There Is A Science To Raising Children
Are you constantly searching the latest on parenting to make sure you are doing everything exactly right? It's time to relax. Temple University psychologist, Laurence Steinberg, says that perfect parents just don’t exist.
“Most parents are pretty good parents,” says Steinberg, “But I’ve never met a parent who isperfect 100 percent of the time. We all can improve our batting average.”
Sports analogies are useful to Steinberg, the concept of the book came from his own desire to improve his golf game. “I was reading, probably for the 10th time, Harvey Penick’s Little Red Golf Book,” he says. “It is built around a series of very short essays that cover very basic principles.
“As I was reading it, I wasthinking that this might be a good way to teach people how to be better parents.” Steinberg, the Distinguished University Professor and the Laura Carnell Professor of Psychology at Temple, wrote the newly released The Ten Basic Principles of Good Parenting (Simon & Schuster). This easy to follow how-to book uses the formula that works for golf to improve parenting. He believes it is the perfectformat for today's busy parents.
Here is a quick overview of the Ten Basic Principles:
1. What you do matters.
“Tell yourself that every day. How you treat and respond to your child should come from a knowledgeable, deliberate sense of what you want to accomplish. Always ask yourself: What effect will my decision have on my child?”
2. You cannot be too loving.
“When it comes to genuineexpressions of warmth and affection, you cannot love your child too much. It is simply not possible to spoil a child with love. What we often think of as the product of spoiling a child is never the result of showing a child too much love. It is usually the consequence of giving a child things in place of love—things like leniency, lowered expectations or material possessions.”
3. Be involved in yourchild’s life.
"Being an involved parent takes time and is hard work, and it often means rethinking and rearranging your priorities. It frequently means sacrificing what you want to do for what your child needs you to do. Be there mentally as well as physically.”
4. Adapt your parenting to fit your child.
“Make sure your parenting keeps pace with your child’s development. You may wish you couldslow down or freeze-frame your child’s life, but this is the last thing he wants. You may be fighting getting older, but all he wants is to grow up. The same drive for independence that is making your three-year-old say ‘no’ all the time is what’s motivating him to be toilet trained. The same intellectual growth spurt that is making your 13-year-old curious and inquisitive in the classroom alsois making her argumentative at the dinner table.”
5. Establish and set rules.
“If you don’t manage your child’s behavior when he is young, he will have a hard time learning how to manage himself when he is older and you aren’t around. Any time of the day or night, you should always be able to answer these three questions: Where is my child? Who is with my child? What is my child doing? Therules your child has learned from you are going to shape the rules he applies to himself.”
6. Foster your child’s independence.
“Setting limits helps your child develop a sense of self-control. Encouraging independence helps her develop a sense of self-direction. To be successful in life, she’s going to need both. Accepting that it is normal for children to push for autonomy is absolutely key toeffective parenting. Many parents mistakenly equate their child’s independence with rebelliousness or disobedience. Children push for independence because it is part of human nature to want to feel in control rather than to feel controlled by someone else.”
7. Be consistent.
“If your rules vary from day to day in an unpredictable fashion, or if you enforce them only intermittently, your child’s...