Lesson 6 of 7 - Learn how to parent effectively

2 girls

 

Discover Your Parenting
Values and Beliefs

Ideas for Family Discussion

By Peter K. Gerlach, MSW
Member NSRC Experts Council

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The Web address of this article is https://sfhelp.org/parent/values.htm\

Updated  April 14, 2015

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      This is one of a series of articles in Lesson 6 - learn how to parent effectively over two decades without neglecting yourself. The range and scope of major social problems suggests that most parents are failing at this.

      Parents' child-raising beliefs and values vary widely, and govern how they raise their kids. To get effective nurturance, dependent kids need their adults to identify and resolve any major values conflicts. To do that, adults need to learn and discuss each others' child-raising values and beliefs.

      This worksheet helps you do that. It assumes you're familiar with...

  • the intro to this nonprofit Web site and the premises underlying it

  • self-improvement Lessons 1 thru 5 (or 7, if you're in a stepfamily) 

  • this perspective on effective parenting, and these Q&A items

  • Reprint: Kids learn what they live
     

           A "parent" is someone who accepts responsibility for nurturing someone's dependent child. This includes grandparents, aunts, uncles, older teens, babysitters, au pairs, teachers, coaches, mentors, and daycare staff.

          A belief is what you think is true (or not) about something - in this case, about ''effective parenting.'' A value is whether you judge something to be good or bad, right or wrong, safe or not, significant or not, or better or worse than something else.

      Directions

           Print this worksheet, get undistracted, and fill it out thoughtfully - alone. Your results will be more useful if your true Self guides your personality as you do this.

          Encourage your other parenting adults to do this worksheet after reading the resources above. This isn't about being right or wrong, it's about identifying what you nurturers believe and how compatible your beliefs are.

          When you're done, discuss your results as childcare teammates. Affirm your similar values, and calmly identify where you differ. Decide if you can find a way that works to compromise your differences, or agree to disagree. Your present and future kids are depending on you all to do this for them!

          These items represent the wide spectrum of [possible parenting beliefs and values. Use them to identify others that are important to your family. Option - say your answers to these items out loud. It's OK to "talk to yourself"!

          The worksheet has three sections:

  • general parenting values and beliefs

  • extra items for divorcing-family adults, and...

  • extra items for stepfamily adults and supporters

    1) General Parenting Values and Beliefs

1) To me, effective parenting means...

 

2) The main goal of parenting should be...

 

3)  Effective fathers teach their sons...

 

4)  Effective mothers teach their daughters...

 

5)  Effective fathers teach their daughters...

 

6)  Effective mothers teach their sons...

 

7)  The keys to raising kids who can bond and experience love are...

 

8)  Effective parents' priorities should be...

 

9)  The role of spirituality in effective parenting should be...

 

10)  When it comes to TV, cell phones, computers, and electronic games, parents should...

 

11)  The best way to inform kids about safe, responsible sex is...

 

12)  Parents can encourage kids to tell the truth by...

 

13)  The best way to teach effective communication to a child is...

 

14) Minor kids will learn to respect themselves and others if parents...

 

15) When parents and kids disagree on important matters, they should...

 

16) Parents should allow kids to date when...

 

17) When kids break the rules, effective parents...

 

18) Minor children feel most secure when their parents...

 

19) The best way for parents to teach kids to value their wholistic health is...

 

20) What typical boys want from their parents is

 

21) Kids do best in school when their parents...

 

22) The best way to teach kids how to handle money is...

 

23) Grandparents nurture best when they...

 

24) Punishment is less effective discipline than providing natural consequences.

 

25) What typical girls want from their parents is...

 

26) The most satisfying thing about effective parenting is...

 

27) When adults disagree over their parenting values or beliefs, they should...

 

28) You can tell effective child discipline by...

 

28) Kids will learn to minimize shame and guilt if their family adults...

 

29) Effective parents teach their kid to manage anger and frustration by...

 

30) The best way to teach kids how to grieve well is...

 

31) The best way for parents to handle family relationship triangles is...

 

32) A child becomes an adult when...

 

33) The most stressful thing about parenting is...

 

34) What typical parents need the most is...

 

35) The best thing typical grandparents can do for their family is...

 

36) What typical biological grandparents need most is...


 

      Pause and notice what you're thinking and feeling. Imagine having several family meetings to discuss these items and learn each others' viewpoints. Also imagine what opinions your kids would have. Option - go back over these items and decide how each adult that raised you would respond to each item. Then compare that to what you now believe. What do you notice?  

2) Parenting Values After Divorce

      As parents divorce, family reorganization causes many concurrent adjustment needs for all family members. These add to minor kids' normal developmental needs, so effective parenting becomes significantly more complex and stressful.

