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Balanced Parenting

          Our children are one of the few things in our lives that don't come with a manual and definitely can't be returned. Parenting is the most important job you will have in this world/ I work with many parents trying to teach them how to be balanced and more effective. Balance is hard because parents don't want to be too laid back yet don't want to police their children either.
          In college in my child development classes, I learned that children actually crave fair and consistent rules and boundaries within a loving and nurturing environment. This sure sounds simple enough but takes an incredible amount of hard work. An environment to strict or not strict enough can produce a child, teen, or young adult with many issues. There must be room for compromise when you are parenting fair and effectively. Consequences for behaviors that are not permissible or rude or defiant must be put in place every time those behaviors are shown. On the other hand rewards should be used consistently for behaviors that are positive. Consistent consequences will help to extinguish negative behaviors, while consistent rewards will help to increase positive behaviors. Also remember to team parent and to not negate each others parenting, as this tends to cause the young person to learn manipulation as a means to get what they want.
         Many people trying to be good parents and working to build strong families need to work on how to listen. We need to teach and model this skill to everybody in our family. Don't get caught up in the same conversation over and over and expect different results. Take the time to teach everybody in your family effective communication skills. Also insist that mutual respect must be shown to everybody in the family. Once you allow your children or anybody to disrespect you are telling them that this is an okay way to behave.
Remember you only get one chance to be great parents!!!!!
This article was written by Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T. Nancy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Nancy runs free family support groups, a group on loss for seniors, and groups for teens. For more information about any of these services feel free to page her at (626) 935-3818. You may email Nancy at [email protected]. You may purchase Nancy's new book Live Heal and Grow at or at