Each new generation of parents has things to deal with that their parents did not. Today’s parents must cope with the prevalence of technology in the lives of their children, easier access to recreational drugs, and the fact that children simply are growing up so much faster.
Some parenting principles, however, have stood the test of time. Children need to know they are loved, and to be treated with respect. They also need firm boundaries, consistency, and consequences for inappropriate behavior.
The combination of a loving connection with firm boundaries is the ideal for producing responsible, responsive young people. Lots of love with no boundaries, or firm boundaries without a loving relationship are far less effective means of creating young people with positive, productive attitudes.
Good communication, which involves as much listening as talking, is the glue which holds it all together. Teens should have the opportunity to negotiate, with the understanding that sometimes they will gain ground, and sometimes they will not.
Giving in to tantrums or persistent pleading is one of the worst things parents can do. It teaches children that if they act out enough, they will eventually get their way. This is a recipe for continually escalating conflict as the child grows older, and parents are less willing to give in. Further, teens who push boundaries with parents will be more likely to do so at school.
Parenting is not easy. It is a profound responsibility, for how we handle our children shapes their personalities. If things are getting out of hand, it may be time to get help. It is rarely too late to do some good.
Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.
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