Parenting is much like a number of other skills, and as such, is affected by analysis, data collection, and practice. Like other skills, some people are better at it than others; they are “naturals”. Just like natural athletes, musicians, and artists, there are people who seem to have an innate ability to be superstar parents. Psychologists have spent a lot of time trying to figure out what effective parents are doing, and how these behaviors can be taught to others. These defined “best parent practices” are often transferred to “How to Parent” books. Check out Barnes and Noble – they have a whole section devoted to “parenting” practices. While each of these books offers a number of good ideas, there is no one size fits all approach to the complexity and individuality of family life. There are however, some concepts which we can all use to both understand what we’re doing now, define what we want to accomplish, and create a plan for reaching our goals ( we can even use the ideas found in various books as part of our individual plan).
One piece of the puzzle that often escapes our awareness is the incredible impact of our own feelings and thoughts on our children’s reaction to whatever parenting approach we develop. Not everyone is a good listener, a good rewarder, a consistent consequence giver, a fair rule maker, calmly empathic, comfortable with failure… and the list goes on. As a result of these differences, the “parenting model “ you use has to be one you feel comfortable with, and one that is consistent with your beliefs, values, and personality. Our children sense when we are acting or playing a part. They also sense when we are actually connected to our decisions and “really mean it”. When we parent in a way that we believe in, we increase our effectiveness dramatically. That’s why there are “naturals”.