Lesson 6 of 7 - Learn what to parent effectively

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Do You Know Enough to
Raise Young Kids?

A Qualification Exam

By Peter K. Gerlach, MSW
Member NSRC Experts Council

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The Web address of this exam is https://sfhelp.org/parent/quiz6.htm

Updated  04-10-2015

      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.

Why Does This Parenting Exam Exist?

      This brief ad-free YouTube video illustrates key things typical family adults aren't teaching their kids. The video mentions eight self-improvement lessons in this ad-free Web site. I've reduced that to seven

      Parenting is the complex social process of transforming a newborn child into a healthy, self-sufficient, productive adult member of society over two decades. Cultures agree that "it takes a village to raise a child (effectively)."

      The scope of global social problems demonstrates that most parents and villages are failing at this vital responsibility. My research as a family therapist since 1979 suggests that the reasons for this unremarked failure are...

  • Parents' inherited [psychological wounds + unawareness],

  • unintentionally passing these on to their vulnerable kids; and...

  • social unawareness and acceptance of this deadly inheritance spreading down the generations.

      The quality, productivity, and longevity of every human life - like yours - depends on how well ancestors were parented and educated. Paradoxically, modern societies don't require couples to demonstrate that they're qualified to raise a new member of society before conception  fostering, or adoption. Result: most couples and families are not qualified, causing incalculable human misery and expense

      This quiz illustrates what couples would have to know to be allowed by society to parent a child. It's like an oral Ph.D. exam. Perhaps our greatest human failing is that societies do require such an exam or teach parents how to "pass" it.

      So - if you're nurturing, coaching, or mentoring one or more minor kids (or may do so), imagine that you're seated before a group of learned examiners who represent your community. Try responding out loud to these questions one at a time.

      First - On a scale of one (totally ignorant) to ten (extremely knowledgeable), how would you rate your present knowledge of effective-parenting basics? ___  Would others who know you well agree? On the same 1-10 scale, rate the parenting knowledge of your mate ___, your mother ___, your father ___ and your grandparents ___ .

      Answers to most items are provided via links to an informational popup or another article. I suggest you take the whole exam before following any links, If there are young people in your life, keep them in mind as you respond to these items. Alternatively, think of yourself as a young child and the people who raised you.

      Options - use this exam before and after studying Lesson 6 to see what you learned. Consider tape-recording your answers, or use a separate page to write your answers so you can save and check them later, and/or discuss them with others. Check an item __ only if you can check all sub-items _.

colorbutton.gif (663 bytes)  Exam: Do You Know Enough to Raise a Child?

      Recall - "raising a child" means creating a wholistically-healthy, independent, productive member of society capable of parenting kids effectively themselves.

      The answers here are meant to promote family adults' awareness, reflection, and discussion, not to proclaim absolutes. Underlined links below will take you to other pages. Return here after reading them without following any links.

__ 1)  Pass each of these foundation quizzes about,,,

_  personalities, subselves, psychological wounds, and wound reduction .(Lesson 1)

_  effective thinking, communication, and problem-solving (Lesson 2)

_  bonding, losses, and healthy three-level grief (Lesson 3).

_  healthy relationships (Lesson 4); and...

_   high-nurturance (functional) families (Lesson 5).

I you don't know the answers to these quizzes, you're not able to teach them to your kids. Most schools don't teach these topics adequately.

__  2Define ''effective parenting'' (child-raising);

__  3)  Explain how parenting effectiveness is impacted by the lethal [wounds + unawareness] cycle.

__  4)  Explain when effective (vs. "good") parenting begins.

__  5)  Define four or more common goals of effective parenting

__  6)  Describe how couples can judge if they're ready to raise a child successfully.

__  7)  Describe...

__  8)  Describe six essential traits of effective parents.

__  9)  Define at least two criteria for judging the potential effectiveness of any parent.

__  10)  Name at least 10 traits of an ineffectively-parented teen or adult (a "Grown Wounded Child" GWC). Grown Nurtured Children (GNCs) have the opposite traits

__  11)  Name two things that effective parents usually rank higher than the welfare of their dependent kids except in emergencies. 

