Objective Advice for Parents
I have a very good friend (DP) who retired after serving many years as a high school guidance counselor. I recently asked DP to share his experiences, thoughts, and observations regarding how parents might have a greater impact and be more influential in shaping the lives of their children.
DP is a Christian, which clearly influences his perspectives. He’s also single and never raised his own children. I greatly respect his opinions. I believe his objective viewpoint can be extremely helpful and instructive.
By comparison, I have four sons, and I know my subjective involvement has often clouded my judgements and sometimes inhibited opportunities for my sons to learn important lessons. Like all children, my sons have frequently needed protection and guidance, but they sometimes have needed to learn difficult lessons from their own mistakes. Learning is often a painful experience for children as well as parents.
I thought it might be interesting to compare DP’s thoughts and observations with my own. Perhaps this comparison will be helpful, and may reveal the difficulties and frustrations of trying to do the “right thing” as a parent.
Following is a thought from DP, followed by my own:
DP: As a parent you need to “step out” of situations in order to decide what life-lessons you want to teach your children, then align conduct to enable teaching to occur.
PJ: “Stepping out” of situations is a luxury that parent do not have. Every situation with children requires an immediate response from parents. Commonly, emotions cloud judgement, and resolving the situation can take precedence over the life-lesson. Parents need help in order to “step out” of situations. Advice and guidance from older adults, relatives, and others can be infinitely helpful to parents, and enable them to view situations with greater objectivity and a clearer focus on long-term life lessons.