Editor’s Note: We’ve been reviewing the 14 years of content compiled on this site to uncover some parenting pearls of wisdom that need to be rediscovered. This post about mastering certain parenting concepts was originally published in October 2010.
The recent at-home dads’ convention in Omaha, Neb., was chock full of content. One workshop inspired me the most, though — the feature presentation by Dr. Frank E. Bowers, a supervising psychologist at the Boys Town Behavioral Health Clinic, part of Boys Town Community Support Services in Nebraska, on “the most important job in the world,” fatherhood.
During Bower’s introduction, the audience was told we would “discover why the role of fatherhood is so critical to the success of our children and what we can do better at our job.” OK, you had me hooked!
This thought-provoking presentation revolved around the Top 10 Parenting Concepts to Remember. I will add that these concepts are just as appropriate for moms as well as dads. In fact, I would not be surprised if this passionate speaker, completes a similar inspirational presentation frequently to mothers groups.
Bowers describes the goal of parenting as “safe passage from birth to adulthood.”
So, let’s get down to the Top 10 Parenting Concepts:
1. Adult Think vs. Child Think
As parents, we need to constantly remind ourselves that we are talking to a child and they don’t think the same way we do. Their brains are not yet wired for the same logic we are. Set your behavioral expectations accordingly. Be a firm parent dad with a lot of structure.
2. Emotional Parenting (E-Line) vs. Purposeful Parenting (P-Line)
The aim here (without displaying the line graph) is that as parents we should work hard at hovering close to the “P” line — purposeful, powerful and proactive parenting — rather than hovering on the Emotional “E” line. This will result in a lot more “time in” with our kids than dealing with “time out.”
3. The Secret To Parenting…
The secret is to give our children what they want when they give you the behaviors you want. What do your children want the most? Your attention!
4. How We Learn?
A. Repetition – think about how you learned your multiplication tables.
B. Contrast – think 98.6 degrees vs. 350 degrees
Rule: The greater the contrast, the fewer repetitions needed.
The lesson from touching a hot stove (350 degrees) vs. touching another person (98.6 degrees) requires a lot less repetition to be learned. Therefore, you might have to keep telling your toddler to stop hitting other kids over and over again (lots of repetition). If you ever say to tell your child, “How many times do I have to tell you” … well, the answer is “at least one more time.”
5. Kids Want Structure
They won’t tell you this, but it helps tremendously.
6. Discipline is the Goal
Discipline helps create better behavior in the future. It is NOT punishment, which can be retroactive. Teaching self-discipline is key. For example, you cut your kid’s meat into small pieces so they can eat it with the hopes of modeling so one day they can cut their own food.
7. Set Them Up for Success
- Provide adequate structure.
- Don’t “invite” them to lie. If you know they took a cookie from the jar, don’t ask them if they took the cookie when you already know the answer.
- Make expectations developmentally appropriate.
8. Catch Them Being Good!
This one really resonated with me. We are constantly watching for negative behavior so we can pounce on it and correct it. We should spend more time praising the behavior we want from our children. Therefore, give our kids more attention when acting appropriately than when doing something we disapprove of.
9. Be a Good Role Model
“A lesson is caught more than taught!” The example Bowers used was paying for a movie with your 13-year-old. If the price is lower for ages 12 and under and you tell your kids to say, “I am only 12” to save some cash, you are basically teaching your kid to cheat.
10. Enjoy Your Children
Every stage has its ups and downs. At least I am on target with this concept — we are having a blast!
Some final food for thought:
- If you argue with your kids, you lose! You bring yourself to a peer-to-peer level instead of parent-to-child dynamic.
- Sail on the high “SEAS” of parenting: consistent-sea (consistency) and persistent-sea (persistency)
You might think many of these concepts are common sense, but once you reflect a bit on your parenting style, there is plenty here to digest and improve upon. Now, I need to sign off and figure out how to parent closer to the “P” line so I don’t get so emotional and bent out of shape.