Father’s Day has come and gone, but the importance of parental nurture, tough love and firm discipline remains.

Dr. John Rosemond, a nationally renowned columnist and family psychologist, recently visited our community and shared many challenging insights for parents. Rosemond is a no-nonsense advocate for assertive and affirmative parenting.

As you look to strengthen your approach to parenting and grandparenting, consider some of Rosemond’s strategies:

  • Pay more attention to your marriage—or yourself if you are a single parent—than you do to your children. Your marriage, if it is strong and satisfying, will give your children more security than any amount of attention. If you are single, your sense of self-respect and fulfillment as a person can act as the same sort of anchor for children.
  • Expect your children to obey. Don’t apologize for decisions you make in their lives. Children need powerful parents upon whom they can count to be authoritative. You are in charge of the family.
  • Nurture your children’s responsibility within this structure. Allow them to make choices, and let them know that they must accept the outcomes. From an early age, expect them to make regular, tangible contributions to the family. That means chores they don’t get paid for. And it means letting your children take responsibility for their own actions.
  • Say no and say it often. If the response is a tantrum, so be it. Exposure to frustration prepares children for the realities of adulthood and gives them a tolerance of frustration that eventually develops perseverance—a key ingredient to every success story. Your obligation is not to make your children happy, but to give them the skills to pursue happiness on their own.
  • Where toys are concerned, less is more. Having too many toys destroys a young child’s ability to make creative decisions. If a youngster has too many options, he becomes overwhelmed and can’t decide what to play with.
  • Turn off the tube. Children need to play so they can develop basic competency skills, learned by touching and exploring their environment. Nothing happens when a child sits passively in front of a television screen.
  • Don’t be intimidated by the experts. Use suggestions and ideas that make sense to you, but remember that all parents make mistakes now and then … and children aren’t permanently scarred by it. Raise your children your way and enjoy it.

Barry Howard is senior minister of First Baptist Church in Corbin, Ky.

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