Parenting 101: A Mother and Teacher of 30 Years Shares Her Best Parenting Lessons to Raise Happy, Healthy, Responsible, and Successful Children From A to Z

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The subject of child rearing reaches across all boundaries – regional, socio-economic, educational, religious, and so on. The need for parenting skills and access to helpful resources is universal. Everyone who reproduces needs to get this one thing right.

Although social scientists may debate the theories regarding “Nature vs. Nurture,” no one would ever discount the belief that how a child turns out in the end is greatly influenced by how that child was raised. If one has chosen to bring another human being into the world, then he must agree to abide by the social contract that he will fulfill his duty to that child. Too many parents neglect this sacred trust.

We can share anecdotes all day long about the exceptions, to be sure. We all know adults who came from stable homes with attentive parents who provided well in every way, yet they have been unable to transition into adulthood to perform as functioning citizens. We can also point to people who grew up in the most dismal of circumstances as children of people who should never have reproduced, yet they have become well-adjusted and even happy members of society. Despite the exceptions, though, one thing is certain; everyone carries something of his upbringing into adulthood, whether it be happy memories or some emotional baggage which he may or may not try to keep cleverly hidden.

The burden of parenting is so much more than successfully fulfilling the tasks of keeping our offspring clothed, fed, and sheltered. Most parents go well beyond securing the basic life needs of their children, anyway, yet it still may not be sufficient. Children come to us as helpless and totally dependent beings. Loving parents will want to do more than simply get this infant to adulthood alive and in one piece! A reasonable adult would like to see his children grow to be mature and responsible, self-supporting, successful, contributing citizens who will add value to the world.

That goal does not happen by accident. Nor is it likely to be achieved by providing only the basic essentials of life support.

Child rearing requires attentive supervision and purposeful intervention.  It is a 24/7 venture for a number of years, often somewhat past the legally requisite 18.  Raising kids is hard work! Moreover, although parents – even successful ones – will make a lot of mistakes along the way, the process as a whole should not be a practice in trial and error. A parent gets one shot to get this right. There are no do-overs in parenting. Children are irreparably damaged by irresponsible approaches to child rearing. The cost is too high, not only to the child, but to society as a whole, when parents don’t get it right.

All in all, parenting is a job to be taken seriously. It is rewarding yet often difficult. The task is further complicated by the fact that no two children are exactly alike, even within the same family. Often, a single parenting approach or method will not suffice, as adjustments must be made to best serve individual children. The “one-size-fits-all” ideology rarely works when dealing with kids. Parents must add a measure of flexibility to their methodologies. Most can benefit from resources and should seek them out. There is no shame in seeking help. A bit of humility goes a long ways.

Let all be done in the best interest of the child. He did not ask to be here. That is on the parent.

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