Parenting Roles, Part 1

May 14, 2014 by



At different stages of parenting we believe your roles somewhat change. The constant is being a parent, effective and involved in the life of your child. Loving and nurturing them, caring for them, supporting, encouraging, and directing them along the maturation journey is what we must always be about as parents.

But at different stages our roles somewhat change. Although these roles and responsibilities are not linear and change as our child grows, in general terms these roles are more characteristic of the way in which we guide, train, and lead them.

conductorConductor-This is orchestrating so much of all their life when they are young. You teach them to learn to eat, talk, walk, tie their shoes, have proper attitude, etc. It is comparable to a Conductor of an orchestra — teaching each one to play the role they are designed to play. If a note is not correct, he corrects and guides. We guide our small children in the littlest of things, but remain very involved and very direct, as they get older including helping them to pick friends.

We need to establish very good habits and for us, parenting with a plan, including values of which to live by, guide us. Early on development requires us to be very hands on, like a conductor, to make sure each note is as correct as possible. We allow them to make mistakes, but are right there to pick them up or correct as needed.

For example, we teach them to ride a bike. We do not tell them how to do it and then send them out on their own. We show them. We hold onto the bike and run alongside, and we slowly begin to release them, at times re-grabbing to steady them, and yes, even have to catch up to them when they fall to start over again. The conductor role is often that of very focused teaching and training.

I remember when Gabby was very small she had a chore as a part of the family. This one happened to be putting silverware in the drawer from the dishwasher. She was so small she needed a small, blue stool to stand on. We would then have to literally hold her hand, direct her to grab a spoon or fork herself with our hand on hers as she put it in the silverware drawer. Obviously, it didn’t take too long for her to grow and do this herself. Like your kids, as they grew, they could take on more responsibilities.

coach MurphyCoach– As they get older, pre-teen and teenage years, we began to move more into a coaching kind of role. Now Jerolyn and I are leadership coaches, but we are thinking more of athletic coaches. They call the plays, but the players have to execute them. They begin to make these decisions and choices as we guide and help them. We talk about this as handing off the baton of values and life decisions. We are attempting to help them, like a coach, in executing “the plays” properly.

A coach often talks of technique, thought processes, etc. as a player gets more experienced and abilities increase. They do not talk about how to hit or field, but instead about thinking ahead, making an adjustment, etc.  Then the athlete has to decide how to proceed and execute. So it is in this role for us as parents. Coaching still instructs and teaches but gives more of the execution of decisions and actions to our child. Again, in all stages we believe all of these roles continue as you move back and forth through life maturation with your child.

How can you improve your parenting in the stage you are in?

Check back on Tuesday for Part 2 of Parenting Roles.

~ Jim


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