Many parents are nervous about giving their children more and more independence. My question is if we want our children to act on and be motivated by the inspiration we want them to have we have to help them gain the confidence they need to pursue those goals. The only way to show our confidence is to step back and allow them to do it. Studies show that men are better at this than women. In his article about Vygotsky in Simple Psychology Saul McLeod references this point. Our goal is to give our kids room to grow by giving them responsibility. It is better to slowly give them more responsibility and have to pull back than to fail to give them enough. Now one wants to see a 17 year old with the same responsibility as a 7 year old. It is just sad. So in the end I see responsible parenting as the teaching, inspiring, motivating, and empowering of a child to become an adult able to do the mundane things of everyday life, while reaching for dreams, goals, and aspirations that will fill their souls and serve mankind. Teaching them to do the same for their children. All while living the same kind of life as an adult.

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