Consistently Changing Parenting

by PJ McClure on July 8, 2013

 Remember when you could lay your child down, turn your back for a moment, and they would still be there when you turned back to them? That lasts for a few months and then all bets are off.

As they grow and become more comfortable with themselves and their environment, our methods of handling them have to move just as quick. We learn to have diapers and wipes in position before removing our hands. That tactic gives way to a one-handed operation because they’re so darn quick, taking both hands away is out of the question!

The point is; kids grow and our methods of interaction with them need to grow too or we’re in serious trouble.

Adapting to their maturing needs, concerns, and intellects requires all of us to accept the fact that successful parenting isn’t a place we reach and stay. At the same time, our kids need to see consistency in who we are and where our parenting comes from. So how?

Believe it or not, the most successful business managers can teach us a lot. They face many of the same challenges and constantly seek ways to get results in ever-changing environments. Knowing we can all benefit, here are 5 tips for staying relevant, consistent, and in touch with the changing needs of your kids (or employees).

Be in the moment – It is nearly impossible to address the real needs of another if we’re thinking of something from the past or future. Especially when it doesn’t have anything to do with the person we’re dealing with. Focus and stay authentically involved in what is going on. Ask yourself, “What is going on right now?”

Remember your place – As the parent, you have the authority so there is no real need to flaunt it. Take comfort in the fact that you have the last word and let down your defenses in an attempt to really understand what is going on with your kids. You might not always succeed and you don’t have to let bad behavior go unpunished, but the attempt will be appreciated.

Listen twice as much – Yes, it’s a cliché but it’s true! If we will hold our words and listen, we may discover things that change the landscape. One technique to listening more is to take a deep breath instead of saying the first thing that pops into your mind. Use this extra breath to slow yourself down, consider all the angles, and perhaps avoid some arguments.

Consistent, not concrete – More important than understanding our children is understanding ourselves. Why do we take the stands we do? Why do some actions deserve discipline and others don’t? By understanding our ‘whys’ we can maintain consistency as our children and situations change. Applying the spirit of our reasons allows us to stay on target without becoming inflexible.

Grow with them – No one is immune from the need to grow. That includes us… Kids grow by default for a while, but it is important for us as parents to instill a love of personal growth. How are you getting better and do your kids see your hunger to be your best? As we all grow together, we see things change. As they change, a firm basis of personal growth allows us to re-evaluate our parenting to make sure we are still accomplishing what our kids need.

Kids don’t stop and neither should we. Stay active, stay relevant, and never think we have arrived. 

Be your best,



Christine Pirkey November 7, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Great article, PJ, and one that is sorely needed in today’s society. There are so many negatives today that are coming at children that they must fight constantly to stand above the onslaught, and parents, even as busy as they are, can help by being available to them for even a few moments when they are especially needed. I would only add to your post that it is also important to be aware of the unspoken messages that children sometimes convey when they are in need. For in instance, if your teen suddenly begins to follow you around the house making small talk while you are trying to catch up on housework (or office work) that you’ve put off doing until the last minute, and your nerves are stretched to the limit, take an instant to wonder why this strange behavior is happening. It just may be that she desperately needs to confide in you, and she doesn’t know how to approach the subject.
Chris Pirkey

PJ McClure November 7, 2011 at 1:26 pm

I love that addition Christine! It is often the unspoken that says the most.

Thanks so much.

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