Why These Seven Principles??
These seven principles offer key insights into fruitful ways of being with your child and guiding your child’s development. Two are highly effective general ways of being, two offer suggestions for living well with the realities of life, two are core parenting strategies and one urges you to ….. enjoy.
The first two principles, “Love Genuinely” and “Interact Respectfully,” underlie all warm, authentic relationships, whether among family, friends or even co-workers. Between parent and child, enacting these principles creates a strong, secure bond that will endure throughout life and that promotes a very healthy, open and positive way of being.
The third and forth principles, “Live Gratefully” and “Grow Through Difficulties,” center on effective ways to live with reality. They are both rooted in the idea that our happiness, personal development and sense of well being come not so much from what happens to us, but from what we make of what happens to us. Noticing and appreciating, being grateful for, the good things that are here for us leads to much greater contentment and richer connections to other. At the same time, since challenges and sorrows visit everyone during their lifetime, building skills to move through them effectively enables us to grow and develop. Guiding your child to do this equips him or her with qualities of courage, grit and resilience as well as with empathy and compassion for others. Together, these two principles support living with appreciation and skill.
The fifth and sixth Principles, “Scaffold Effectively” and “”Set-Up Success,” are vital parenting strategies. When something is being constructed, it needs support. Children construct themselves, with lots of support along the way. But they are the builders and the strength of their self-construction lies in part on how they are scaffolded. Good scaffolding promotes development (construction) and is then removed and taken out of the way. A companion principle is guiding development in ways that set your child up to be successful. This simple but powerful idea promotes confidence, self-esteem and competence. With it, you help your child to know and understand expectations, to become comfortable and familiar with the recurring scripts and patterns that make up much of daily life, and to envision goals, planning realistically how to achieve them.
The seventh and final Principle, “Have Fun,” draws your attention away from all the serious effort to parent brilliantly, from all the pressures you impose on yourself (and on your child) to be perfect, from your obsession with crossing things off your interminable “To Do” list. This is your life. It is for living and enjoying. This is your child, who will only grow up once. The most important thing of all is to enjoy your life and your child. Take it in. Play. Be surprised. Be open. Have Fun.
Together, these Seven Principles nurture both you and your child and help you give your child the true gift of parents. It’s been said in a number of ways, by a number of people, but I believe the original comment comes from the 18th Century German poet, Johann Goethe:
“Two things children should get from their parents: roots and wings.”
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