Power of the Parent
If you are a parent or thinking of becoming one, I applaud you; however, don’t bask in the applause too quickly because it’s easy to be a lousy parent and not know it. I know this to be true because I was one (once a parent; always a parent, lousy or not).
First of all, let me say I am not proud of being a lousy parent. I’ve made the stupidest decisions you can imagine in my lifetime; nevertheless, I’m a “good person,” it’s just that I failed miserably in living up to the status of “good parent.”
I would love to have been more like my dad: he was incredibly gifted with his hands, more importantly, he had a ton of “common sense,” he called it “mother wit.” He never finished the sixth grade, nevertheless, as an adult, he owned several cars, he was a home owner, plus a successful business owner. I mention that simply to interject the fact that he is the reason I attended college and majored in Engineering. I said that to say: engineers don’t necessarily think like “normal” people, they tend to think more “out of the box” than the rest of us.
For example, two engineers were walking across a university campus when one asked the other, “Where did you get such a great bike?” The other one replied, “I was headed back to campus yesterday, walking along the highway, minding my own business, when this beautiful woman rode up on this bike, threw it to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, ‘Take anything you want!'” The first engineer nodded approvingly and said, “Great choice, the clothes probably wouldn’t have fit you anyway.”
“Normal” people would have thought… never mind!
Anyhow, to continue: Several reviewers who read the opening of this effort asked two questions; first, “If you are not proud of what you did or failed to do as a parent, why advertise it?” That’s an excellent question, the answer is forthcoming; however, before I answer, let’s be perfectly clear about what constitutes being a lousy parent. On second thought, let’s put it this way: there are two kinds of lousy parents: those who know they are lousy and those who do not. This effort is slanted toward both, but more toward the one like me who didn’t know it.
Every time I see or hear of a youngster who has followed in his parents footsteps, I acknowledge the fact that there stands the result of being a good parent. At the same time I acknowledge the fact that I was a lousy parent – that burns me up. I’ve made tons of poor decisions in my day, but of all those that I look back upon with regret, being a lousy parent tops the list.
I have long ago qualified for Medicare; therefore, I don’t have a great deal of time left to make up for my lousiness. It is hoped that this website will help others not step into the pool of regret that I embody.
One more thing: a good parent contributes incredible value to society, his family, and himself. If this site accomplishes half of what I intend, it might, to some degree, make up for my parental lousiness, and pay homage to that which good parenting embodies. I hope that answers your question, “Why advertise being a lousy parent?” Incidentally, I didn’t advertise it!
Not so incidentallyy, a lousy parent is not necessarily evil or lazy, he or she is simply one who produces a child but doesn’t continually provide the youngster with direction necessary to help in his pursuit of happiness. The result could produce an individual who suffers from mental and/or physical problems well into adulthood, and maybe even for a lifetime.
On the other hand, a good parent is one whom his/her offspring wants to emulate. The parent can be a saint or sinner, it really doesn’t matter. If the child wants to be like his parent(s), then as long as that remains true, the parent has done his job. That’s what parenting is all about. But, you say, if that’s true, what if a child wants to pursue happiness in an altogether different direction than his parent(s)?
Good question, my friend, (thought you had me didn’t you? Well, didn’t ya?). It so happens that that’s not a contradiction because the good parent continues to guide and direct his child toward accomplishing the culmination of his (the child’s) desires. Incidentally, a parent doesn’t have to be good, he doesn’t have to be correct in his premises, decisions, or choices; all he needs to do is provide direction for his child. Then when the child becomes an adult he will feel good about himself and those around him, which will aid in providing clarity of thought resulting in action-oriented decisions. One more thing: if a parent has many children, it only takes one to satisfy the label “good parent.” On the other hand, he can also be a lousy parent to the others (weird, isn’t it?).
I mentioned two questions that surfaced among reviewers of this effort, so allow me to address the other one. “If you were such a lousy parent, why should anybody who wants to be a good parent, listen to you?”
