Three W's For Parents

Written by Dan Seaborn on . Posted in Local

dan seabornIf there's one thing I've learned in thirty years of parenting, it's this: there's no pill you can take or give to your kids to make everything work out perfectly. Trust me—I've checked. These things just don't come in a bottle.

In parenting, then, it's important to establish some parameters for ourselves as we deal with our children. Over the years, I've built some guidelines for myself, and three in particular have been so beneficial that I'd like to pass them on.

I call them the Three W's .

W Number One: Remember who you're dealing with. No two kids are alike, so it's no good to deal with two kids in the exact same way. What works for one won't necessarily click with another.

Some kids need a lot of encouragement and coaxing; others are independent and confident the second they enter the world. Some need gentle words, but some respond best to firmness, even sternness. For some kids, a simple look is all they need to understand they've done wrong; others don't get the picture unless they're reprimanded verbally and/or denied privileges.

To a degree, everything in parenting is case-sensitive, so take the time to figure out which approaches work best with your child or children. Then curb your methods to fit—moms and dads need to be flexible and creative in teaching and correcting their kids.

They also need to have a good memory, which brings me to next item.

W Number Two: Remember what you were like back then. Bring to mind the way you responded, reacted, thought, and felt when you were your child's age. Remember how big the little things seemed. Remember how awful it felt to be slighted by a friend and the way it hurt to be left out or dumped. Remember how appreciation and recognition weren't just wants, but felt like needs. Remember how much you longed to be understood.

Empathy should never replace discipline, but your ability to parent well improves when you identify with your child first rather than judging them from the outset. When your son or daughter is having difficulty, ask them for their take on the situation. Why are they struggling? Where do they think the problem stems from? What might fix it? How can you help them? Kids are people too, with real emotions and real troubles and real pain. Most of the time, remembering what and identifying with your child is one of the best things you can do in raising him or her.

And so we're left with the last of the W's, and this one's vital: when you're correcting or teaching a child, make sure there's a reason why. Stop and ask yourself, "Is this something my child needs and will benefit from?"

It's important for parents to establish for their children which things matter in life. Moms and dads are responsible to set up a value system in the home and clarify household expectations.
Our decisions are critical; we're the ones in the driver's seat. So in training and disciplining children, parents should be careful to have consistency, especially in the things that really matter. We should be careful to ask why.

We teach our children to tell the truth—because lies damage relationships. We teach them to be respectful—because people deserve to be treated with dignity. We teach that stealing is unacceptable—because everybody has the right to own their own property. When things are significant enough to stand for (which these are), parents must strive to model them for their children. If it's an important behavior, the kids shouldn't be the only ones expected to do it.

If you want to win at home, remember who, remember what, and ask why. Try the three W's for yourself; you and your kids will be thankful you did.
Author Information
Dan Seaborn
Dan Seaborn is the founder of Winning At Home, Inc., an organization designed to assist and encourage people of all ages and stages of family development. As a featured speaker at churches and large-scale events such as marriage conferences, corporate functions, and university assemblies, Dan Seaborn has earned recognition as a powerful and passionate communicator. Through practical illustrations and memorable real-life examples, he encourages individuals and families to lead Christ-centered homes.

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