Lesson 6 of 7 - Learn how to parent effectively


How to Raise Grown
Nurtured Children (GNCs)

By Peter K. Gerlach, MSW
Member NSRC Experts Council

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The Web address of this article is https://sfhelp.org/parent/guide6.htm

Updated 03-30-2015

      Clicking underlined links here will open a new window. Other links will open an informational popup, so please turn off your browser's popup blocker or allow popups from this nonprofit Web site. If your playback device doesn't support Javascript, the popups may not display. Follow underlined links after finishing this article to avoid getting lost.

      This brief YouTube video introduces this self-improvement Lesson on effective parenting: The video mentions eight lessons in this site. I've reduced that to seven.

      Option - listen to this longer YouTube interview on how parents unintentionally pass on up to six psychological wounds to their young kids: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=461QHiHA6pI


      Premise: families exist to nurture - i.e. to fill their members' basic needs.  Depending on many factors, families (like yours) range from low-nurturance to high-nurturance. This Lesson uses the ideas in the prior five Lessons to propose how to (a) nurture the young people in your family effectively, and to (b) help protect your descendents from inheriting the lethal [wounds + unawareness] cycle. 

      This Lesson is meant to augment well-researched parenting programs like these:

Parent Effectiveness Training (PET), by Dr. Thomas Gordon

Support and Training for Emancipated Parents (STEP)

The Active Parenting program, by Dr. Michael H. Popkin

      This online Lesson includes vital concepts that such parenting programs usually omit:

  • a family-systems vs. child-focused approach to effective parenting

  • the toxic effects of parents' inherited psychological wounds (Lesson 1)

  • the unseen, lethal [wounds + unawareness] cycle that passes down the generations.

  • principles of effective thinking and communication (Lesson 2),

  • the importance of evolving and using a healthy family grieving policy (Lesson 3)

  • how to analyze and resolve most relationship problems (Lesson 4)

  • traits of a high-nurturance family and family tree (Lesson 5)

  • typical special needs of minor kids of parental death or divorce, and perspective on "Parent Alienation Syndrome" (PAS), and...

  • Quizzes to help parents assess their awareness of these topics.

Typical stepkids have special needs. Effective stepfamily co-parenting builds on Lessons 1 thru 6, and is outlined in Lesson 7.

       This Lesson assumes you're familiar with...

  • the intro to this nonprofit Web site and the premises underlying it   

  • self-improvement Lessons 1 thru 5

How to Benefit from This Lesson

      The best time to study these is before you have or adopt a child. Quality nurturing during a child's first 4 to 6 years will minimize problems later on! These Lesson-6 "assignments" are like a college course, and should take you several weeks to do, so adopt a patient long-range view and the open mind of a student.

      Accept that you won't know how effective your family adults are at parenting until each child leaves home to live independently and perhaps raise their own kids. Pace yourselves, and learn a little at a time. Seek basic principles, not rifle-shot solutions to parenting problems.

      Don't expect much benefit from these parenting assignments unless each of your primary parents and supporters is guided by her or his true Self. If they're not, focus your energy on Lesson 1 here.

      Use this sixth Break-the-Cycle Lesson as a flexible framework, and adapt it to fit your unique family situation. The assignments below build on each other, so do them in order. The more you study, the clearer all the ideas will become.


  • print some or most articles and worksheets to refer to as you go

  • keep a notebook or journal to capture your reactions and validate your progress;

  • include resources in this Lesson in any family meetings;

  • alert other parents and any professionals supporting your family (e.g. counselors, teachers, clergy, etc.) to this course and/or Lesson;  

  • use this Lesson in any parenting-support group you participate in.

  LESSON 6 - Learn to Parent (Nurture) Effectively

      This lesson plan has three parts:

1) Basics for child-caregivers in all families and organizations;

2) Managing common parenting problems effectively, and...

3) Parenting if your family is divorcing or divorced

      These assignments aim to raise your awareness of effective parenting, rather than decree absolute right/wrong ideas. Check off each assignment as you complete it, and hilight any you feel are specially useful. Ideally, study this Lesson with other family adults and supporters. Coach yourself as you learn: "Progress, not perfection!"

