Parenting is a full-time, super-human job that no one can handle without considerable help. These practices may help when things get tough. (And if you use them even when times are easy, they’ll come to mind much more easily in the tight spots.)
Parenting is a sacred responsibility.
Raising our children & youth to the best of our ability is simply the right thing to do. If we can keep this in mind, we and our children & youth will learn that there are commitments more important than our challenges.
Our children & youth have important jobs to do as they grow up: namely, to discover the world, to learn who they are and how they can happily manage in the world.
Our job is to make their journey as enjoyable, easy, exciting, profound and safe as possible.
When we accept our job, the process of parenting becomes a lifelong exploration.
We have to keep an experimental attitude. We and our children & youth can teach each other and learn from each other.
Our relationship with our children & youth works best when it is based on respect. When we respect our children & youth, they will learn to respect us, themselves and others.
Remember, parent/child & youth relationships are about reciprocity, not equality. It is about giving and receiving. But it is also about parents accepting the responsibility that comes with parenting.
We can and must establish boundaries and safety so that our children & youth can feel safe and flourish. If we do this with respect, we make it possible for our children & youth to respect those boundaries and to make their own.
Parenting is not about our power over our children & youth; it’s about our service to a process larger than us.
Like it or not, we model what it means to be a human being for our children & youth.
We don’t have to be heroes, or larger than life. Although it can be difficult, we have to be real and honest.
It’s important that we show up for our children & youth, and stand up for what we believe with honesty.
Our children & youth learn what real strength and humanity means when they see us handling the “tough stuff” that scares us, with honesty, compassion and all the strength and skill we have.
“What do you need?” is the most important question we can continually ask of our children & youth (out loud or not!).
If we are truly willing to show up and provide what’s needed (distinguished from what our children & youth might want in any given moment), our children & youth will learn to trust what we provide, and to relax into the process of living.
The relationship between us and our children & youth is what makes our family.
Children & youth’s family is their first model of community.
Children & youth learn what love is when we make commitment and service to our family the center and heart of our relationship.
When love is practiced every day, parenting becomes easier and easier. Our children & youth learn that love is a natural and every day occurrence, not something fleeting and unobtainable. This is a priceless gift that brings endless bounty.
Parenting is a “practice, not perfection,” for everyone.