In my many years of clinical practice I have rarely met anyone who has had formal training in how to be a responsible effective parent. It seems that in our society we do not value the quality of parenting enough to provide or require any level of proficiency. We just assume that it is the right of every parent to do as they wish. As a result of the lack of training and the low value placed of the quality of parenting, when people become parents they only have two options. They either parent in the style and manner that they received his children, or they make an attempt to do the opposite of what their parents did with them.
In the first case new parents, by default, simply repeat the patterns and methods of their parents. The results are for better or worse depending on the quality of the parenting they received. In the second case, parents attempt to change what they believe was done to them because it was perceived as harmful. Their good intentions too often fail. The reason is that good intentions are not enough. You must learn how, qualitatively, to parent in a more positive and effective manner.
Next to building and maintaining a nourishing and rewarding relationship with a mate, our most important purpose and goal in life relationships is to nurture and shape our children toward being psychologically healthy and responsible adults. Once you have children, regardless if they were planned or not, it is your responsibility to impart useful knowledge and shape responsible and psychologically healthy character and behavior in your children.
How are you faring in this endeavor? Could you be doing a better Job?
As a starting point I am going to point out a few of the fundamental characteristics necessary to being a responsible effective parent. This is only a partial list, which I’m sure you may be able to add to based on your own successful experience.
Effective responsible parents:
- Are mentally and emotionally sound the people,
- Are open to and seek self-evaluation and new learning,
- Are ethical, fair and impartial,
- Are involved and committed,
- Are age appropriately mature,
- Are objective and guided by reasoning,
- Possess and practice the characteristics they are attempting to teach,
Look at yourself as objectively as possible. How do you stack up to this partial list? If you are like most people you know you have a lot to learn about effective and responsible parenting. Over the coming days I will be presenting information about functional and dysfunctional parenting beliefs and behaviors. I am open to your comments and questions.