Part 1 - Effective-parenting Basics for All Caregivers

__ 6-1) Set the stage by scanning these brief selected research/news items about parenting and family life. Notice your thoughts and feelings as you do.

__ 6-2) Get quiet and undistracted, and take the first six of these quizzes without rushing. If you have trouble answering any items, study the appropriate Lesson before working on this one.

__ 6-3)  _ Review the lethal [wounds + unawareness] cycle that causes - and is caused by - ineffective parenting + social denial and indifference. _ Try describing the cycle to someone to see if you understand it.

__ 6-4) See if you agree with these ideas about effective parenting. Effective parenting is essential to protect your descendents from the cycle's toxic effects!

__ 6-5) Review this introduction to your family system. Effective parenting is most likely when your family system is functioning (nurturing) everyone (not just kids) well.

__ 6-6) Study this overview of high-nurturance ("functional") family systems. Was your birth family "functional"? What's your family's nurturance level recently? (low > moderate > high). What would improve that?

__ 6-7) Consider these ideas about qualified child conception or acquisition. How can you tell if a family is ready to nurture a child  successfully? Do you know any families who weren't ready?

__ 6-8)  NEW  Read and discuss these ideas on the vulnerability of unborn children to environmental stress.

__ 6-9) Study these classic ideas about eight human development stages by Dr. Erik Erickson. Where do each of your minor kids stand with these stages? If they need help with any stage, what help, and from whom?

__ 6-10) Review this concept of surface and primary needs. Effective parenting aims to fill current primary adult and child needs consistently.

__ 6-11) See how many of these normal child-developmental needs you know. Then decide how well each need is being filled in each of your minor kids and teens.

__ 6-12)  Review these ideas about nourishing physical contact. Is each of your children getting enough appropriate touching? Are you?

__ 6-13) Reflect on Dr. Abraham Maslow's ideas about how normal human needs rank. Do you agree with his ideas? How is each of your kids doing with this "hierarchy of needs?" How are each of your family adults doing, starting with you? Note - typical kids of parental death and separation also have a mix of concurrent adjustment needs (#49 below).

__ 6-14) Review this video on three widespread types of early-childhood trauma. Have they affected members of your family?

__ 6-15) Review this research summary connecting early-childhood "violence" with kids' "mental disorders."

__ 6-16) Review these poignant Yahoo questions from real wounded teens

__ 6-17) Review this article on abandonment

__ 6-18) Read this perspective on parental neglect - one cause of psychological wounds

__ 6-19)  Refer periodically to these ageless wisdoms about the young people in your life.

__ 6-20)  Compare these ideas about bonding with yours. Do you know any parents who are unable to bond with their kids and/or other people? If so, how does that affect their children? Their family's nurturance level?

__ 6-21)  Do these long-term goals of effective parents match yours? How many busy parents do you think could articulate such goals for each dependent child and/or grandchild?

__ 6- 22)  How many of these effective-parenting traits do you have? How many did each adult who raised you?

__ 6-23)  How many of these nurturing values do your family adults have?

__ 6-24)  Evaluate whether your family's attitude about religion and spirituality is nurturing or toxic for your kids.

__ 6-25)  See if you know how to develop empathy in your minor kids. Did your parents know how?

__ 6-26)  Review these options for helping kids develop _ self-respect, self-love, and _ self confidence. Are your children developing these vital  assets?

__ 6-27)  Review _ these keys to effective adult communication with minor kids and teens (Lesson 2), and _ these options for handling three common relationship  stressors (Lesson 4).

__ 6-28)  See if these premises about effective child discipline match yours.

__ 6-29)  Strengthen your ability to set and enforce effective boundaries (Lesson 4)

__ 6-30)  Evaluate whether your kids' grandparents' are nurturing or toxic;

__ 6-31)  Review these ideas on a family good-grief policy (Lesson 3). Are your kids learning to grieve effectively? Do you know how to grieve well? Option - review these selected research/news items on "good grief."

