What is the Goal of Parenting?

What is the outcome we hope to achieve as we raise our children? Some may answer that they want their children “to grow up and live a happy and fulfilling life”. What does that mean exactly and how does that happen? We may say we want them to have a job they enjoy and support themselves and develop relationships with others, maybe get married and have a family. I know that these are not the only goals we have for our children but it is a start, let’s break these goals down even more.

The first goal is to have a job that they enjoy. How does this happen? Well they won’t get their dream job from the start, they have to work up to it. In order for our children to be able to do this they have to know how to persevere though some hard challenges, maybe schooling or some less desirable jobs and work up to the dream job.

So as a parent we have to teach them how to work through things that are tough to get to their goal. This means letting them struggle and possibly fail. Allowing them to experience a struggle teaches them coping skills. Don’t do everything for them, don’t make the road too easy and don’t bail them out when hardship comes and or give them everything they need so they are unmotivated to work. As a parent this may be hard, living through their challenges with them and teaching them as they go is one way that they will learn to persevere.

The second goal would be for our children to learn to have healthy relationships. In terms of a job our child needs to learn to take instruction and respect authority. Taking instruction without feeling like a failure or getting defensive can be learned. When we instruct or correct our children it is an opportunity to help them cope with frustration and imperfection. We also need to teach our children to respect authority and listen well. One way to teach this is by requiring them to respect you as the authority and to listen.

Inter-personal relationships are also important. Your son or daughter will not attract healthy friends or a spouse unless they know how to treat others. How to show others respect and care. How to be compassionate and communicate with understanding. One way you can teach this is through role modeling. How do you as a parent treat others? Are you respectful and compassionate? Do you treat your child in that way? Do they know what it feels like to be heard, validated and shown respect? Being a clear, caring communicator is a skill that will help them develop positive relationships.

Parenting is too important of a job to “just wing it”, in order to achieve your goal of raising children “to grow up and live a happy and fulfilling life” it will take thought and effort.

Written by Lisa Strong


Parenting Exaggerated

Lisa Smith is the expert guest on Answers for the Family.  She discusses the growing challenge of overprotective parents, the disservice it is to teens and children and how to take a more balanced approach within the family.

Mama-bear Parenting

Screenshot 2015-11-17 09.52.02

Are You a Mama-Bear?

Have you heard the expression “Momma-bear”? Well according to the Urban dictionary It means “ a wonderful mother who is protective, but in a good way. She acts like a mother bear in all senses of the word; caring, protective, helpful, loving, powerful, strong, a refuge of sorts.’

 This sounds like a great Momma and many of those qualities are wonderful but while being protective may work well for a bear, being overprotective is not always helpful for us humans.

 It is our desire to be protective but I see parents rescuing their child from things the child should learn to work through. Why do we always want to rescue our children from hard work? We see them making a bad choice and we want to step in and show them an easier way or help them take a short cut, or simply solve the problem for them. Are we really helping them?

 It is hard for many of us as parents to step aside and watch our children struggle. It starts when they are very young. We watch our one year old crawl under the coffee table and then try to stand up and he bumps his head. We immediately want to get under there and help him out. We could watch and allow him to struggle and figure it out. He is learning where his body is in relation to space and the table. When we whisk him out of there he has no idea how that happened. He may later find himself in the same situation, bump his head, cry and wait for you to magically get him out. You didn’t allow him to figure it out himself. 

 This rescuing behavior goes on as they get older, we don’t allow our children to feel the natural consequences of their own behavior. The problems are different but the learning still needs to happen. These hard times teach a child to develop perseverance, resilience and courage. 

 Parents may think that when a child fails, looses or is turned down that this will hurt their self esteem. But children will soon learn that life is not always fair and they are going to be faced with challenges and the child who is successful at pushing through these adverse situations will develop a true positive self esteem.

How can we help our children when they are faced with a challenge? We can acknowledge that it is hard, empathy goes a long way, but we can follow this by being an encourager and maintaining a positive outlook. This will help them keep moving forward even though it may be difficult. It is very easy to get caught up in the self pity, unfairness of life, or ‘why me?’. As parents we can guide our children out of that unhealthy mind set, teaching them to let go of self-defeating and unproductive thoughts and get down to the business of dealing with what’s before them. Parents who use strategies like these can change a child’s outlook and help their child develop determination, persistence and problem-solving skills.

 I feel this quote is appropriate, “Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.” -William Feather

We can teach our children to hang on, to not give up and to learn from their mistakes. This will also develop in them strong character. So don’t rescue your children from adversity but support them as they walk through it.

 Written by Lisa Strong


Grandma Was On to Something

Grandma Was On To Something

Building character, you don’t hear many people talk about this these days, it sounds like something my grandmother would have said. As a parent, building character in your child is one of your primary challenges and responsibilities. What exactly does that mean? What is character?

 Oxford dictionary defines character as; The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual 

 We may think of character qualities like; honesty, integrity, kindness, humility, compassion, respect, teamwork and perseverance. This is just a few and the ones that are important to you may be different and they will reflect your values and your own character. So how do we teach these character traits to our children. 

 Your parents may have told you a story of how they took something from the convenience store and grandma found out and made them return it to the store owner and apologize. This is one way to show your child the importance of honesty.

 I would say that the most important teaching tool is through example. Children are watching you and learning from how you act. Are you complaining or having a positive attitude? Do you cut corners or do a thorough job? Do they see you keeping your word or making excuses? Do you push through hard times or give up? When they see you behave in a way that is consistent with how you are telling them to behave then they are more likely to listen. 

 Another way of encouraging character building is by praising them when you see them act in ways consistent with what you are teaching. We often praise for a particular outcome but the outcome is not always the important thing. How did the child get to that outcome? When your children act in ways that exemplify one of these character traits then praise them for it and be specific.  If you see them telling the truth even though they may get punished, praise them. If they worked really hard  their team didn’t win, still praise them. If you see them being kind or fair or positive in a challenging moment, show them that you see that and that you are proud. This will put the focus on the behavior and not the outcome.

 Children will also start looking for character qualities in others. Use “teachable moments”. As you watch TV or movies you can use the opportunity to discuss these qualities or lack of them in the characters on the screen. Children’s questions and comments about what they are seeing offer parents important insights into their child’s thoughts, beliefs and concerns. Also when you are out and you are interacting with others there are many situations that can be used to teach these valuable lessons about responsibility, empathy, kindness and compassion.

 Don’t ignore this very important aspect of parenting. It takes work but the person your child becomes will more likely be happier in themselves and someone the rest of us can admire and enjoy.

Written by Lisa Strong