It’s a Journey, It’s an Understanding, It’s a Voice, and It’s a Choice…
It’s a Journey: Every child is on a journey. We call it the Journey to Independence. This journey is good… right…and natural. This journey is one which the child travels through many stages and passes through several key milestones of development. The five key stages are those of Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle School, High School, College / Adulthood.
It’s an Understanding: The child is not the only one on this journey. Dads and moms are on a similar journey. Their journey also includes stages and key milestones and major transitions. Principally speaking – Children who navigate their stages well and become strong mature adults have parents that have navigated their journey of development appropriately as well. As a child crosses from one key developmental stage into another, there are many changes that take place. These changes are physical, emotional, social, and mental.
It’s a Voice: When a parent crosses into a new developmental stage there are changes as well. Their change occurs in the way in which their child listens and receives instruction.
In the early childhood ages, a parent’s primary voice is that of PROTECTION. As a parent of a 0-5 year old, it’s all about keeping them safe. We want them to be safe physically, emotionally, and spiritually. As they move into the elementary years, a parent’s primary voice shifts into that of TEACHING. At this stage the child is developing cognitively and wants (and needs) to learn the “why” to many answers. It’s at this point that “because I said so” just won’t cut it anymore. As the child moves into the middle school years the primary voice shifts again. This time to that of MODELING. A middle school aged child is notorious for picking out the inconsistencies in dad and mom. At this stage, the middle school student is asking their parents (leaders, teachers, and adult role models) to show me. Don’t just tell me… Show me. When the child becomes a high school student their primary voice shifts again to that of COACHING. By this point the child is now entering adulthood. They have traveled down this journey for some time… as a result they are now an independent, young adult. They still need guidance; however, now this guidance needs to come in the form of coaching, not from a parent acting like an over-protecting teacher. In the final stage into adulthood, the parent’s voice shifts on last time to that of MENTORING. Similar to coaching, mentoring is less active and allows the “children” to make the decisions on their own, but is available to offer support and advice when requested.
It’s a Choice: So this is where the rubber meets the road. “In”Gauge Parenting is all about choosing to “Gauge” how effectively you as a parents utilize your “In” in the life of your child. As a parent of a middle school student, you need to be their #1 Model. You will still protect… you will still teach, but you just need to do this first and foremost by utilizing the “Parenting Voice” of Modeling. If you’re not, it won’t matter what you say or how you try to protect – they won’t listen.
So “In”Gauge parents are parents who acknowledge that they are on a journey. They travel with each of their children as they are on their Journey of Independence. The parent’s journey however, is a journey of involvement and guidance. As such, it’s one that utilizes the appropriate voice that each child needs to hear at any given stage of development.
Oh, one last thing… It’s a Community:
We understand that we are all in this parenting thing together. We know it’s tough and not as clear-cut as we’d like it to be. We know there are battles to fight and victories to be had. We’ve chosen to do this together. Encourage one another on our journey through sharing our victories and defeats (yes, I believe that our defeats can be an encouragement to others). We’re open and honest with one another. We support one another.
So come back to JOEDMCGINNIS.COM, comment, interact, and encourage one another on this journey. For Twitter use: #ingaugeparent. Be sure to Subscribe to this blog and receive your FREE eBook – 31 Character-Shaping Tips for Today’s Parents.