Husband hugs wife, check boxes on the left

Recently we had a parent ask, “Am I doing a good job in raising this young man, and what can I do better?”

Today we wanted to share a basic checklist of things by which to evaluate and answer this question.

Our process, “Parenting: The Biggest Job,” is named so because we want parents to start thinking about parenting as a job. When you have a job, you take responsibility for things; you take your job seriously, not yourself; you try to keep a positive attitude; you try to inspire those around you. Sound familiar?

With parenting, there are many similarities. Go through the “Good Parenting Checklist” and see how many of these you are currently doing:

 I take responsibility for raising this child to be accountable to life. I take hold where I need to and let go where I need to.

 I keep the bar high and allow my child to go after things where he or she might fail as opposed to parenting from fear of my child’s worst (trying to keep him or her from getting into trouble/ failing / being unhappy)

 I encourage my child to go after things that might exceed her or his grasp.

 I trust that my child will learn from his or her failures.

 I help my child learn from her or his failures.

 I parent from a set of principles.

 My child knows what these principles are.

 I am teaching my child to live from his or her own moral compass.

 I am modeling attitudes in my own life that I would like to see in my child.

 I show respect for those around me, including people who can do nothing for me.

 I believe in my child’s unique potential and the larger forces at work.

 I believe in my child’s unique potential and the larger forces at work.

 I ask for help.

 I share my own struggles with my child.

Let’s suppose that you have a few boxes that are unchecked. What can you do?

You can begin to do things differently, starting with the list above. You can get a parenting buddy – someone with whom you can share your goals and be held accountable. You can read the book The Biggest Job again and do the journaling at the end of each chapter. You can call or write to us.

As to the part of the question, “What can I do better,” ask your child this question: “If you had a major issue in your life, am I one of the people you would come to for help or advice?”

If the answer is yes, you’re on the right track with your parenting. You’ve developed the kind of bond that says your child trusts you; you’re moving into the coach or mentor role as a parent.

If the answer is no, find out why the answer is no, and then set about changing yourself.

We love your questions and concerns. Please let us know how it goes.

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