Retool your Parenting

By Thomas Haller and Chick Moorman

Thomas Haller and Chick MoormanCorporate downsizing, a sluggish economy and high unemployment has left many people fearful of the future as they struggle to provide for their families. As a result, job fairs are experiencing a record number of attendees and unemployment agencies are being inundated with new applicants daily. In an attempt to obtain employment, today’s job seekers want to know what types of skills are needed and which skills really pay off in the long run. Many are looking to reinvent themselves and retool their skills.

Stopping to ask, “What do I need to learn to fit into today’s job market?” and then seek training to develop the necessary skills are important steps to gainful employment. The concept of reinventing oneself and learning new skills is vital for obtaining employment.

Consider for a moment how the concept of reinventing oneself can also be applied to parenting. Learning new parenting skills is vital to the role of raising responsible children in today’s world. Keep the following suggestions in the forefront of your mind as you look to retool your parenting.

1. Stop parenting the way you were parented. Most parents use similar techniques and strategies to those their parents used with them. “Well my parents did it this way with me and I’m fine,” some parents offer as an excuse to keep from learning alternate ways of managing children’s behavior. Much has changed in our world from when we were growing up as children. Be open to seeing new ways to approach your important role as a parent.

2. Change yourself first. When your child misbehaves, ask yourself, “What is it that I need to know?” “How am I contributing to this behavior?” “What could I do differently that would help my child?” Seek first to understand the situation, the contributing factors, and how you can change yourself. You may discover that you need to add a few tools to your parenting tool box.

3. Reinvent yourself by learning from others. Take parenting classes. Read parenting books. Consult parenting experts. Actively seek information and ideas from the many ways it is provided today. One can find parenting techniques on YouTube under parent professor, in books stores, or by attending workshops in your community.

4. Increase the number of tools in your parenting tool box. When you develop a well-stocked parenting tool box, you increase the likelihood that you will match the most effective tool with the appropriate situation. The more you learn the more options you have when a difficult behavior arises.

5. Learn what best fits your children. Some children are visual learners, some are auditory learners and some are more tactile in their learning. When your child behaves in a way that calls for your correction and guidance, stop to ask yourself what would be the best way to deliver the guidance. Choose the method that fits their learning style and the odds that your child will learn more efficiently increases.

6. Seek to teach and guide, not punish and shame. Your role as a parent is to help your children learn how to manage their own behavior. When you shame, threaten and punish your children, ask yourself, “What is my behavior teaching my children?” Consider that the main lesson you are teaching them is that shame, threatening or physical force is an appropriate way to get what you want in this world. Is that the lesson you want your children to learn?

7. Remember “how” you are, is as important as “what” you do. How you apply a parenting technique is as important as the technique you choose. Take a moment right now to create a vision of yourself being the best parent you have always wanted to be. The next time you implement a parenting strategy, ask yourself, “Is this strategy helping me become that best parent I can be?” If the answer is “No”, choose a different strategy.

In response to the many new challenges that children present today, reinvent yourself. Eliminate the controlling, manipulating strategies of the past. Change the way you handle irritating, annoying, frustrating behavior. Discover what’s best for raising confident, caring children in a world of economic instability. Be certain about your children’s behavioral and emotional future. Retool your parenting.

10 CommitmentsAbout the Authors:
Thomas Haller and Chick Moorman are the authors of The 10 Commitments: Parenting with Purpose. They are two of the world's foremost authorities on raising responsible, caring, confident children. Visit their blog at