Parent connection

January 7, 2014 

Perhaps many parents have made their New Year's resolutions by now and simply want to do 2014 right as a mom or dad. Good for these parents who realize you don't have to be perfect in the realm of child-rearing—just responsible, loving, and giving it your best.

My advice to focus on for the New Year? Make parenting decisions based on what you think is right and not necessarily by what other parents are doing.

Peer pressure certainly doesn't end in high school. It's easy to feel as if you need to go along with what other parents do and join in with some of the same choices they make. Just human nature, I guess. The thing is, following the crowd only gives folks confidence that is very surface at best and in reality, probably not genuine at all. Trying to gain reassurance that you're doing a good job as mom or dad based upon others' opinionsshouldn't be reassuring at all.

Perhaps it's the young mom who feels as if she is slipping in her social status because she isn't spending every precious waking moment posting pics of her child on Facebook. Maybe it's the Dad who is the only one in his carpool that isn't bragging every Monday morning about the weekend in which he and his family once again went out of town for their 10-year-old's youth sports tournament. Then there are the parents who had to listen to their tween's slammed bedroom door because they said "no" to a PG-13 movie. ? The examples can go on and on.

To be the responsible parent in today's culture, you need to accept two things. First, you will likely not be the popular parent among your peers. Second, you won't be the popular parent at times with your kids. So be it. Here's the key when you find yourself setting parenting practices or making a rather significant decision. Picture your child at age 25 and ask — How will my decision today best help my child to be a responsible young adult?

I've said it before and will say it again. It's wise for parents to think long term in so many aspects of parenting. This doesn't mean parents can't be light-hearted, have fun and be spontaneous, at times. Sure they can. My point is that the bigger decisions can be made with confidence no matter how unpopular it may be with other parents. When confronted by the kids, my advice is to listen to their complaints within reason, but don't get into a long discussion.

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