Parenting 101 & the Prison Psychiatrist’s Couch

As we prepare to move our oldest off to a ballet company and to college, I thought about one of my first posts and present it here with a few updates. 

Here is my basic parenting philosophy: If I make any mistakes my kids can always work them out later on the prison psychiatrist’s couch.

Seriously, I highly recommend three books for every parent:

1. The Bible – News flash: The God who created the universe and everything in it had some good advice on parenting. Shocking! I thank God that I got serious about my faith around the time my kids were born. It has made me a much better (though still quite imperfect) parent.

2. Parenting with Love and Logic – Great practical tips on letting your kids learn by natural and logical consequences. This has made our parenting easier and better.  Of course you should protect your kids in age appropriate ways from dangerous situations.  But too many parents spare their kids any consequences such that they don’t learn responsibility.

3. The 5 Love Languages – Learn your kids’ preferences for giving and receiving love. Works wonders for spouses, too! It isn’t psycho-babble. It is an easy read that is full of practical advice on relationships. Everyone I know who has read this got a lot out of it. Like many successful books, this one has a special edition for any subcategory you can imagine – teens, kids, German Shepherds, etc. But the original is a good one-size-fits-all, so when in doubt stick with that.  Most parents love their kids, but this book gave good advice on being more intentional and effective about showing it.

When in doubt, express love in all these ways: Quality time, words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service and gifts.

It also contains some truly important advice on not marrying too quickly, because we can all put on a good act for a short period of time when we are in courting mode.

To state the obvious, pray for your kids.  We did this regularly and specifically most of the time — for wisdom, safety, character qualities, potential spouses, etc., and especially that they will come to know Jesus in an authentic and meaningful way.

Being a parent is the most important job you’ll ever have.

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