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Parenting: Do Your Skills Measure Up?

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It never ceases to amaze me how awful some parents are. You can see examples of this first hand just by going to a local grocery store and watching what goes on in the parking lot or in some cases don’t have to even leave the neighborhood. Then there’s the examples of  parents who are ignorant, discipline their children by public humiliation or those who are  too involved or don’t do enough for their children.

A few years ago while driving down a residential street I noticed two brothers riding their bikes. On a hunch slowed down to well below the 25 miles-per-hour speed limit and it was the right move. The older boy began to peddle faster attempting to race his younger sibling to a particular spot and instead of turning around on the sidewalk, he went off the curb into the middle of the street to go back the other direction.

From what I saw neither mom nor dad were in sight, which is inexcusable due to the age of the two boys.

Now recently it has been in parking lots of grocery stores where children run across the street leading to the entrance or in some cases back to their car without looking. The parents in these situations do not even say anything and allow for it to happen even though these kids do not understand the dangers of getting hit by a car.  Fortunately I’ve also seen great parenting as well in which it’s said to the kid “hold my hand” and won’t cross until it happens.

There’s no question that parents play a major role in how a child will treat their peers. So, if the child is getting bullied by either mom or dad it’s not surprising that it’s become an epidemic in schools. According to Bullyingstatistics.org  “if a child learns how to treat people from the example of a bullying parent, he or she is likely to grow to be a bully as well, and may have a hard time developing healthy relationships.”

Another issue that is head scratching is disciplining teenagers by public humiliation for either a bad attitude or in some cases for not doing well in school.  In one case one got forced to wear a sign that read:

“I’m a self-entitled teenager w/no respect for authority.

I’m also super smart, yet I have 3 ‘D’s’ because I DON’T CARE.”

Unfortunately the parents just don’t understand that often times poor grades are  reflections of something else such as a disability, depression, getting bullied or the material is too difficult or easy. While at first the punishment may fix the issue, in the long run it will have more damage and resentment from the child.

Counseling Today quoted Andy Gorgan-Taylor an Associate Professor of Social Work at the University of Michigan and he said “The research is pretty clear that it’s never appropriate to shame a child or to make a child feel degraded or diminished.” Going further it can also lead to depression, anxiety and aggression.

Some parenting styles are just as inexcusable and are on opposite extremes. One happens when a mom or dad gets involved in every aspect of the child’s life and there’s even an extreme with that called “tiger parenting.” This tends to involve hours and hours of studying and practicing a musical instrument, ignored are eating, drinking and going to the bathroom and not developing relationships with kids their own age.

The other example is the parent who has very little involvement known as “leave and let be.” It’s great if the child is independent and doesn’t need structure and yet there are some who can only strive if there’s a set schedule with no interruptions.

Here’s how tell if your parenting skills measure up.

  • If your child doesn’t understand the dangers of crossing the street either hold their hand or put in a shopping cart
  • Always provide supervision if they are outside especially if it’s the front yard 
  • If child is old enough to ride a bike, helmets are mandatory
  • Teach them to look both ways when crossing the street 
  • Never bully your kids 
  • Public humiliation is not an acceptable form of discipline
  • Have a conversation with teenager if grades are slipping and if they don’t want to speak with you about it, suggest talking with a psychologist or psychiatrist 
  • Don’t micromanage every second of the day of your children
  • Conversely do not take the “leave and let be approach” be involved to an extent 
  • Don’t be afraid to have a tough conversation with your child on certain topics such as sex, drugs, friends….
  • Always let them know that you love them and that no matter what you’re always be there 

For some these skills are self-explanatory for others it’s a work in progress. Do not be afraid to ask others for advice or to take a parenting class. The  better parent you become, the better off your child will be.


Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com

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