Parenting, Step-Parenting and Co-Parenting

Resiliency Center of Santa BarbaraMost adults enjoy parenting and raising children. They do a good job of it. They often imitate their parents and make some personalized revisions based on their values and past experiences.

However, many adults had poor parenting role models or few positive role models at all. On a daily basis, they did not witness parents respecting, loving and cooperating with one another. They may have observed the opposite. Their own parenting as children may have been poor and alienating. Very few parents are educated on how to parent or ever study child-rearing on their own.

So, many adults enter parenthood with only their past experiences and some distorted memories about parenting to rely on. Few parents actively seek knowledge or carefully think through what it means to be a responsible parent and how to raise a child. Usually, they simply believe that they can naturally and intuitively parent well. However, this is a delusion. Being a good parent is probably the most demanding challenge and biggest responsibility that adults will ever take on. But most do not actively prepare themselves or seek help for such an important life event.

To say the least, parenting is a significant responsibility. It takes inner discipline on the part of all parents. Few parents have developed explicit family values that they teach to and enforce with their children. Even fewer parents agree about how to discipline and interact with their children. It takes a lot of effort to do that.

So, many parents drift along in hope. They may over-indulge their children and become too permissive. Some parents want to be a “friend” or a peer with their children while others are too restrictive or inconsistent. Some even allow the kids to control them and the family. And as their kids become teenagers, some parents let their kids drift away to rely on their peers to tech them personal values.

For many adults, when their parenting responsibilities inevitably get too demanding, one of the partners abdicates their role to the other partner or they get out of the marriage and separate from the family. So, this leaves a lot of parents without kids, some parents raising their own children alone, some co-parenting kids with their former spouse, and other parents taking on step-children when they get re-married. It also leaves their children confused and hurt. On their own, without much mental or emotional maturity or capacity to figure things out realistically, children struggle to make sense of the loss of a parent or family group that they love. This often leaves them lonely and upset.

However, the good news is that parenting skills can be learned and improved. Parents can prepare and pull together their values, priorities and expectations. They can commit to a more responsible lifestyle and become more aware of their role and its impact on their children. They can consciously become parents and allow their children to be children. They can purposefully develop and commit to their roles and values within the family. Discipline and realistic expectations can be discussed and  imposed on their children to facilitate a loving, supportive and secure family environment.

Fortunately, your parenting can become more effective.You can be educated about this process and take steps to improve and shape the family you envision. And your children will be grateful that you took charge.

Your home life can become more gratifying and peaceful.

If your parenting methods are not achieving the effects you desire,

Call Dr. Miller TODAY at 805-448-5053

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