Does your household feel out of control? Are you screaming all the time? Do you dread interacting with your kids? Does every interaction end up in conflict? Have you lost your direction as a parent?…. As a family? Are you and your spouse at odds on parental decision-making?
If you answered yes to even one of these questions, then you likely feel as if you are living in a House of Chaos. It doesn’t have to be that way. You can take back control of your family and your life by implementing consistent parenting skills in your home.
So, here’s my disclaimer: I am not re-inventing the wheel here. There is no revolutionary new information just out from the latest research; no secret magic formula for me to share with you. What I am going to share is information that has been around for a long time. Information that I believe is often misunderstood, forgotten, or lost amidst our busy, and yes—chaotic—efforts to manage a family.
There are a lot of forces working against us as parents today. There is peer influence, poor examples of family life in the homes of our kids’ friends, movies, television, video games, social media, the internet, advertising, and the instant gratification that comes from the ability to communicate with anyone at any time via texting. However, the most profound force working against us today is the decline in the moral fiber of society that encourages our kids to be self-centered, self-indulgent, and focused on what they can get or take from others, rather than what they can offer or give to others.
The truth is—being a parent is hard work. And being a good parent is A LOT of hard work. It is a demanding 24-hour-a-day / 7-days-a-week role that allows for no vacation; that is—no psychological vacation. Effective parenting requires unwavering commitment, diligence and perseverance, and the ability to find energy when you don’t think you have any left. It requires placing the needs of others before your own routinely. Parenting efforts often go unacknowledged and unappreciated, and much of the time, can feel like an absolutely thankless job.
BUT—the effort is worth it! When you are giving of yourself, your time, your love, and your guidance, and you begin to witness that your efforts are working effectively toward the positive development of another human being—it is the most rewarding feeling that exists for a parent of a child of any age.
The catch here is that our children are not passive clumps of clay just waiting to acquiesce to our guidance and direction! In fact, they are often working in complete opposition to our efforts! And therein lies the foundation of our feeling as a parent of being overwhelmed, confused, frustrated, angry, and out-of-control.
Unfortunately, too many parents give in to these feelings and simply give up trying to regain control of their kids or their sanity. And that is often the moment in the life of their family when they end up in a therapist’s office… asking someone else to “fix” their kids!
Not only am I a Licensed Professional Counselor but I am also a parent. My husband and I have launched five adult children from a blended family of his, mine and ours. My ideas and suggestions for effective parenting are collected from many of my own experiences over the past 30+ years. I believe that implementing structure, maintaining consistency and managing expectations combine to form what I like to call, the Three Pillars of Effective Parenting. These principles apply to children of all ages. However, the younger the child, the easier these principles are to implement the first time. These parenting principles require thought, effort, teamwork and commitment from both parents—and in the case of a divorce—parents in two different homes.
In my private counseling practice, I focus my efforts on educating and empowering parents to take back control of their household by implementing these basic techniques of effective parenting. Making these types of changes will not occur overnight. Sustained change takes time and practice.