Becoming a Better Parent

Author: Debbie Houston

Parenting is the most important and best job you and I will ever have. Just think about it—we get to help a baby, child, teenager, college student and young adult grow up to be happy, healthy, capable, contributing people who bless the world.

It is also the hardest! As a matter of fact, babies do not come with a handbook full of no-fail techniques, however, parents can grow and learn! How you yourself were raised has probably left you with a list of “I will do this in my family too” or “I want to make sure that I do _____ just as my parents did.” I also bet you have a list of “I will not do this with my children” or “I will never say ____________” or “I will be a better parent.” This is not to slam your parents (most did what they thought was right and good for you), but to acknowledge that great parenting is difficult and most parents today desire more skills than just how they were raised.

Perhaps you’ve read books that have guided your thinking and behaviors (I have a top ten list), taken a class to help you learn (Developing Capable Young People, Positive Discipline, classes at your place of worship or recommended by someone), attended a session to hear from an author or speaker (How to Help your Child Learn to Read, Bullyproofing your Child or Toilet Training) or joined parenting groups. Congratulations! You are already choosing to grow and learn to be more effective as a parent.

DCYPAs a parent, I found myself yelling more often than I ever dreamed, regretting some things I said or wish I had and feeling frustrated when I did not know what to do. Stephen Glenn’s Developing Capable Young People class helped my husband and I be better parents. Using positive discipline helped us be better parents. Reading a variety of books gave us a better understanding, sound principles and more strategies. Parenting your children can be difficult, but fortunately, effective parenting principles and skills can be learned.

I believe most parents want great kids and they want to be excellent and responsible parents to their children. I encourage you to read, study, attend a class, and find a way to grow as a parent. If you value learning how to be more responsible, capable, effective and positive as a parent, then your children and you receive the benefits.

I have read many books on parenting and education and have a long list of those that have mattered to me. Here are four of my favorites:

Raising Self-Reliant Children in a Self-Indulgent World: Seven Building Blocks for Developing Capable Young People by H. Stephen Glenn and Jane Nelsen

Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen

Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting by Dr. Laura Markham
No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame by Janet Lansbury