__  12)  Explain the purpose of family roles and rules,

__  13Describe the several purposes of child discipline.

__  14)  Summarize...

_ the two requisites for effective (vs. "open and honest") interpersonal communication;

_ seven essential skills required for effective communication,

_  ten or more common communicaton blocks; and...

_ the best way to teach kids to use these skills

__  15) Describe at least seven guidelines for effective child discipline.

__  16)  Name at least ten differences between communicating with adults vs. with typical kids and teens.

__  17) Explain _ how and _ when to teach a child how to balance work, play, and rest

__  18)  Describe......

_ when and _ how to explain a personal "life mission" and "living on purpose" to a child, and explain...

_ how to respectfully encourage a child to discover and pursue their life purpose.

__  19)  Describe why, how, and when to teach a child to be aware of...

_ themselves,

_ interactions with others, and

_ their environment.

__  20)  Describe how, why, and when to teach a child about...

_ normal personality subselves, and...

_ their true Self, and false selves; and

_   how to tell when someone's true Self is in charge; and...

_ how to best use this knowledge;

__  21)  Describe why, how, and when to teach a child how to...

_ recognize and

_ settle internal conflicts, and how to 

_ harmonize his or her ''inner family'' of personality subselves.

__  22)  Describe why, when, and how to teach a child to...

_ understand,

_ accept, and

_ assert their personal human rights effectively, with minimal guilt or anxiety.

__  23)  Describe...

_  the requisites for a mutually-satisfying relationship;

_ at least six of the key differences between a nurturing relationship and a toxic relationship; and...

_ the best way to help a child understand and use these differences;  

__  24)  Explain...

_  an interpersonal (or internal) relationship triangle

_  why triangles can be significantly stressful; and...

_  what adults can do to avoid and permanently dissolve significant triangles and...

_ how and when to teach this to a minor child.

__  25)  Explain...

_ when to start teaching a child self respect ("high self esteem") and...

_ non-egotistical pride, and...

_ how to recognize and minimize shame and embarrassment; and explain...

how to teach each of these effectively to a child, over time.

__  26Describe how to teach a child to...

_ value and invite cooperation among different people, and to

_ appreciate and enjoy (vs. judge or fear) the differences between people.

__  27)  Describe how and when to teach a child to

_ understand and

_ appreciate common gender-based (male / female) differences; and...

_ healthy sexual attitudes and practices.

__  28)  Explain how to teach a child how to make healthy choices about

_ whom to trust,

_ with what,

_  what intimacy is; and...

_ how to relate effectively to people they don't trust

__  29)  Explain how and when to teach a child how to develop, understand, and use empathy with other living things - including how to listen to others empathically.

__  30)  Describe when and how to teach a child...

_ how to differentiate abuse, aggression, assertion, and submission; and...

_ how to react appropriately to each of these.

__  31)  Describe how and when to teach a child how to...

_ analyze and _ resolve significant relationship "problems" (unmet needs).

__  32)  Explain...

_ why typical kids (and adults) may lie or withhold their truth, and...

_ how to react when they do.

__  33)  Describe...

_ what causes anger and frustration;

_ a healthy family anger policy, and...

_ how and _ when to teach a child to understand and use anger and frustration constructively.

__  34)  Describe how and when to teach a child about...

_ bonding,

_ losses (broken bonds);

_ healthy grieving,

_ how grieving and depression are related; and about...

_ personal and family grieving policies.

__  35)  Describe how and when to teach a child to manage worries and fears

__  36)  Describe how to teach a child to

_ understand guilt,

_ how to reduce excessive guilt to normal,

_ how to avoid unmerited guilt, and

_ how to react to guilt-based people.