That is also a legitimate question, and it demands an answer. The answer is this: I have been a parent since 1971; in looking back, I can see that I started out incredibly parental; however, in the final analysis I ended as a lousy parent. The strange thing is, in the not too distant past, had you asked me if I had been a good parent I would have answered “yes.” There is no doubt that there are tons of others that fit that mold. On the other hand, once realization hit, it caused me to look deeply into the reasons for that failure. I immediately began to put together a plan to discover what “good parents” do, and what others can do to practically guarantee good/successful parenting.
I knew that the most effective plans are those that are simple, not too extensive or intensive, and easy to follow. I also knew that to develop such a plan, I had to start with me. I simply had to delve into the strength of my limited parenting success and expose the winning ways: at the same time, tear apart the weakness of my parenting failure. The next step was to observe and study other parents and their children in an effort to nail down the essentials of good/successful parenting: I did that with numerous parents and children. Upon completion of that study, and after reviewing the results, I merged them with what experts agree are sound principles.
I found that in the overwhelming majority, those who possess the title of “good parent” have one overriding detail in common. They provide guidance, support, and discipline to their children within a recipe of morality, and they do it throughout all the parent/child stages on the road to independence.
I want desperately to help other individuals avoid the agony I have endured: toward that end I endeavored to develop a good-parent plan (GPP). Through observation, association, and interviews I discovered the secret, recorded it, synthesized it, and herewith submit it to you. Hopefully, that answers the second question, “Why should anybody listen to (me)?”
The dictionary defines “lousy” with words like mean, nasty, contemptible, painful, unpleasant, etc.: I was none of those, but those are the words that come to mind when I view my overall performance as a parent. I am in the twilight of my years; as I look back, I see a dismal parent who failed to provide the parenting essentials necessary to aid his offspring in becoming productive and caring adults, one who identifies him/herself as a unique and worthy parent.
On the other hand, I am proud of the fact that even though I was a lousy parent, I provided the essentials of character, integrity, and caring that is part and parcel of a good individual.
Let me be clear: A good parent is one who does two things successfully. The first thing is that he causes his offspring to feel good about himself and those with whom he associates. The complimentary component is that he promotes an awareness indicative of becoming a worthy and productive citizen; a person who adds value to himself and his community. Incidentally, the value could be in the form of an athlete, a professor, a truck driver, a politician, a garbage man; again, it doesn’t matter. Keep in mind now: being a good citizen and being a good parent may be entirely two different things.
Sometimes a person looks at his past and savors the good times: he says to himself, “Well done.” That produces good feelings. On the other hand, sometimes a person looks at his past and knows that he failed to live up to the expectations of his station in life. The station of a parent is a challenging one to behold: we should thank and celebrate the good ones – by the way, invite me to the celebration; I promise I won’t tell anybody you invited me.
The content of this site is a guide for establishing an effective and joyous parent/child relationship. Many parents who have read it say they wish they had possessed this as a guide when they started, and had the good fortune to digest it. Readers have advanced the idea that the marvelous thing about this website is that whether the parent/child is male or female, single or married, heterosexual or not, it is equally effective. Also, ethnic, religious, or national origin differences don’t matter.
That being said, it is important to note that most individuals believe the optimal relationship is for the care-givers to be of a male and female partnership. The reason is that a male cannot teach a female how to be a woman; in the same context, a woman cannot teach a male how to be a man. In each instance caregivers can teach a young one how to act like a male/female, but not how to be an adult male/female. The reason this is important is that the influence of the opposite gender and how one interrelates with the other, is of prime importance in the development of a healthy and well balanced individual. A controversy has risen because of the emergence of same-sex marriages; however, that debate doesn’t refute the above.
On the other hand, the jury is still out regarding the health and welfare of a child of abusive parents, single parents, and same-sex parents on the one hand, and love and discipline on the other. In addition, when it comes to the parents, one need not utter marriage vows in order to possess a durable relationship; however, it might be important to the family that the parents are committed in such a way that marriage is a legal bind that says they will be there for the child forever.
