Help for Parents and Step-Parents © Martyn Carruthers
Are you entangled in relationship problems or negative emotions?
Do you want to untangle your life and reclaim your freedom?
Are You a Good Parent?
Parenting is not easy – parents often lacked mature role models and
many parents lie to their children to control their behavior.
For me, looking into a baby’s eyes can be like looking into infinity. Holding a baby helps me touch the beauty of the world, the fragility of life and my connection to humanity. For me, each child is a miracle representing the parents’ creativity.
Our eldest boy is a medical doctor, his sister is getting her MBA and our youngest is doing volunteer work in Nepal. We are so proud of them … we’re not sure what we did right.
… We were mostly very happy together and we showed them how to be happy too.
My neighbor has three children from three different fathers. The eldest (25) is in prison,
the next (22) is schizophrenic and the youngest (19) is addicted to crystal meth.
She did her best for her children. What else could she do?
Most children are five or six years old before they notice that many adults treat them
as if they are stupid. Even then, it will be another twelve to fifteen years before
they have civil rights and more years before they have professional opportunities.
I’ll never understand parents … and being a parent doesn’t seem to help.
For me, the primary duty of a parent is to prepare children for adulthood. It is too easy to say, “Love your children” … which can mean anything. Here are common roles of responsible, mature parents … difficulties often arise in how to fulfill those roles:
An important part of parenting is letting children explore the world and preparing children to learn from their successes and mistakes. Parents often need to take a step back. Stepping back can make their relationships stronger. The more that parents cling to their children – the harder their children must push them away.
When parents describe perfect children – they normally mean compliant and obedient.
Do your children have two active parents? Do you and a partner provide a peaceful, protected home in which your children can develop? Do you and your partner discuss and solve problems quickly and peacefully? If not – do you want couple counseling?
Often you can’t give back to your parents,
so you give forward to your children.
If you are a single parent, you may try to compensate for your missing partner. You may try to be father and mother to your children. You will fail and the consequences may not be pleasant. Confusing role models can distort the sexual orientation of children.
Are humans the only creatures on this planet
who let their adult children come back to the nest?
We can help you know what you did well … and what you may have missed … and find ways to fill any gaps. We can explore what’s best for you.
Do you live in Healthy Community?
Your parenting may be complicated by a permissive yet aggressive world. Economic, political and social forces await your children at school, in sports, entertainment and at home. Marketing lies, disappointments, competition and cult-like organizations can distract and damage your children’s efforts to cope with an already complex world.
We were trying to be perfect parents – and we were exhausted from looking after our business and our own parents, as well as helping our children with school problems … you helped us sort it all out. We are becoming a real family. London, Ontario
Your children must make decisions using limited judgment, self-control and problem solving skills. Your child’s failures can indicate where your coaching was needed. Or can you become proactive? Can you anticipate their problems and coach them first?
- develop your children’s social and emotional skills
- help your children manage emotions, chores and homework
- help your children choose appropriate skills for different circumstances
- observe your child’s emotional and social skills and provide practice time
- monitor where your children were successful, and where they had difficulty
- help your children work out why things go wrong, instead of punishing them
- show that you support your children – help them explore why difficulties arose
Your children may pay more attention to you if they feel that you are all in the family together. You support safe conversations when you discuss your own errors, with helpful feedback. When your children see you participating – and using coaching skills, they are more likely to follow your lead.
Maybe talk about adoption early and often – make it a normal topic for both you and your child. Step-parents can gradually introduce the theme and keep pace with an adopted child’s developing emotions. Step-parenting is challenging. Discuss adoption throughout your child’s life. Give adopted children plenty of time to process it.
Our adopted son struggled with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This wrecked his attempts to plan and manage himself as well as his schoolwork. But since our couple counseling he has started improving. (See Prevent Learning Disabilities)
Important relationship skills for young children include taking turns, sharing, greetings, goodbyes, helping, following directions, thanks, apologies and compliments. Children need caring coaching and mentorship.