Defining Success as a Parent

By Timothy L. Sanford, MA, LPC
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Get into the mind-set that everything you do as a parent ultimately is part of validating or nurturing your children.

Regardless of your parenting situation, you can erase “control” from your job description and add “validate and nurture.” While you’re at it, don’t forget all that fine print about paying for things, coaching your daughter’s soccer team, correcting your son’s awful table manners, sitting through countless piano recitals, teaching spiritual values and how to balance a checkbook, driving all over town, disciplining, encouraging, saying no at times and yes at others, setting boundaries and repeating all this as needed.

In doing this year after year, you greatly increase the opportunity for your teenager to choose what’s wise and right. Even though you can’t control the final outcome, you’ve stacked the deck in your child’s favor. That’s what your job as a parent is.

Get into the mind-set that everything you do as a parent ultimately is part of validating or nurturing your children, especially during their teen years — preferably in ways they don’t consider offensive or embarrassing.

And don’t forget that it’s not about being perfect or exactly “right.”

It’s about “enough.”

Relax. You can do these things. And while there may be hard times, you can do them successfully, even if your teenager doesn’t turn out “right” — now or later.

Remember, the results aren’t in your hands.

The clearer you are about this job description, the more able you’ll be to maintain a balanced approach to this thing called control.

Taken from Losing Control & Liking It, a Focus on the Family book published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Copyright © 2009, Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.

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Understand How to Respect and Love your Son Well

Why doesn’t my son listen to me? Have you ever asked that question? The truth is, how you see your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. In fact, we’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.
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About the Author

Timothy L. Sanford, MA, LPC

Tim Sanford is a licensed professional counselor and the Clinical Director of Counseling Services for Focus on the Family’s counseling department. He is also a pastor, a public speaker and the author of several books, the most recent being Forgive for Real: Six Steps to Forgiving. Tim and his wife Becky have two grown daughters and reside in Colorado.

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