Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

FAMILY matters

10 tips to help you become a better parent

Over the course of many years practicing pediatrics, studying child development, observing families and growing humble as a father, I have learned a number of lessons about the very fine art of parenting. I have distilled the wisdom I have been taught by children and their families into 10 basic principles, practices and guidelines that seem useful for all families. I hope you will find them meaningful.

1 Follow your heart.

Children sense when adults are being sincere. Besides, you can usually trust your emotions to lead you in the right direction. And you'll model for your children how to communicate honestly.

2 Appreciate each child's strengths and respect limits.

All children have intrinsic worth and special qualities that help them relate, persevere and shine an inner light. Similarly, each child has abilities in some areas and challenges in others. Our job is to encourage them to stretch within safe and acceptable boundaries.

3 Honor differences that distinguish each child.

Even within the same family, children have their own personalities from the start. Since we can't take for granted that one child will respond like another, we have to get to know and understand the nature of each individually.

4 Care to set consistent, secure boundaries.

Children feel courageous enough to explore their limits when they also feel comfortable that they won't hurt or embarrass themselves. And if you didn't care, you wouldn't bother to teach them how to balance self-control and self-will.

5 Know and respect your own emotional thresholds and physical limits.

All of us reach a point when our mind, body or spirit become exhausted and unable to act rationally or react quickly. Children need their parents' best attention and decisions. So taking care of yourself is also in the best interest of your children.

6 Make and keep your own friends and support systems.

Life outside of parenting restores energy for the job and takes some of the pressure off you and your children. Relationships, work and recreation can add pleasure and vigor to you while teaching your children the value of being connected.

7 Ask for help: Interdependence is healthier than independence.

Modern life is somehow both noisy and isolating. Loneliness is depressing and depression is paralyzing. So do the world a favor: Teach children the advantages of relationships and support.

8 Spend time with a child when you can't be interrupted.

Children want and need our company. They also know when our attention is divided between them and telephone calls, chores or thoughts. Protect some time each day when you can devote yourself to your child's interests.

9 Learn from disappointments.

We always learn more from our mistakes than from our successes, especially if we remember that our intrinsic worth is not linked to a bad decision.

10 Value your parental love and guidance as the greatest contribution to our nation's security, prosperity and civility.

Children who grow up caring to succeed and contribute guarantee a healthier, better-educated, wealthier, stronger and more humane society. We teach most effectively by example. Children observe and follow how we treat neighbors, co-workers, customers and strangers. In many ways, the child is father to the man.

Peter Gorski, M.D., M.P.A., is a child development expert at the Children's Board of Hillsborough County.

10 tips to help you become a better parent 12/31/10 [Last modified: Friday, December 31, 2010 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review: Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald team up to cool down the Clearwater Jazz Holiday

    Blogs

    A cool breeze swept through Coachman Park Saturday night. Couple of them, actually.

    Kenny Loggins performed at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday on Oct. 21, 2017.
  2. No. 16 USF hangs on at Tulane, off to first 7-0 start

    College

    NEW ORLEANS — After half a season of mismatches, USF found itself in a grudge match Saturday night.

    USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs for a touchdown against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH103
  3. Lightning buries Penguins (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Ryan Callahan spent a lot of time last season rehabilitating his injured hip alongside Steven Stamkos, who was rehabbing a knee after season-ending surgery. During those hours, Callahan noticed two things about Stamkos: his hunger and his excitement to return this season.

    Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkoek (29) advances the puck through the neutral zone during the first period of Saturday???‚??„?s (10/21/17) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Spain planning to strip Catalonia of its autonomy

    World

    BARCELONA, Spain — The escalating confrontation over Catalonia's independence drive took its most serious turn Saturday as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain announced he would remove the leadership of the restive region and initiate a process of direct rule by the central government in Madrid.

    Demonstrators in Barcelona protest the decision to take control of Catalonia to derail the independence movement.
  5. Funeral held for soldier at center of political war of words (w/video)

    Nation

    COOPER CITY — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102