      Paradox: divorce often signifies mates' difficulty with resolving conflicts effectively, and post-divorce parenting causes webs of new conflicts. Some are values conflicts over items like these: 

37) Parental divorce permanently damages typical minor kids.

 

38) Most minor kids of parental divorce really need...

 

39) Single parents can nurture minor kids just as well as bioparent couples if...

 

40) The best way to explain divorce or parental death to kids and teens is...

 

41) The best time to explain parental divorce or parental death to kids and teens is...

 

42) What's really hard for a non-custodial parent is...

 

43)  Kids of divorced parents are more likely to divorce than kids from intact families.

 

44)  When parents divorce, the best thing their parents can do for their grandkids is...

 

      If you have other beliefs and values about parenting after divorce, what are they?

      Most divorcing or widowed parents eventually commit to a new partner, forming a stepfamily, The new mate may or may mot have kids of their own. If you're not in a multi-generational stepfamily, don't expect to be in one, and don't care about  anyone on a stepfamily, go here.

3) Stepfamily Co-parenting Values and Beliefs

      When a divorced or widowed parent commits to a new mate, all members of their three or more merging families experience complex sets of adjustment needs. These add to minor kids' many concurrent developmental and divorce-adjustment needs - which raises the complexity of effective stepfamily co-parenting.

      For perspective on what follows, first read how stepparenting compares to bioparenting, and study these Q&A items about stepparenting and stepkids. Also review these common stepfamily myths (beliefs) and realities. For suggestions on managing a re/marriage and multi-home stepfamily successfully, study online lesson 7 after you finish here.

45) Stepfamily co-parenting is significantly harder than traditional bioparenting because...

 

46) The most challenging thing about co-parenting in a multi-home stepfamily is...

 

47) Typical stepkids don't turn out as well as kids in healthy, intact biofamilies.

 

48) If re/married parents ignore or deny they are in a multi-home stepfamily, then...

 

49) When parenting and re/marital needs conflict, I feel it's best to...

 

50) Stepparents, stepkids, and stepsiblings should love each other.



51) Bioparents should put their kids' needs ahead of their new mate's needs when they conflict.

 

52) What's hardest for a typical minor stepchild is...

 

53) When bioparents' and stepparents' child-rearing values clash is, it's best to...

 

54)  The best thing co-parents can do when they disagree over their stepfamily's membership is...



55) When a stepparent disciplines their stepchild,

 


56) A divorced or widowed bioparent really needs their new mate to accept...

 

57) Being married to a stepparent is specially stressful if...

 

58) If a stepparent ignores or rejects their stepchild, then bioparents should...

 

59) If a stepparent doesn't like, trust, or respect a stepchild, then co-parents should...




60) When
an "ours" baby is born to re/married co-parents, they should...

 


61) A stepparent feels best about their mate's former partner when...

 


62) Co-parenting in our stepfamily works best when...



63) It would work even better if...



64) When a child disrespects their stepparent, the child's bioparents should...

 

65)  The best way to handle stepsibling conflicts is...

 


66) A typical stepchild really needs their noncustodial bioparent to...

 


67) Stepparents should legally adopt their stepchild/ren if...

 


68) As a stepfamily co-parent, I feel best when...




69) An effective stepparent is someone who...

 


70) Some advantages to being a stepchild are...

 


71) The "right" to discipline a stepchild comes from...

 


72) Co-grandparents (in a stepfamily) can be confused about...

 


73) When a stepparent and a noncustodial bioparent conflict, it's best if...

 


74) Stepsiblings get along best when...

 


75) The key to mutually-satisfactory child visitations is...

 


76) The hardest thing for typical relatives to understand about stepfamily co-parenting is...

 


77) When their divorced bioparents fight, minor kids...
 


     and stepparents...



78) When it comes to mealtimes, stepfamily co-parents should...




79) When it comes to making a job description, stepfamily co-parents should...

 

+ + +

  Right now, I'm aware of...


 


...and I want to remember...





      Again, pause, breathe, and notice what you're thinking and feeling now. Recall that the items above represent many parenting values and beliefs that typical family adults acquire over decades of observation and experience.

Recap

      This worksheet exists to help family adults discover and discuss their values and beliefs about raising kids effectively. Your family's nurturance level depends in part on how able your adults are to clarify and resolve major conflicts between their beliefs and values (on many topics).

      If you discover significant values differences, this brief video and related article suggests how to resolve them peacefully. The video mentions eight lessons in this self-improvement Web site. I've reduced that to seven:

Continue studying Lesson 6 or 7 (stepfamilies)

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