Parenting by the Golden Rule

A common sense approach to parenting in a world gone wild

- Joellen Monson

Is parenting harder today that is has been in the past? You bet it is. Every generation has had its challenges and certainly some more character building than others. But our world is changing at an unparalleled rate. Values which had been taken for granted such as respect for others, honesty, good manners, helping others, pride in a job well done, saving for a rainy day, aggressive/violent behavior is unacceptable and being a good sport been cornerstones of a successful society. These days our children are facing issues which can make us feel that previous parenting skills are virtually outdated.

Well, no matter how some things change around us, basics never do! Many simple and basic standards for behavior are not outdated and are even more critical today than ever before. Underlying our actions, two simple basic rules may help. First, what are you teaching your child? By your actions, your response to their misbehavior - what will your child learn about how an adult handles a stressful situation? And what do the consequences you use for your child's behavior teach about what you value? Secondly, remember The Golden Rule? It states in essence that we should treat others as we would like to be treated. With all the chaos of activities happening around us, if we just stop and use this as our default rule for parenting, our children would grow up to be the kind of people we would enjoy having around. 

Any parenting book around will give you great details about techniques for parenting and wonderful tips for dealing with special situations - get the books you feel are of help. But when all is said and done keep remembering, "Is this how I would want someone to treat me?" Thinking of spanking? Would you want someone bigger and stronger to smack you? If you made a mistake, wouldn't you want to be given another chance? If you kept doing it, don't you think you should experience a consequence that is related to the problem that will help you learn to do better next time? What if we tried giving others the benefit of the doubt, the understanding, the respect that we want and that we all deserve.

So when the job of parenting is taking it's toll and you can't recall a thing the books advised and all else flies out of your head just remember these two…: what are you teaching your child? And treat others as we would like to be treated. If we all could remember and use these two simple foundations, the world would be a much better place.