The above is merely a preamble to the work of this site, no need to be alarmed that my comments may be counter to traditional belief; it’s just that regardless of where an individual stands, the essentials of parenting outlined within this site, as many thousands have acknowledged, are “right-on.” As one can imagine, being a parent is a complex issue, and demands direct and caring effort. On the other hand, it can be easy and fun. All you need are two attributes: clean, complete honesty, and the desire to share yourself with your Little One.
Now here is the part that is so very difficult and disheartening. Because our society is so confused when it comes to careful and protective treatment on the one hand, and doing what is needed to educate and communicate with our little ones on the other; individuals with dirty/evil minds are going to be over-protective to the point of nausea. Those individuals will claim child abuse, child pornography, child neglect, etc. The problem is, some well-meaning individuals who‘s minds are not dirty/evil (social worker, neighbor, innocent observer) are prone to place themselves in the position of self-appointed “protector” — they say, “Call the authorities, something should be done about this!”
Well, damn, damn, and double damn, our disjointed society and local authorities have placed us in the position where a parent is afraid to properly perform his parental obligations, without being looked upon as a pervert; on the other hand in an extremely tiny percentage of cases, it’s true, the individual is a pervert. I guess the question is, should all parents suffer and have their hands tied as a result of such a small minority? So, what are we to do? Remember earlier, we talked about the “Silent Spoiler” (FEAR)? Read it again, identify what it is, then repeat the key — “Here is the key that will disable the frightening effects of fear:” This is what you, the parent, must impart to your Little One: “When a person does that which is moral and couples it with producing the best that is within him, there is absolutely nothing to fear, ever.” The same applies to you, the parent!
Remember when we talked about vigilance and being over-protective? Remember that? We all hope there is never a need to use corporal punishment on our little “Bundle of Joy.” If we do it right, maintain control, and use the techniques/methods as outlined on this site, corporal punishment will seldom, if ever be necessary. Incidentally, spanking should be considered “corporal persuasion,” in addition, we should never “beat” a child, or strike him when/if we are angry. I know it’s easier said than done, but that’s when the parent’s self discipline comes into play.
Nevertheless, we are being vigilant when we do not allow a parent to beat his Little One to a pulp; on the other hand, we are being over-protective when we attempt to stop a parent from spanking him.
What we must do is place parents on a higher authority-level than the local or national authorities. When we find a parent or group of parents, who have violated the parenting code (beyond a shadow of doubt), the offender should be treated more harshly than violations of other offenses. On the other hand, parents should have much greater latitude in disciplining their offspring than is now allowed. It is believed that this site will provide a wealth of ammunition to make corporal punishment unnecessary. On the other hand, corporal persuasion (when appropriate) should be encouraged.
How many times have you heard the statement, “Being a parent is no cup of tea: it’s tough.” Wouldn’t it be great if an operating manual came with every child”? Yes, I guess it would, but it sure wouldn’t be as much fun, and we sure wouldn’t derive as much internal satisfaction. What makes it so tough is that every child is different, even if he or she is a twin or any multiple; he is different in temperament, mentality, disposition, and alertness from every other child. In addition, all parents also differ in those same essentials, plus they respond differently to differences among their offspring. Largely, children develop in various ways based on the parent’s input (even more than the economic or cultural environment surrounding them).
Regardless of input, parents have a humongous role in guiding their children and molding our society: whether they want it or not, they are role models for their children. Being a role model is always an ultra important responsibility; however, the rewards of successful parenting are unmatched by any other endeavor.
