Monday, November 16, 2009

Essential Guidelines for Good Parenting

The more time I spend around people (friends, family, acquaintances, etc) with children, the more I have come to realize that there are very, very few good parents out there. I would even go so far as to say that maybe only 1 out of 7 familes are doing a good job of parenting.

I know, I know - everyone thinks that they are good parents (including myself, most of the time). And I also know that no one, including myself, is perfect (my patience is too short at times, and I don't spend as much time with them as I would like to due to being overly busy).

There are many aspects of what I would consider good parenting, including developing a relationship with your children (by spending time with them), listening to what they have to say (even if you don't want to hear it), providing for them (putting a roof over their head and food on the table), and protecting them (to the best of your ability anyway).

However, there are three simple absolutely essential guidelines that I have decided are the very bare necessities for good parenting.
They are as follows:
  1. Love your children. Give them hugs, kisses, and words to encourage them and let them know on a regular basis that they are loved, accepted, appreciated, adored, etc.

  2. Teach and guide them. Children come into this world knowing absolutely nothing about it, and there is a whole lot to learn. Any a-hole who relies solely on teachers in school to do the job is negligent in their duties, especially because books alone aren't going to get them through life smoothly and/or successfully.

  3. And finally .... DISCIPLINE THEM! This is the one that I see performed the least. Even many couples whom I greatly love and respect - as people, as intellectuals, and even as Christians - refuse to discipline their children adequately!

    But what do I mean by "adequately"? It's pretty damned simple - if they are doing something wrong, and you tell them as such, then they do it again - then they need to be punished! Ok, fine - maybe you can tell them again and they can be given a second chance. But after that it's not sufficient to redirect them, ignore them, or laugh about it like they are being cute somehow - DISCIPLINE THEM, DAMNIT!

    I'm not saying you should be a Nazi who doesn't let your children express themselves and make mistakes, but if you don't discipline your kids when they do things that are wrong then they are not going to learn that a) you are in control and they need to obey you, and b) that what they are doing is wrong and is not only a bad choice, but it's not an acceptable way to act - in society, in school, or especially in my house!

    There are many methods of discipline to choose from, and I know that most people disagree on which one(s) are the best to use. Options include putting them in time out, grounding them to their room, taking away toys or other items, or even spanking them. But in all honesty it doesn't really matter which one(s) you choose - just pick one and USE IT!


Nate said...

Nice summation Mike. Concur with you on all of it and I too know we have many deficiencies as parents but aggree with your core principles.

On the discipline, many will disagree with me on this, but I have learned their is a fair amount of custom tailoring with each kid. What works for one absolutley doesn't work for another. Even the same kid adjusts tactics over time so it is a constantly moving target and requires constant parental work and love. One thing we have adopted as core values though are the 3 Ds. These are dealt with immediately and there is no room for movement on them. The 3 Ds for us are behaviors that are Dangerous, Destructive or Defiant. Our kids know this and really steer clear of these, but they still end up in one of them at times. Meldoee and I have clear differences on what is dangerous, she is very risk averse while I'll let them take some risk and learn from the ensuing minor cut/scrape/bruise on thier own.

Having 4 kids is a circus in and of itself but the boundaries we have set have worked pretty good for us. I really get annoyed at people who sya something like "man you are so lucky to have well behaved kids". I always want to respond with, "guess what genius, they didn't simply come that way"

Nice blog entry thoug, many people fear to put this type of stuff out there or simply can't eloquate it in a non-personal manner as you did.

caryn said...

Amen! Mikey. You do a great job with your kids and I love to see it.

I like Nathan's 3 Ds as well. It is a good measure to help decide when to take quick swift action. I notice that with subsequent kids it is easy to slip on discipline so this is a good reminder to stay strong.

michael said...
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michael said...
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michael said...

Great input Nathan - the 3 Ds are a really good way to clarify the non-negotiables. And thanks for the compliment about the post.

I totally agree about getting compliments regarding the kids too - I get the same thing (people saying they are well behaved). And while I appreciate the acclamation, I also know that they didn't get that way by accident.

I realize that personalities differ from child to child (some are stronger willed, higher energy, etc), but every single time I have seen a child that is unruly and out of control I have noticed that their parents are not willing to discipline them sufficiently and/or consistently enough.

And thanks Caryn too - I originally sent you the link because I know you and Daniel do such a good job at this.

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