__ 6-32)  Are you factoring these common gender differences into your style of childcare?

__ 6-33)  Consider these suggestions on why and how to have effective family meetings.

__ 6-34)  See how you feel about these proposed adult priorities (Lesson 4).

__ 6-35)  Compare these traits of high-nurturance (functional) daycare centers, schools, churches, and child-related programs to those in your life now.

__ 6-36)  Scan this comprehensive "ACEs Connection" Web site dedicated to preventing early-childhood trauma. .

 LESSON 6, Part 2 - Manage Common Parenting Problems

__ 6-37)  Consider these ideas about anger and frustration and family anger policies (Lesson 4). Can you describe your family's anger policy?

__ 8-38)  Options for parenting an addicted child

__ 6-39)  If applicable, review these suggestions for foster and adoptive parenting

__ 6-40) Review and discuss any of these that pertain to you and/or your child/ren:

__ 6-41)  Review these options for resolving family conflict over a child leaving home (Lesson 5)

__ 6-42)  Review these perspectives on _ sibling relationships and _ half-siblings 

__ 6-43)  Review these options for dealing with scapegoating, being a "black sheep," and/or bullying..

__ 6-44)  Review this intro to Asperger's Syndrome so you can learn how and why to assess for it. (In a different Web site)  It's probable that this condition is promoted by significant family dysfunction (wounded, unaware caregivers).

LESSON 6, Part 3 - And If You're Family is Divorcing...

      Study and discuss each item that is relevant to your family situation

__ 6-45)  Review these Q&A items about divorce and divorce-recovery

__ 6-46)  Review and discuss these research summaries with other family adults and supporters

__ 6-47)  Review and discuss these suggestions for managing a divorcing family

__ 6-48)    Review these options for improving ex-mate relations (Lesson 4)

__ 6-49)  If your ex mate is psychologically wounded, review these options (Lesson 4)

__ 6-50)  Keys to effective parenting while divorcing

__ 6-51)  Typical divorce-adjustment needs minor kids need adult help to fill

__ 6-52)  Options for evolving effective parenting agreements 

__ 6-53)  Options for reaching optimal child-custody agreements

__ 6-54)  Q&A about financial child-support disputes

__ 6-55)  Options toward achieving harmonious child visitations

__ 6-56)  Options if one divorcing parent is disinterested / uninvolved

__ 6-57)  Options for adjusting to a child changing custodial homes

__ 6-58)  Perspective on "Parent Alienation / Malicious Mother" Syndrome

__ 6-59)  Options for managing a child's custodial-home relocating

__ 6-60)  Review these options for creating "good enough" family gatherings and vacations after parental separation and divorce

__ 6-61)  Review these Q&A items about professional counseling (Lesson 4)

__ 6-62) Adapt and discuss these ideas about family legal disputes if you have any.

+ + +

__ 6-63)  Retake this quiz on effective parenting to see what you've learned.

      Now you're prepared to study other useful courses on effective parenting like these (different Web sites):

Option - search the Web for "effective parenting."

      Notice what you're thinking and feeling as you finish this Lesson. Is their something you want to do now with what you've learned? Would the other adults in your family (and community) be able to pass these quizzes? Would the teachers in your schools? if not - why not?


      This sixth self-improvement Lesson proposes basic information that average adults need in order to raise a child successfully over two decades. Putting this information into practice requires typical adults to have (a) freed their true Self to guide them through the decades (Lesson 1), and to have (b) integrated the key ideas in each of the five prior lessons.

      Premise - Most adults are Grown Wounded Children (GWCs) because their parents and other caregivers (including grandparents and teachers) were unable to meet these two requisites. Unaware citizens and governments accept this, though it is inexorably weakening many (most?) cultures and our environment.

If you're interested in growing and enjoying a high-nurturance stepfamily, continue with Lesson 7. If you're motivated to tell others about what you learned here, see these practical options

      Pause, breathe, and reflect - why did you read this article? Did you get what you needed? If not, what do you need? Who's answering these questions - your true Self, or ''someone else''?

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