Monday, August 19, 2019

The Lost Principles of Parenting

Many years ago my family enjoyed watching a TV show called "Super Nanny." During the show a British Nanny would observe an American family and then make recommendations on what changes they needed to make for their family to run more smoothly.

After watching several seasons I came to realize that although her approach varied between families, she was in fact only fixing a handful of problems. From these observations I came up with the Lost Principles of Parenting.

#1- Structure

The first principle is structure. Children thrive in a structured environment. The home is the first government, school, church, and society that they participate in. Give them a good structure when they are young, and it will help them function better when they encounter new situations as they grow older. When a child disobeys it is usually because they are testing where the boundaries actually are. You must decide how strict or loose the structure in your family is, but to go without it is a recipe for disaster!

#2- Consistency

Structure cannot exist without consistency so it is placed next on the list. A rule is only in effect if it is enforced. Whatever rules you decide on for your family, make sure you enforce them consistently so that your children know what to expect. Nothing creates distrust in a child more than a hypocritical adult. Only make rules that you yourself are willing to follow, and be kind in how you choose punishments for stepping out of line. This will make it easier to be consistent, and as your children grow up they will recognize your efforts.

#3- Inclusion 

Children are natural helpers. It is important to culture this desire at an early age. The one currency all children understand is time. When they get excited and want to tell you something, stop and listen! Be involved in what interests them. Find ways to include them in what you are doing. Yes, it is going to take longer and be messier, but they will feel that love that can only be expressed by doing something together.

#4- Discipline

Occasionally children disobey or make unwise decisions. At these times it is your responsibility as the parent to reprimand them. This not only cements the structure of the home, but the lack of discipline at a young age is directly related to a child's disregard for rules as they grow older. Discipline can be done in a large variety of ways, and will probably be different for each child. Learn what works best as a disciplinary measure for each child and use it only when warranted. In many situations discipline may be unnecessary if the child is given an opportunity to burn off some energy before they start acting up.

#5- Accountability

Everyone is accountable for their actions, to deny this, or teach your children otherwise is unwise. Individual responsibility is one of the keys of society, and of personal happiness. Hold your children accountable for their choices when they are young and it will keep them out of trouble when they are older. If your family circumstance allows, let your children hold you accountable for things. This will help them develop the understanding that this principle applies even when you are an adult.

Now that you know these principles, look at your own family and identify what principles you may need to implement better. Make small adjustments until you are applying that principle well in your family. Even if your children are older, you can still begin utilizing these principles to help them get ahead in life and to help your home run more smoothly. There may be some push back at the beginning, but by solidifying the Structure, Consistency, Inclusion, Discipline, and Accountability in your home, I know that your family can be happier.

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