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Why do Most Parents Receive Little or No Training to Parent Effectively?

Mar 1, 2008
Have you ever wondered about why this is true?

I have thought about this many times during my 30-plus years as a psychologist. I have counseled thousands of couples and single parents about parenting issues and challenges.

And the following fact still amazes me:

The biggest responsibility in the life of most adults is the raising of our children. It can be an awesome responsibility; however, despite the importance of child rearing, most people receive little or no training in the process.

It has been suggested that in our society more attention is given to the licensing of teenagers to drive cars than to the ability or inability of persons to effectively raise their children.

If you are biologically capable, you can become a parent.

What greater resource to assure the future does any generation have than our children? But how are we managing this resource?

If this generation of parents cannot raise our children any more effectively than we were raised, we cannot expect the next generation to be more emotionally stable, more rational, or happier.

You need only to look at the rising crime rate, the increased use of drugs, the large number of broken families, and the rapid increase in mental health disorders, to realize that previous generations of parents perhaps could have done a better job of parenting.

With the added stresses placed on families today, the task of parenting, unfortunately, is becoming even more important. Behavior problems are becoming more common in more and more families.

During many thousands of counseling sessions, these messages keep coming in loud and clear:

Parents with disobedient, distractible, overactive, moody children typically feel frustrated and angry. Many parents have told me that they feel trapped in a bad situation with no easy exit; everything they have tried in the past has failed.

I have had parents tell me that they feel cheated and duped because they were led to believe that parenthood was so wonderful, yet for them it has been so difficult.

Many parents, especially mothers, have told me that they feel like failures as persons because they are not fulfilling their conception of what a good parent should be.

In almost ALL cases, parents with difficult children report that they feel they are not in control of their children and are, instead, simply reacting to the behavior of their children. These parents give the impression that they are not really raising their children but, rather, their children are raising them.

I have never met a child who knew more about child raising than his or her parents did. To feel loved and secure, children must be effectively guided and disciplined by their parents. Parents must lead, not simply react.

In short, we must become the best possible managers we can be of our children.
About the Author
Larry Waldman, Ph.D., psychologist and author, is one of the leading parenting and relationship authorities in the United States. To find out how to improve your family relationships, visit his web site at: http://www.the-relationship-doctor.com.
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