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Six Reasons Parents Fail


Q. What do experienced teachers wish parents knew about the impact of their child-rearing practices on their children's success or failure in school?


I bet teachers wish every parent would receive this book in the delivery room and be tested over it once a year. It's called Child Training Tips, by Reb Bradley.


It explains how parents can establish control in their homes, how maturity is developed, what methods of discipline are right and wrong, how to raise responsible and respectful children, and lots of other good information.


The chapter, "Six Obstacles to Successful Parenting," is worth studying. Here they are:


n       Parental defensiveness. (Blind spots, shifting blame, resistance to change)


n       Just raising children (providing food, clothing and shelter and treating them like mini-roommates), not putting in the immense amount of time and effort that it takes to truly discipline, civilize and train them. (Taking the easy way out and the path of least resistance)


n       Failing to realize kids aren't born with self-control, good manners and polished character. (Left to their own devices, they're monsters, actually!)


n       Not working to constantly improve their parenting skills. (What else in life can you do well without continuing education, trying hard, and measuring your effectiveness?)


n       Trusting the "experts." (They're wrong, most of the time: parents do NOT have to accept the Terrible Two's or massive teenage rebellion as "just phases" - parents are the "experts" on each child, and can and should do what it takes to minimize a child's misbehavior to maximize the joy and harmony at home.)


n       Fear of repeating your own parents' mistakes. (Yours were strict? So you're too permissive, and look how wild your kids are. Yours didn't have a lot of money? So you give your kids everything under the sun, and look how self-centered and ungrateful they are. Yours made you work all the time? So you let your children just play, and wonder why they are lazy, self-absorbed and unmotivated. See the pattern?)


It's a lot to think about, isn't it? One mom takes this approach: on her wedding anniversary every year, she sets aside a few minutes to sit down quietly and review her parenting over the year before -- good and bad -- and how her children are doing. Then she writes down her resolutions for improvement over the coming year.


They say parenting is the most important job of your life. While you'll never get paid and never get promoted, it's certainly a job you want to do well.


Homework: It's a good idea to read at least one book per year on parenting. There are a lot of good ones out there. Start with Child Training Tips, by Reb Bradley (Family Ministries Publishing, 1995).


By Susan Darst Williams Discipline & Safety 01 2008


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