Parenting can be one of the most difficult jobs on earth. Doing it well can be even more of a challenge. According to H. Wallace Goddard, “Good parenting is not easy, and it doesn’t come naturally. But it is possible.”
In his recently revised and updated book “The Soft-Spoken Parent” (Walnut Springs Press, $17.99), Goddard teaches parents to understand the origins and effects of anger. He shares 55 useful insights for those striving to improve their parenting skills.
Some of the tips that Goddard offers are:
Get your heart right : Parents can get their heart right by doing things that cause them to be more tender, loving, patient and compassionate.
Just listen: Parents can learn a great deal about their children by spending time completely focused on listening to them.
Be on the same team: Parents and children are not on opposing teams. Children have the same ultimate goal as their parents — to return to live with Heavenly Father.
Choose to see the good: Parents should make a conscious effort to see the good in their children and point it out to them at every opportunity.
Get help: Parenting can often be overwhelming. Whenever necessary, parents should seek help from other friends, extended family, other parents and/or professionals.
Keep your eye on eternity: An eternal perspective can help parents remember that their children are also God’s children. They are divine in nature and heritage.
Invest five minutes to save an hour: Spending just five minutes focusing complete attention on children can often avoid an hour or more of struggling with them later.
Point them to God: Parents have thousands of opportunities to help their children recognize that their Heavenly Father is involved in their lives and to teach them to trust in him.
Emulate Jesus Christ: When parents do their best to follow the Savior's example, they become more patient, gentle, kind and loving to their children.
Get God's help: Heavenly Father has entrusted parents with his children. He wants them to be successful. If they will pray and ask for his help, he will provide it.
Goddard is a professor of family life for the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. He and his wife Nancy are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They have three adult children, 10 grandchildren and have cared for 20 foster children over their 37 years of marriage.
Sandra Nazar lives, writes and blogs in Oklahoma with her husband and five children. She blogs at www.sincerelysandra.net