The Normal Parenting Manifesto

This is how it works…generally speaking:

1. Parents want to be good parents to their children.
     A. These children will, at some point, become teenagers.
     B. It IS possible to effectively parent teenagers. Even enjoy it.
2. Parents are the #1 influence on their children before their children become teenagers.
     A. How parents use these influential years (birth-11 years old) are crucial for enjoying the teen years.
3. There are two changes that WILL happen to your child as they approach the teen years:
     A. Their desire for freedom will increase.
     B. Their friends will become the #1 influence in their life. It is no longer you, Mom and Dad.
4. The summation of what good parenting is, is to use the first eleven years of a child’s life to prepare them for the influence of freedom and friends.
     A. This preparation is sometimes misunderstood, neglected or ignored.
     B. Our society is a picture of the level that parents understand and apply this.
5. It is better to be tough on your children when they are young than when they are teenagers. Much better.
6. The environment and standards parents create in the home is what our children will know as normal.
     A. Every home has a normal, whether it be bad, good or great.
     B. Here’s the crux: whatever children know as normal (bad, good or great) determines how they will respond to freedom and the influence of their friends when they are teenagers.
     C. This is also crux-ical (we made that word up): parents who want to be good parents will create a great normal for their children. Man, this is SO important.
7. A great normal includes respect, discipline, honesty, hard work, wisdom, adventure, a love for others, and a love for God,
     A. When normal includes respect, our children know how to respond to authority.
     B. When normal includes discipline, our children understand the consequences of their choices.
     C. When normal includes hard work, our children learn to go the extra mile.
     D. When normal includes wisdom, our children make better choices.
     E. When normal includes adventure, our children respond well to the curveballs of life.
     F. When normal includes a love for others our children know compassion and understanding.
     G. When normal includes a love for God, the other aspects of normal come more organically. 
          – Parents that have faith in God have a huge advantage over those that do not.
8. When freedom and friends enter the picture and something arises that is different from what our children know as a great normal, our children will know how to respond.
If you’d like to read posts that relate to the manifesto, click here.

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