PARENTING

Falcons who have mated stay with their young until they are ready to hunt on their own. Then, instead of spending their savings on college and spring break trips, as humans are apt to do, they simply push the young out of the nest and make new chicks. 

Anyone who thinks raising children is a natural, easy task must not have had children of their own. The process of preparing children for life is a complicated mix of coaching, demanding, directing, disciplining, dreaming, educating, encouraging, entrusting, informing, loving, mediating, negotiating, nurturing, philosophizing, training and trusting. It is a unique challenge and not one to be shouldered lightly. 

Many of the conflicts that need to be resolved daily if not hourly in a parent-child relationship are usually easily resolved unless emotion intervenes. Children are supposed to constantly challenge their parents to test and expand their entitlements as they grow up. Parents are supposed to set parameters of performance, lead by example and keep their cool. The latter is the hardest at times.

Parents, like negotiators, react when challenged in many ways. Here are three possible options: 

-Parents can impair the child’s growing up by always saying, “No!” thereby limiting the child[s assuming additional responsibility and independence. 

-Parents can concede too soon and spend the night worrying if it was the right decision; often with good reason. 

-Parents can slowly expand the scope of responsibility and independence as it is earned allowing both the parent and child to grow into their new roles.

One thing is for sure. Parents cannot expect a child to make the right decision consistently. Learning means making a few mistakes along the way. Let your children learn and grow. That is the best way to become well-adjusted adults.

Parenting teenagers can be especially challenging. It is a struggle through which the teenager learns what is good and bad behavior and the parent coaches or reprimands. Neither parent nor child come with a user’s manual so each must be prepared to handle the conflict and forgive a few mistakes along the way. 

In Seven Secrets to WINNING Without Losing a Friend, I discuss the importance of parenting and handling conflict in that special relationship.

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