Weekly Thought Archives > Five Points on Parenting

Five Points on Parenting

Admittedly I have been a much better parent of adults than I was of small children.  I am thankful for our own children and now grandchildren who are teaching me what parenting is about.  These points are definitely not a primer on the subject, but rather some observations that have been made by others and one principle that has worked for me.  I hope that you find them helpful.


1)      A young father with a strong-willed five year old son told me that “My challenge is to transfer the control by me to my son’s control of himself.”  This is so much better and so much more than merely controlling the child’s behavior.  He is parenting in the highest sense.

2)     When a parent with a gifted child who seemed to purposefully fail consulted an experienced psychiatrist he received this counsel:  “It is important to know whether the child gets attention (is connected to you) through achievement or non-achievement.  Does the child want your sympathy for failure or approval for achievement?”  If the bond is the negative model then praise for achievement will fail and conversely if the bond is through achievement constant criticism will fail.

3)     One of my favorite psychiatrists told me that anyone who looks to me as a father figure must know two things:  what makes papa smile and what makes papa frown.  This works in parenting, in mentoring and in management.  The responsibility of the father figure is to remain consistent or the other person will become very confused by receiving mixed signals.

4)     A well-known comedian was interviewed about his views on parenting.  He quickly threw out this line:  “Choose when you want your kids to hate you.”  He expanded by saying, “Give them everything they want as a child and they will hate you as adults; give them everything they need to become great adults and they will hate you as children…your choice.”

5)     One of the better thoughts that I have had on parenting revolves around the transition between child and adult.  When the child is young the parent is responsible for control and exercises power, but as the child moves into adulthood the relationship changes.  Therefore, the good parent changes from power figure to wisdom figure.  Furthermore, the movement reverses and is now child to parent when seeking wisdom rather than parent to child in exercising power.  I think of it as moving from a line to staff function. 


Which principle hit home for you this week?  Pick one and focus on identifying three ways that you could become more effective as a parent.