Parenting is perhaps our most difficult job, and the most important responsibility we may ever have in our lives. Unfortunately, we receive little or no formal training in parenting, unless a crisis emerges. Often, parents either do what our parents did, or attempt the exact opposite, depending on our opinion of the parenting we received. No one provides us with clear guidelines about the right way to parent.
I have never met parents who don’t care, or who aren’t “good” parents. In my practice and my everyday life all of the parents I’ve met are well intentioned and loving, but many have become their own worst enemy.
Every child is their own person. Therefore siblings will, most of the time, react differently to the same parents. Even when parents do all of the right things their kids will still make bad decisions at times, and throw their parents for a loop. When it comes to parenting, it is very important to be able to put things into perspective. One of the most important things to be aware of is, when your kids make poor choices they are not trying to hurt or embarrass you. The fact is they are kids and are acting accordingly.
Although every child is their own person there are certain parenting practices that can help them to choose to be responsible, respectful, and in the long run mature young people. A structured environment and proper boundaries are very important for both the child and the parent. A consistent and structured environment creates a safe and reassuring place for the child and will keep the parent from wanting to pull their hair out on a daily basis. By setting clear and consistent limits, parents will reduce family turmoil and allow you to build emotional intimacy with your child and keep emotional intimacy with your spouse.
I truly enjoy helping children and adolescents grow into responsible and mature adults and working with parents to provide the environment to make it possible.
Erick Godel, MFT