Good parents are builders of strong, productive individuals, and strong, productive individuals build strong societies. If being a “good/successful parent” is your goal, you have come to the right place. One of the pluses of this site is that it can be read in just a few hours; however, the primary plus is two-fold: first, the fundamental problems that every parent faces is properly identified and consumed; second, parents will find a wealth of easy and common-sense ways to help infants, toddlers, and preschoolers develop a love of life, a love of learning, and a moral foundation that lasts a lifetime. An exciting addition is that handled properly, the issues outlined within this site can be extended to be effective through the pre-teen years and into adulthood.
The title of this work was established to support the idea that an individual need not be a bad or abusive person to be a lousy parent. In fact, a person can be a good, law-abiding individual and still be a lousy parent – I am living proof of that statement. Beyond the title is the ever-present objective: identify the essentials of good parenting and take action to make a change in the lives of all of us. Remember, change starts with “me.”
I am one of many parents who possess an outlook that says children are our most valuable asset; however, we don’t own them, we are simply caretakers. On the other hand, parents need to be more than caretakers; we need to be construction workers. Our mission should be to mold a child’s inner foundation to the degree that he will possess the necessary tools that will motivate him to be the best he can be. Many reviewers say in this work, “Bridge to Success,” we have accomplished that mission extremely well.
My goal in providing this website is to aid every individual in the art of being a “good parent.” That is the key: we can look to government, groups, friends and neighbors, but when the smoke has cleared, it’s a matter of one-on-one – you and your little “Bundle of Joy.”
We have been told that selfishness, feelings, and needs are automatic, that’s true; however, not so with Love and Discipline. Think about it: the newborn observes the world and people around him with awe and admiration. The simple reason is that, in his mind, the rest of us can do things that in his wildest dreams he would love to do, but can’t.
Findings indicate that parental love from a newborn is practically automatic and fairly easy to maintain. On the other hand, discipline is easy only if the disciplinarian mixes it with healthy doses of love, and even then, discipline can be a difficult matter to perform. Love can easily be nurtured, effective Discipline must be practiced. This work was approached from the standpoint that a proper beginning makes it much easier to embrace both Love and Discipline at a high level of intensity.
Whatever the case, we welcome you to the world of parenting. It may be different from many others you will find, probably because it is counter to the established norm of such works. Parenting is a particularly selfish endeavor, yet it is extremely rewarding. You have probably heard the phrase “make love.” That is a misnomer, a person can’t “make love.” However, we can supplement and integrate the makings of Love into our daily activity and cause a response the same as a lover: that is what we do here.
Many reviewers believe you will find this site to be the treasure that you, the parent, have been seeking; however, as they used to say in my day, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” In other words, read it: if you find it absorbing, great: if not, put it down and find another. Either way, write me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let me know your thoughts.
Before I end this little insert, let me say that it is with great appreciation that I acknowledge World Book, Inc. for their high quality, yet most readable educational material. They produce extraordinarily supportive products to aid in the growth and development of our youth. In fact, part two of this offering was inspired by the content of their little booklet titled, “The First Five Years: Little Beginnings (Starting your child on a lifetime of learning).” Unfortunately, the little booklet is no longer in print; however, I thank them for permission to use it as a guidebook for part two of this work.
Now that I’ve had my brief say about the “Power of the Parent,” feel free to browse to any portion of the site, especially the Archives. This completes Part one of this site: the parent’s mindset. As I stated before, there is no doubt about it, everything, (without exception), begins with thought; however, nothing happens until we do something (take action). part two of this site relates to action with your Little One. Remember the three most important points: discipline (seek to promote self-discipline), blanket discipline with LOVE, and “make it happen and make it FUN”).
Oh, two more thing I didn’t touch on: first, our intent, to make this site interactive, is to provide daily archives (Monday through Sunday): second, part of the site is our “Blog edition,” That’s where you will find articles or simply concerns that I talk about that are happening around us. Tune in to both, I think you’ll find each enlightening.
With the above in mind, let’s advance to Part Two, “Bridging action: birth to one year.” I am so very pleased that you’ve advanced to this point. Thank you for your desire to be a good/successful parent.