__  37)  Explain _ when and _ how to teach a child to...

 _ take responsibility for their decisions and actions, and to

 _ give others responsibility for theirs, without excessive guilt, shame, or anxiety.

__  38)  Describe _ how and _ when to teach a minor child...

_  the difference between spirituality and religion, religion;

_ the difference between toxic vs. healthy religion.;

_ how and _ from whom to seek spiritual awareness, wisdom, and support; and...

_  how to respond to prejudice and intolerance

__  39)  Explain _ when and _ how to teach a child to

 _ develop and _ live by their own healthy sense of right and wrong,

_ how to be honest about mistakes, and...

_ how to learn from them.

__  40)  Describe how and why to teach a child

 _ how their body works,

_  how to care for their body and wholistic health; and...

_ how to manage and enjoy their sensuality and sexuality well,

__  41)  Describe how and when to teach a child...

_ what an addiction is,

_ why people become addicted, and

_ how and why to avoid enabling or scorning addicted people.

__  42)  Explain how and when to teach a child to want to balance immediate and long-tem gratification.

__  43)  Describe...

_ the main social skills a child needs to learn in order to be a self-sufficient young adult, and

_ how and when to teach them these skills.

__ 44)  Describe how and when to fill any of these normal child-development needs not covered above.

__  45)  Name at least 15 of the ~30 special adjustment needs typical kids of parental separation, death, divorce, and remarriage need adult help to fill.

      Can you think of other questions about effective parenting that should be included here? This is not a complete exam!

__ 45)  In your opinion, which of the topics above could parents omit and still be judged effective long term? Explain your answer.

__ 46)  In your opinion, can average couples considering child conception, fostering, or adoption answer all these questions thoroly and competently? Why or why not?

__ 47)  Do you feel average mental health and family-law judges and attorneys could pass tins exam?

__ 48)  Do you feel teen and adult couples should be legally required to

_ attend a class on all these topics, and then...

_ pass a version of this exam, before being permitted to raise young children?

Why or Why not?

      Option - Take a break, and then thoughtfully prioritize the questions in this parenting exam from most important to least. Notice what criteria you use to do this.

      Pause and reflect - what are you thinking and feeling now? On a scale of one (totally ignorant) to ten (extremely knowledgeable), now how would you rate your knowledge of effective-parenting basics? ___  Would others who know you well agree?

      On the same 1-10 scale, rate the parenting knowledge of your mate ___, your mother ___, your father ___ and your grandparents ___. Did your ratings change from the first time you did this?

      What did you just learn?

What Now?

      If you found all these items overwhelming, easy does it. I've found very few experienced family adults who could accurately answer more than a third of these parenting questions. Most of our parents and grandparents didn't know many of these things when they were raising us, and many human-service professionals were never taught them all (!) 

      I hope this exam motivates you to learn more about the vital art and skill of effective parenting. Is there anyone you want to give a copy of this exam to or refer to this Web article?


  • re-read this parenting exam, identify the links that intrigue you, and follow each of them over some days or weeks to learn what's there.

  • find a motivated partner to study and discuss these questions with you.

  • if you haven't recently, review these Q&A items about effective parenting;

  • If you're a grandparent (or may be), see this.

  • If you're in a parenting or PTO/PTA group, consider discussing these questions with other members.

  • If you're in a single-parent family or stepfamily, see this.

  • If you're considering fostering or adopting a child, see this..


      This "oral examination" exists to alert you to (1) how much typical family adults need to know and teach young kids to promote healthy adult independence, and (2) how most parenting adults and schools are (probably) failing to educate their kids on many (most?) of these vital topics.

      Effective parenting is one of two ways to guard young kids from inheriting lethal [wounds + unawareness] and life-long personal misery. The other way is public awareness and corrective action.

      Continue studying Lesson 6 (learn effective parenting). If you're in a stepfamily (or may be), there's more on effective co-parenting in Lesson 7.

       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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