Call to ALL parents! Your child will not ” FIND” themselves! Be a parent, not a buddy….Lets all do our jobs!

Well, if you are a parent, you really need to check out this article I have posted a link to below. It is a solid formula for having success with your teen or child of any age. Parents today are lazy. They model behavior that is terrible for their kids to learn. They will take care of their children when they are very little, but when the hard times come in the teen years, many parents bail out and convince themselves that their child will somehow, magically ” find their way” in this world. There is no ” find your way” FAIRY! Myth uncovered.

Wow. I have so much to say on this, so I think it is only right for me to share my credentials first, so you know who you are reading. I think you need to know about why am qualified to speak as an expert on this topic. There are 3 reasons to listen to me here, number 3 being the key*. Please, if you have children, read this post, read the linked article, and evaluate your parenting style, as it can mean life or death, success or failure to your child. This is straight shooting information, no sugar coating. Fasten your seatbelts and enjoy the ride. None of this information came easy, but by living it. Of course I have the piece of paper proving I am formally educated on these things, but it is only a tiny part of how I learned these keys to being a successful parent. 95% of this information came from being a parent to 5. Some from being a foster parent to 25 teens, and maybe a portion from working with families with great troubles, as a professional for the last 25 years. At any rate, I am posting what I KNOW to be true. Not what is theory but what is reality.  Here are the 3 reasons to continue reading;

1- I have failed as a parent sometimes.

2- I am an imperfect person, trying to make my way, like everyone else.

3- I have found success through my many failures*

It was 1992 or so, I was on an airplane to Omaha, Nebraska. Excited and confident, feeling good about my new job, which actually became a foundation for my career. So Father Flanagan’s Boys & Girls Town is where I am headed for a 30 day training on how to work and teach hardened, runaway, delinquent, and at risk teens in a live- in setting at a group home. Armed with much life experience, I am a bit cocky and nervous at the same time about this thing. First off, I do not need training. How hard can it be to work with teens who I was just like? This is a waste of time, let me at the kids already! I had no idea what was coming.

5 years later, as I packed up my things to move out of the group home, I recalled the training, the 5 years of living with and working with hundreds of kids. Wow. Sure glad I went to that training. I would have been hopeless without it. Sometimes we just have to stop bucking, and learn some stuff! So here is some ” stuff”….

1-You will never change a child’s negative behavior pattern by using negative reinforcement as a method. Catch your kid being good, not bad, and reinforce what you want, instead of beating them down for every mistake. Every human responds better to  positive reinforcement, than to criticism. There is a way to re-direct without slamming the child’s self-esteem.

2-You model for children what behaviors you desire from them, and keep it real when you mess up. Tell them about your error and that you got off track in your words, actions, or behavior. Reset yourself, and continue to model what you should.

3- Do not fall for the lazy parent trap. You are responsible for what your children do and say to an extent, so do not bail on them at 16 and say ” they are going to do what they want anyways”. That is just a lazy way of getting out of parenting during the tough times. Of course you will allow more freedom as it is appropriate. The key here is freedom within limits, your limits. Give the teen the options to choose from, but you determine the choices. Both sides have some control here.

4- Whatever you do, do not fall for the old ” I am going to let my child decide who are what they want to become” poison. You are going to have a say in what your child does or does not do, whether you like it or not. With that in mind, why not steer them in a direction that will be the most likely for them to succeed in? Thats not sheltering, that is parenting my friends.

5- You may not be your child’s pal. Teens want you to set boundaries, they will never tell you this, but they crave the security that comes with some guidelines. It is their job to test the line, and this is where it is critical to show them they are safe, by keeping the rules enforced. Parents who act like their teen’s buddy, are viewed as weak and labeled a ” sucker ” by their own children, earning zero respect.

6- If your faith or belief system is important to you and you believe it has helped you through tough times, share it with them. Please stay away from anyone who says ” I will love them no matter what they choose to believe, no matter what they do, no matter if they decide to be gay or straight, etc….of COURSE you will love them, you are their parent! The issue at hand, is do you want to watch them suffer a miserable life all the while you feel justified because you take the easy way out? Take a role in helping them identify what is healthy and what may cause problems in their life. If you do not want to do this, I question the authenticity of your role as a parent. Sorry about that.

7- The last key I am sharing today is more general in nature, but crucial to the success of your child in life. This is a powerful statement that I have heard somewhere along my journey, worthy of making one of your  “golden keys” .

Loved people love people- Hurt people hurt people!

Seems fairly obvious, right? Take a look at the behavior of your child. How they treat others, how much they respect others, how much anger they have towards others. You are responsible for much of this. If they have been loved, they will show love, of they have been wounded, they will wound others. If they have great empathy for others and respect others, congratulations! You have taught them well. You can decide much of the way your child views others by how you treat others. That is their primary guide, watching you and hearing you and learning from you.

Okay, I am going to end my post with an important note, before you view the link about parenting, which I highly recommend.

We all fail, and will fail at this. There is no perfect parent. If you have made many mistakes and feel you cannot turn this thing around, I disagree. I have been there and learned that the most effective way to approach your child about your past mistakes in parenting, or in life is to come clean. Be honest, have a sit down talk and explain some of the poor choices you have made, and tell them what consequences you had to face. Use your past mistakes as a teaching tool, or your child will use them as a reason to break the rules.

One more time- Use your past mistakes as a teaching tool, or your child will use them as a reason to break the rules.

Now, please read this excellent article on how to implement effective tools as parents, and what role we should take when parenting different age groups. Enjoy, and by all means, share it . It can change your life in a very short period of time…..



Author: (Don't Label My Kid! Coaching & Counseling Team)

Social Worker- Mental Health, Addictions, and Behavioral health- Leadership Educator-, Juvenile Justice. A variety of coaching. I have a great desire to help others make it through times that I myself have had to navigate. I understand the process, the pain,and the support needed. I, and the rest of my team all have both the formal education to coach others but more importantly we also have the life experience which allows us to relate to all the phases and hurdles that come with recovering from issues like depression, addiction, domestic violence, spiritual confusion, and much more. I feel that the combination of formal training and life experience allows us to meet those we help every point of need- in a real way.

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