Lesson 6 of 7 - Learn to parent effectively

What is Effective Parenting?

Why most parents faii

By Peter K. Gerlach, MSW
NSRC Experts Council


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

Revised  04-08-2015

      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 is probably the most important article in this self-improvement Web site. It is part of a self-study lesson about effective parenting. The range and scope of major social problems suggests that (a) many parents are failing at this responsibility, and (b) their societies are indifferent to this failure and its harmful effects.

      Pause, breathe, and reflect: why are you reading this article? What do you seek? The article proposes...

  • three reasons most parents are failing to prepare their kids for independent living;

  • how to measure parenting effectiveness

  • why most adults are psychologically wounded and unaware

  • specific suggestions for all adults nurturing minor kids

      This brief YouTube video highlights what you'll read below...

       The article assumes you're familiar with...

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

  • self-improvement Lesson 1 thru 5

  • typical kids' developmental needs,

  • the lethal [wounds + unawareness] cycle

  • selected brief research summaries on parenting and families


      I have been a professional family therapist for 36 years. From my study and clinical experience with well over 1,000 international clients and students, I believe:

  • effective parenting is an intentional, multi-decade nurturing process that may convert infants and young kids into wholistically-healthy adults who can do the same for any young children they nurture.

  • raising wholistically-healthy children is among the most difficult, least understood, and globally-important human tasks; The public is largely unaware of and indifferent to this so far.

  • Judging by the scope of serious social problems, less than ~5% of typical family adults and mental-health professionals know (a) how to raise young kids effectively, and (b) how to realistically gauge the wholistic health of kids and adults. As a result...

  • most young adults have inherited significant [psychological wounds + unawareness] from their unaware ancestors.

  • without awareness, knowledge, and personal healing, most family adults psychologically wound dependent kids, just as their own parents did. Once aware of their wounds and ignorance (lack of knowledge), family adults can reduce them and their toxic effects, and they can then...

  • intentionally protect young kids in their care from inheriting the same [wounds + unawareness] and passing them on to the next generation.

      Because of these conclusions, I believe conceiving and raising young children should be legally licensed, just as we judge the competence of vehicle operators, lawyers, CPAs, and health professionals. At the least, committed couples should be legally required to take the equivalent of this ad-free online educational course. The risk of not doing is the gradual degradation and collapse of our society, which is already occurring.

      This nonprofit Web site and  the related videos exist to explain and justify these proposals.

      Pause and reflect: how do you feel about what you just read? How do you think typical parents and grandparents would feel about these proposals?

Reality Check

      I expect you to be skeptical and/or opposed to these unpleasant premises - specially if you're a parent. If so, I invite you to validate these basic premises now:

  • inherited psychological wounds: review these common behavioral traits of wounded people. What percentage of average adults and older teens would you say have many of these traits?

      Now review these behavioral traits of people whose personalities are ruled by "false selves" and true Selves. Having many false-self traits suggests ineffective parenting and significant psychological wounding in early childhood.

  • inherited unawareness and ignorance: get distracted, and patiently take each of these quizzes to gauge your knowledge:

      Now write down your opinion of what - specifically - typical young kids need in order to grow into healthy independent adults. Compare your list to this one.

      I propose that effective parents - and other well-nurtured adults- should be able to answer every one of these quiz questions. Can YOU? Do you agree that to be effective, parents would need to know, model, and teach all these basic ideas? Did your grandparents do this for your parents?

    Imagine couples of any age who want to conceive, foster, and/or adopt young kids being legally required to "pass" these quizzes.  Few could, because (a) their parents never learned or taught these things, and (b) our schools and media don't teach them, so far.

  • Final reality check: read this proposal of how [wounds + unawareness] get unintentionally passed down the generations, silently crippling young adults, families, and societies.. Do you agree with this idea? Has it affected your family members? To answer that, see how many of these traits of high-nurturance families your clan has.

      SO - If you are - or may be - responsible for preparing young kids for healthy independent living, what should you do?


Get the big picture: finish reading this article before you follow any underlined links.

      __ 1)  Prepare: accept that if you choose to help raise anyone's minor child, you are directly responsible for protecting each such child from inheriting crippling wounds and ignorance.

      __ 2)  Learn: Study online ''lesson 1'' in this Web site with an open mind, and evaluate yourself for inherited psychological wounds. If you're in a committed relationship, ask your partner to do this with you.

      __ 3)  Recover: If you are "significantly wounded" (in your opinion), commit to patient personal healing. I recommend Internal-family System (IFS) therapy as a cost-effective way to do that. If you're considering relationship commitment (e.g. marriage), beware of making these three common mistakes that needy, wounded people make.

      __ 4)  Learn more: patiently study at least lessons 2 thru 6 over several months with your partner. It provides the vital knowledge that any minor child need to become a stable, independent adult and parent. As each child grows, intentionally model and teach them your version of these ideas and skills. If you don't - who will?

      __  5)  Before you conceive, foster, or adopt a child, use these criteria to see if you adults are ready for that major multi-decade responsibility. If you're in a stepfamily, discuss these conception pros and cons.

      __  6) Use this worksheet of kids' normal developmental needs needs to guide and monitor and your parenting efforts. Use these guidelines for communicating and disciplining (guiding) your kids as they grow.

      If minor kids in your life have experienced parental separation, divorce, and re/marriage, use these additional special needs to guide and track your co-parenting efforts, Note that separation and divorce is strong evidence that each mate and their respective parents are psychologically wounded and unaware.

      __ 7)  Balance: As you work steadily to fill each dependent child's needs, stay aware of your own dynamic mix of primary needs and work to fill them too, without guilt. It's OK to be Self-ish (capital "S") - i.e. to rank your needs as equally important as your kids' needs

      __  8)  Periodically use this comparison as a quick check on whether your child is developing an effective true Self or not. 

      __  9)  Educate others on what you're learning, starting with your family members. and your kids' teachers, doctors, nannies, and coaches.

      __ 10)  Commit to making a high-nurturance (functional) family, and learn how to avoid low-nurturance settings - e.g. neighborhoods, schools, social-groups, and churches.

      Based on the premises at the top of this article, I propose that adults choosing to implement these suggestions are most likely to be judged as effective (vs. "good") parents and grandparents. They won't be able to validate that until their kids try to live on their own.   


      This Lesson-6 article proposes that most parents are ineffective because of...

  • inherited psychological wounds from early-childhood abandonment, neglect, and abuse (trauma); and

  • unawareness of themselves and some vital knowledge - including kids' developmental and special needs.

The article offers 10 specific suggestions for adults responsible for nurturing someone's minor kids.

      Effective parenting is the keystone to protecting your living and unborn children from the lethal [wounds + unawareness] cycle. Lesson 6 offers a framework of specific resources to promote effective parenting.

   If you're in a stepfamily (or may be), read about stepkids and effective co-parenting.

      For more perspective on the ideas in this article,

      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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