Sunday, October 21, 2012

Andy Stanley Parenting Tips

Kids (Photo credit: JamSmooth)
Inspiration can come from a lot of different sources and recently I followed a series of messages from Northpoint Church that was entitled Future Family. In one of the sessions, Andy Stanley the pastor of the church and his wife talked about things they learned and advice they have followed as parents.  It was a pretty brave and informative session because no matter what standards or guidelines you follow as a parent, most people are pretty quick to criticize and correct someone else's style.  Whether we are successful or not with our own children we are often quick to point out the mistakes of others. There was a lot of great content in the message but here is one part that I thought was so powerful, I said to myself and plenty of other friends, "I wish someone had told me that years ago when my children were young."  The Stanleys said that one of the guidelines they learned and followed was to focus on the following things at the following ages:

1-5 years:  Discipline
5-12 years:  Training
12-18  Coaching
18+   Friendship

I believe this is a great strategy!  Just having a conceptual framework for the task at hand can often give us clarity in specific situations.  This doesn't mean of course that you can't enjoy your children at younger ages or even be friends.  It also doesn't mean that a parent tries to mold children into a style or direct them in things that aren't of interest to them.  It does mean that the main focus in early years is developing character traits, discipline and self-control that will serve them well in later life.  In the series, Andy points out that he has talked with many parents who have parenting backwards.  In other words, they try to be friends and well liked by their children during the time when they should be discipling and training them and then resort to discipline when they should be coaching.  Instead, following these guidelines  strengthens and deepens family relationships.  It steers children and young adults into habits of success.

Much of what a counselor does in the elementary school guidance lessons could be considered training. Whenever I teach a lesson on responsibility, good citizenship, generosity etc, I am always looking for some good books that illustrate concrete examples of this behavior.  Here are some great books to go along with many of these lessons:  Kids of Character, published by Gareth Stevens Publishing.  In particular I've used:  I am Responsible and I Am Helpful for lessons on resonsibility and cooperation.

What about you?  Do you feel this framework provides a good guideline for parents to focus on throughout the parenting years?  Would you change or add to it?

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  1. thought-provoking POV...i can't imagine what type of discipline you are referring to for 1-2 year olds? unless you mean role modeling self-discipline? i also can't ever imagine being 'friends' with my kids at any age. i'm not sure if our disagreement there is mostly semantics...

  2. mantras by my mother who explained what it means to him and he became very enthusiastic about chanting the mantras. Following this, double jogging stroller

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