Larry Winget is one of the leading speakers in the country, having spoken to nearly 400 of the Fortune 500 companies. He is a frequent guest on many television news shows and has even been the host of his own A&E series. Larry is the author of several Wall Street Journal/New York Times bestsellers and is a guru to hundreds of thousands of people on the topics of personal development, business and personal finance. He is also the father of two grown sons. His forthcoming book, Your Kids Are Your Own Fault: A Guide for Raising Responsible, Productive Adults, will hit the stands in early 2010.
Do moms and dads naturally know how to parent their children?
Sadly, no. Good parenting is not a gift that is bestowed upon us with the birth of our children. We can only model the parenting behavior that we experienced as children from our own parents and from what we see and hear either on television or in society. Even worse, most parents practice reactionary parenting instead of parenting with a plan.
What are some common mistakes that parents make?
Parents forget that they aren't really raising kids; they are creating adults. You have to ask yourself what kind of adult you want your child to become, what skills and values you want that adult to live by and then work backwards to make sure you teach your child those skills and values. Parents spend too much time on the mundane and the momentary and too often forget about teaching integrity, honesty, pride in a job well done, and about sex, relationships and money. Yet those issues are going to be the basis of a well-adjusted, responsible, productive adult.
How are parenting skills different today from those of past generations?
The same skills are needed/required today as in the past in order to raise great kids. However, past generations didn't have as many distractions as parents today have to deal with. The Internet, cell phones, video games and 200 television channels create problems for parents that require constant effort to keep under control. In this way, it is harder and more challenging for parents today not to facilitate the entitlement issues facing our kids, teaching core values and more.
What are some good parenting skills?
There is so much that goes into being a great parent, but let me hit a few of the big ones:
- Talk to your kid to let them know what you expect from them in various
situations. Then communicate with them about how well they did and how they could do it better next time. This involvement will reduce the kids' frustration because they will have a clearly communicated goal and know what is expected from them.
- Teach your child that behavior has consequences: both good behavior and bad
behavior. Let them experience the consequences of their behavior.
- Teach your children about money. How to earn it, save it, invest it and enjoy
it. Few people have these skills and if as a parent, you don't, do what it takes to get them so you can pass them on to your child.
- Learn to listen to your kids, even when they are wrong. This is the basis of
respect between people. Never pass up an opportunity to listen. Talk less, listen more and hug whenever you can.
- Your kids will repeat the behavior you exhibit for them. If you want honest
kids, be honest in all you do. If you want your kids to know how to handle their money, then handle your own money wisely. If you want your kids to be kind, thoughtful, generous people, then set that example. If you want your kids to be hard workers, then work hard. BE the person you want your child to become.
- Regarding punishment: Don't punish when you are angry. Just like in a court of
law, there is a period of time between being found guilty and the sentencing. Give yourself time to calm down so you can impose a punishment that is thought out and will contain the greatest lesson. Then make the punishment fit the crime. And always remember that the only reason to punish is to teach a lesson. If you waste the opportunity to teach the lesson, then you have wasted your time punishing the child.
Is it ever too late to develop better parenting skills?
No. Even if you have grown children, you can still improve your relationship with your child by learning good parenting skills.
Where can we read more about you?
Go to Larry Winget to find out more about me. I'm everywhere!
Do you have any other tips or advice you'd like to offer our readers?
To build on something I have already said, I would suggest that each parent take the time to write down what kind of adult they would like their child to become. Writing it down is very important in order to crystallize your thinking and to give you a written goal to work toward. Then determine (in writing) what skills and values and abilities it is going to take for your child to actually become the adult you have described. At that point, figure out what you are doing to make sure those things are learned and determine what more you can do to assure that you are doing everything you can to educate your child in the values, skills and abilities you want that adult to possess. Doing this will give you a parenting plan regarding the important things for you to focus on with your child. It doesn't take long to do it, and it will allow you to write your personal parenting plan for raising a responsible, productive adult.