Parenting is one of the most rewarding and yet difficult jobs there is. And it’s common to wonder if we’re “good enough?” Are we being too strict? Why aren’t we more consistent with following through with consequences? These are questions many parents have and you may be asking them yourself. I’ve never yet met a parent who has stated that they are striving to be just average. No, we all want to be our best in raising these “gifts” who are on loan from God. The Bible says in Proverbs 22:6 to “train up your child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” But how do we do that well?
Having worked with many families over the years and seeing first hand what tends to “work” and “not work,” I believe good parenting comes down to two simple principles. Kids need a lot of love and they need a lot of limits.
I came across a great resource a few years ago after attending a parenting seminar put on by Dr. Matthew Johnson. In his book, Positive Parenting With a Plan, he states that a “parent’s primary responsibility is to prepare their child(ren) for the real world which is ordered, structured and requires a healthy respect for authority.” Unfortunately, we tend to see many parents who primarily want to be their children’s friend. They find it difficult to follow through with discipline and appropriate consequences that work in shaping their children’s behavior.
I’ve had the opportunity to see dozens of families implement and benefit from the Positive Parenting approach. It starts with the parents deciding on a clear and simple list of “family rules” that will apply to everyone. Next, they develop a series of “good habit cards” which basically are positive activities or tasks that might take between 15-20 minutes each (e.g. sweep the kitchen floor, walk the dog). Each “rule” is assigned a certain number of cards, so that if a rule is violated, the person must do the pre-arranged number of good habit cards. There are other components to the plan that entail regular household chores and a reward system which really gets the kid’s attention. The reward for the parents is usually a much calmer home with lots less arguing, whining or yelling.
If you would like an outline summary of the Positive Parenting Plan, just email us at . We’d be happy to send it to you. We also carry copies of Dr. Johnson’s book at the Center for $10 or you can order it online.
One final note … if you’ve read this blog to this point, you’re probably a good parent, so pat yourself on the back and go give your kid a hug.