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25 Stupid Mistakes Parents Make [Secure eReader]
eBook by Peter Jaksa, Ph.D.

eBook Category: Self Improvement
eBook Description: In 25 Stupid Mistakes Parents Make, author Peter Jaska identifies 25 parenting pitfalls, providing a forum to address essential areas ranging from discipline and sibling rivalry to privacy and critical thinking.

eBook Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies, Published: 2002
Fictionwise Release Date: June 2002




Introduction

"I'm a parent -- now what?"

There are no perfect parents.

Good, we got that out of the way. Trying to be a perfect parent makes as much sense as trying to have perfect children. It creates unreasonable pressures and a sense of failure and inadequacy. It is an expectation doomed to failure, and before it fails it will make your life miserable.

Let's be realistic from the outset: being a good parent does not require perfection, but it does require doing the right things as a parent most of the time. The "right" things involve a combination of love, discipline, teaching, and guidance, a process that goes on from birth to adulthood -- and in some ways even in adulthood. Being a parent is a job that we never outgrow. This book is about learning, and doing, those fundamental "right" things that make good parents and help raise healthy children. Good parenting requires strong helpings of love, patience, common sense, the ability to learn and adapt, and the willingness to provide guidance and discipline even through the toughest times while your children are growing up. Do that consistently enough and you will earn your parent wings. This book can help lay the groundwork for being a very good parent.

The bad news is, it is also very possible to be a bad parent. Bad parenting comes in part from neglecting to do what responsible parents need to do. Bad parenting also comes from doing some truly horrendous, destructive things that damage children, marriages, and families. This book is also about avoiding the serious mistakes that can cause real and lasting harm. Sometimes the mistakes parents make are not intentional at all, and may even be the result of very good intentions. Few if any parents say to themselves, "well, we're about to get divorced, why don't we tear the kids to pieces emotionally in the process?" The intent to hurt the children may not be there, but it is sad and disturbing how often hurting children is the result. If you're a parent with young children and contemplating divorce, please read : The Perils of Divorce. Don't do the things I ask divorced parents not to do, and you (and your children) will come out far ahead. Some parenting "mistakes" are too serious to ignore or tiptoe around. If this book can prevent even one or two of these mistakes in the lives of your children, then it will serve its purpose.

This book is not about gimmicks. Communication or relationship gimmicks are not required for good parenting, and in fact may be a detriment to honesty, respect, and trust. The search for gimmicks is usually related to the desire for a quick fix or a magical solution. Good parents know instinctively that there are no quick fixes or hocus pocus for the challenges of parenting and the many problems children may encounter in growing up. Good parenting takes dedication, enormous amounts of caring, and perseverance in doing what you know is right even when you want to give up or believe that things are hopeless. Good parenting takes knowledge and lots of work. This book can provide some of the knowledge. You have to provide the work.

Good parenting does not happen in isolation. The best parenting happens within a family where affection, trust, and respect flourish. This is a recurrent theme that I found myself coming back to while writing many of the chapters in this book. It does not matter if a family consists of two people or ten, the quality of relationships within that family is crucial to the well-being of every person. A healthy family makes for fewer serious parent-child problems, and often makes parenting a joyous occasion. An unhealthy family can make the parent's job much, much more difficult. The importance of the family, and things that parents can do to strengthen their families, is something that is touched on often in this book and for very good reason. Being part of a close family involves giving, sharing, being honest about good and bad things, sacrificing, nurturing, and supporting each other. Every relationship is enriched under those conditions, not the least the parent-child relationship.

In closing I must offer thanks to my own parents, who struggled under tremendously difficult conditions at times to raise seven children into responsible and caring adults. Their ability to overcome challenges and adversity, and keep the family together and strong through it all, has earned my respect and admiration for them as individuals and for the importance of good parenting in general. I would also like to thank the several hundred families and parents with whom I have worked over the past twenty years. Each family is unique in its own way, yet all share the same common needs for cooperation, security, belonging and closeness. I have learned something from each of them. I hope that some of the collective wisdom is returned and communicated to others who read this book.

Copyright © 1998 by Peter Jaksa


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