February 2009-First 5 Qualities of a Mentoring Parent
Dr. Fogarty, author of Over-Indulged Children-A Parent's Guide to Mentoring, outlines 10 qualities of the mentoring parent. The material from this parenting tip is from a workshop I attended in January 2004, entitled, Too Much, Too Soon...Over-Indulged Children-Dealing with at-risk youth and their enabling parents.
Quality #1-Increase Time Spent With Children, To Mentor More Thoroughly
Mentoring parents pursue more time to be with and influence their children. Parents need to carve out more time to spend with their children. Because of our culture that emphasizes materialism and too much freedom, some parents may rationalize their lack of involvement with their children by keeping their children happy in the above ways.
Quality #2-Promote Truth and Reality, Which is the Cure for Cognitive Distortions
Mentoring parents have a deep commitment to truth and reality. They help their children manage truth and reality that is easy to accept, as well as truth and reality that is painful.
Quality #3-Promote Unique Talents and Skills
In order to help your child discover their own interests and skills, it is important to help your child acquire dependency, interdependency and self-reliance.
In terms of dependency, this is a helpful and temporary skill used when going through a loss or painful time. Children need to rely on parents sometimes and accept support. However, over-dependency stops children from acquiring important and special skills of their own.
Interdependency is the sharing and agreement between people. Learning how to have a mutual relationship is essential for future long term relationships and marriages.
Self-reliance is having confidence in own's judgement and acting on that. For example, in terms of studying for a test, parents can help but the child is the one ultimately responsible for taking the test.
Quality #4-Unconditional Love
Unconditional love is not permisiveness. It is understanding that unconditional love allows children to experience firm consequences for their misbehavior and helping them create self-guidance. Some parents believe that "If my child has a negative emotional experience, it will hurt my child's self-esteem." Discipline is not hurting children. It is allowing them to experience a full range of consequences for their behavior.
Quality #5-Normal Emotions are Healthy Emotions
Mentoring parents realize that children have a full range of emotions, which can help children create self-guidance. Indulgent parents distract their children from uncomfortable emotions with more indulgence, instead of teaching children to manage uncomfortable emotions.
The 6-10 qualities of being a mentoring parent will be in the March 2009 parenting tip.