Introduction to becoming a remarkable parent

 in Bradenton - Ancient Ways Martial Arts Academy

Great Parenting Steps  

For years I’ve been approached by people asking for parenting advice. I have frequently offered parenting seminars in the past. My college education and my experience have blessed me with some insight that might be valuable. It has definitely been valuable to Jamie and me as we raised our two into the awesome young adults they are today. The people who typically ask me for advice in this arena are seldom the people who probably should be asking, but I thought I would provide a series of articles that might help young parents who are just developing the path they want to set for their children.

This is the first article and I hope it helps.

First, let me say that parenting is the most important job you will ever have, and the most dangerous if you do it badly. Why? It’s that important because other’s lives are dependent on you doing this right, that child’s life and everyone who that child comes in contact with. Screw this up and you screw them up. What makes it so dangerous? Ever heard of Hitler, Stalin, Chiang Kai-shek, Pol-Pot, or John Wayne Gacy, how about David Koresh or Charles Manson? They all had parents who “thought” they were doing a great job.

Let’s begin by saying, we are talking about children. ALL children are fantastic. ALL children are born completely innocent and for the sole purpose to be loved and molded into happy, confident and capable members of our species and community. Who they become is almost completely dependent on what happens to them as children. No pressure there.

To be a great parent, you need two primary things.

  1. The desire to be a great parent
  2. The tools to be a great parent

I meet and observe people nearly every day who display a sort of resentment to their child. You can tell they either didn’t want the child to begin with, or didn’t anticipate how much of their own life they would have to sacrifice to be a parent. Maybe they are just frustrated that this child isn’t a robot, doing exactly what they say to do, exactly when they say to do it. Sometimes they are just having a weak moment, but it is often a sign of something deeply troubling. They speak roughly and in some cases horribly to their child. You can tell there is a pattern of corporal punishment in their parenting method. The child often flinches or scowls at the parent when spoken to. The child has a hesitation that indicates a lack of confidence that comes from constant criticism and degrading. Some of these reluctant parents may still want to party every week, hit happy hour in the evening and not be burdened by their offspring. Many struggle with addictions and don’t even try to stop smoking, drinking or doing drugs, even though that would be the best example they can set for their child. They are always looking for a babysitter and in many cases, just hand the child over to the grandparents to raise for them.

Then there are some people who you can tell, they want to be great parents, but they lack the tools. You have to acquire a license to do so many things in our world, from drive, get married, fish, hunt, own a boat and even work in certain trades, but to be a parent requires no education and no license. The tools can be acquired by reading or even taking courses online or in person. Some mistakenly think they have the right tools as they just adopt the methods their parents used, which are usually outdated methods and in some cases, illegal and often horrific. Before you get defensive of how you were raised, just listen…

I think we can all admit that we have progressed very far in just a single generation in our knowledge and practice of medicine, engineering, mathematics, electronics, the human brain, child development, psychology, education and how to be a great parent. Would you want a doctor who had learned nothing new since the 1970’s to work on you? Today we know from scientific research and testing, that the heavy handed corporal punishment of the past is not the best way to raise children. We know that angry outbursts and severe punishments degrade the child’s self esteem and create everlasting emotional scars. We know that taking away things a child values as punishment, teaches them to value nothing. It’s no longer a theory, it is a scientific fact. We know children (and adults) will mimic what they see and what they are exposed to. Parents who hit, create kids who hit. Parents who yell and scream create kids who yell and scream. Parents who bully or abuse, will create bullies and abusers. People still want to parent the old way because no one wants to admit they don’t know what they are doing, and no one wants to admit that there might be a better way than what was used on them. The first step in growth, no matter what the area, is to admit there is room for improvement. In this area, judging by the crime reports and mug shots in the paper, there is most certainly room for improvement.

I can hear some of you now, “Well my parents gave me whoopins and I turned out just fine. I learned to be respectful and I am very successful.” Respect and fear are not the same thing and I’ve seen psych therapists learn that lesson the hard way.  A psych patient who fears you may act respectful to your face, but will throttle you the minute you turn your back. A patient who respects you will instead, protect you from others who mean you harm. They will also listen better to your therapeutic advice and progress in their therapy better too. Children are the same way. Those forced through fear to show respect to their parents will often have a distance as they grow up. They are more likely to display rebellious behavior, to move out at the first opportunity and will often not maintain a relationship with their parents when grown. Those who truly respect their parents will grow up to see them as friends and will be there to help them as they become seniors in need of care. You may still cling to the feeling that you turned out great, but do you want your kids to be as good as you, or better? Don’t worry, we aren’t creating “snowflakes.” We are creating empowered, confident and incredibly capable adults, but it starts with being a great parent.

This course is provided for those people who want to raise their children in the best possible way. It requires some work and effort and flexibility as not every child or household is the same. For the most part though, just follow the guidelines in the course and with patience, consistency and compassion, you will raise the best children possible. 

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