Effective Parenting: What Your Parents Couldn't Teach You About Parenting
Effective parenting can be thought of in two different ways. How you view what is "effective"—or what works—says a lot about your relationship with your child. When you think about good parenting skills, are you thinking about what will be effective in the moment or what will be most beneficial in the long run?
Effective parenting means doing what is in the best interest of the child by taking the long view. To give you an example, let's talk about handling a common situation. Many parents have written me saying that their toddler slapped them across the face and wanted to know what to do. My first question is to ask them how they reacted. Surprisingly, a number of parents told me that they slapped their toddler back. When I asked them why, they replied, "Because I wanted her to know how that felt!"
This is an example of ineffective parenting. Slapping your child across the face after she has slapped you may seem effective because it will stop the child from hitting you, but it doesn't teach the child why she shouldn't hit you in the first place and it certainly doesn't teach her compassion for others. Reacting to your child's behavior only makes you look and act like a bigger child.
Effective parenting helps the parent to stop and take the long view. Why did the child hit the parent—was she frustrated or angry? What was the unmet need that drove the action? Was she just testing the limits or reacting to the parent's suppression of her will? Remember that children react, while parents must learn how to respond if they want to raise their children to be mature adults, rather than just children in grownups clothing.
Effective parenting is responsive parenting. Such a parent is able to view the child's behavior within the context of human development. Although children can be sweet and compassionate when they are frustrated or angry, they may lash out. It is this tendency to react that must be handled with care and compassion by the parents so over time, it can be transformed in the ability to respond to the needs of the situation.
There in a nutshell is the crux of effective parenting: responding to what is needed. If a toddler slaps a parent, what is the greater need in the situation—the parent's need to get even or the child's need to learn respect and compassion for others? Although it may seem like an easy decision when framed the way I have presented it, a parent needs to develop the awareness to recognize the greater choice.
In my book, I teach parents how to become more responsive parents. This is a journey of self-discovery that will deepen and sweeten your relationship with your child even as you open up the wellspring of your heart. There is nothing more fulfilling than raising a child to be a humane adult who will go out into the world and share her strengths with others, while being psychologically savvy enough to know which people to invite into her life and which are better to avoid.
My book combines ancient Native American secrets with cutting-edge psychology to teach parents how to develop effective parenting skills, take the long view, be more compassionate and responsive and understand child development. Although you probably understand why I use present-day psychology, you may not immediately grasp the use of Native American concepts. The reason becomes clear once you've read the first chapter of the book—native concepts are based on the concept of stewardship and the idea that parenting isn't about making a child into this or that, but drawing out the natural strengths the Creator placed in her heart.
If you want to continue using blame, shame and reactive parenting in raising your child, then this book is not for you. Of course, you will continue to have the same problems. If you truly strive to learn effective parenting skills and to become human being in the process, buy my parenting book and learn what your parents didn't know how to teach you.
Open your heart and mind. Learn more about yourself and walk the path of effective parenting. Buy Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting. It is an award-winning book that will not only deepen and sweeten your relationship with your child, it will help you change your life.
Return from Effective Parenting to Parenting Advice