Don’t Parent – Mentor!

Parents have the most important job in the world – raising the next generation – without so much as a “how-to” manual or guidebook. No wonder today’s parents are scrambling to figure out how to do this all-consuming, unpredictable job in a rapidly-changing society. Are you too strict? Too permissive? How will you know? What are some specific, doable strategies to be a great parent? Here is my favorite!
Don’t give up and let society or TV or social media or peers have the most influence in your child’s life. Instead of parenting as a clone of your parents or, conversely, vowing never to do things the way you were raised, consider mentoring your offspring. What’s the difference?

1. Do what’s best for their child, from their perspective.
2. Give orders, directions, explanations – how to do things their way.
3. Do as I say, not as I do.
4. Power-over.
5. Perhaps bribe or threaten to get compliance.
6. Look for flaws, mistakes, ways to improve.
7. Wonder if they’re doing the right thing.

1. Listen to their offspring (30%-70%) to learn more about the child’s perspective.
2. Ask gentle, probing questions; together figure out how to accomplish needed tasks.
3. I do, we do, you do (gradual release of responsibility).
4. Power-with.
5. Plan together who does which jobs and how and when they’ll get done.
6. Celebrate effort and improvement.
7. Build positive relationships that last.

Children are born completely dependent upon their parents/caregivers. Ultimately, the goal is that they become fully-functioning, independent adults who choose to continue a positive relationship with their parent. Parents want each child to achieve his/her full potential, whether it is academic, emotional, social, relational, financial. Parents as mentors can help each child discover their gifts, talents, interests, strengths, as well as help them discover and overcome those obstacles preventing success in life.
Shift your perspective. See your child, not as an extension of yourself, but as a human being with interests, personality, strengths, and challenges. Then mentor to bring out the best in that person. Your love and commitment to that persons’ ultimate development will build a bond of trust and motivation for each of you.

Laura J. Pickering, veteran teacher, parent, grandparent, and mentor reveals the missing piece; parents, grandparents, even teachers, receive no training on how to mentor to inspire others to do their best.

Author's Bio: 

Laura Jane (Fernandez-Troxel) Pickering

I was born the eldest of four children to a working-class poor family. I got my looks from my Anglo father, but my intelligence, empathy, and positive outlook from my Latina mother. We grew up in trailer parks, but I took to learning like a sponge takes to water. I graduated with multiple scholarships, all expenses paid to my choice of university anywhere in the USA.

I earned a BA in English (summa cum laude), another degree in Curriculum and Instruction when my sons were in high school, and an MA in Teacher Leadership in 2008. I’ve been teaching 40 years (10 of those at home on a cattle ranch with my children).

I believe the most positive impact any human being can have for others is to mentor them to become their best. A mentor knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. A mentor encourages and inspires; they don’t manipulate or threaten.

This year I’m teaching a grand-daughter of one of my first students! My former students are FB friends and invite me to stay in their homes. Some phone, email, or stop me on the street to ask advice about their children or their lives. It feels good to love and serve so many and to know I made a positive difference in their lives. I’m on a mission to help others learn how to be “difference makers” as mentors. How can I help and serve you?