As parents, we all want success for our children. The reason: we want them to be happy. Secrets of Safety-Net Parenting shows us how to raise happy, successful children.
America’s Relationship Guru, Leon Scott Baxter, uses personal stories, humor, research, eighteen years as a teacher, fifteen years as a parent as well as interviews with happy, successful children and their families to find the common denominator among them. The secrets are bottled and served for parents in the chapters of Secrets of Safety-Net Parenting.
Safety-Netting is the next generation in parenting. This book offers hands-on strategies that can be used immediately with toddlers through teens and answers questions from today’s parents. If you are a parent and you want your child to be happy and successful, it’s time to start “safety-netting.”
An Excerpt from Secrets of Safety-Net Parenting:
Safety Net Parent
Safety Net Parents are the ones who respect their children’s autonomy while also enforcing discipline and control. They are involved in their children’s lives, responsive and encouraging, while also allowing them to make mistakes that they can learn from.
Safety Net Parents notice their children’s improvements, even if they haven’t yet reached their goals and praise the effort knowing that it motivates their children to carry on. They do not do for their children what they are capable (or nearly capable) of doing on their own. They don’t force. They guide. They don’t make excuses for their children. They help them find a solution.
The Best of Each Style
I think few parents fall 100% into any one parenting category. We may be a bit of a Tiger Parents when it comes to sports, but more of a Free Range Parent with regard to playing with friends in the neighborhood. I definitely have to fight my own Tiger Parent tendencies as well as my Helicopter Dad ways at times. But it all comes back to what I logically know is best for my girls.
The truth is, Safety Net Parents borrow the best from the other parenting techniques and combine them into the ultimate parent mash-up since Carol said, “I do” to Mike Brady.
Helicopter Parents step in to help their children. Safety Net Parents borrow this technique from the “hoverers,” but only step in after their children experience some discomfort in order for them to avoid a stumble the next time around.
Like Snow Plow Parents, Safety Net Parents want their children to have a clear path to success, but instead of clearing the path for them Safety Net Parents show their children the best way to do it for themselves (there’s satisfaction in action).
Free Range Parents, like Safety Net Parents, offer their children opportunities where they have the freedom to fail, but unlike Free Range Parents, Safety Net Parents will let them fall only so much, but will be there to avoid a crash.
And, like Tiger Parents, Safety Net Parents have high expectations for their children. Tiger Parents push for excellence, whereas Safety Net Parents know when a push is a necessary reminder to get their children back on track.
Walking That Rope
At the tight rope walk of life, a Helicopter Parent is the harness attached to the child that’s there the moment she slips. That harness pulls her back so the fall is never experienced. The Free Range Parent is the one who removes the balance bar, takes down the net, blows kisses, says, “I love you,” then crosses his fingers. The Snow Plow Parent puts the rope on the ground so there’s no chance of any mishap. And, the Tiger Parent pushes the kid up the ladder and on to the rope although the child has never expressed any interest in the circus life.
The Safety Net Parent, on the other hand, secures her child’s rope before the walk. She encourages him along the way. She lets her child stumble and even fall, but is there to catch him before any serious damage ensues. The Safety Net Parent advises her tight-rope walker how to improve his feat, dusts him off and sends him back up for another go round.
Connect So They’ll Suit Up
A big part of being a successful Safety Net Parent is creating a strong connection with our children. We need to forge trust and communication so that when we have to put our foot down, they know it’s because we love them, and when they need to express their needs and feelings, they’ll feel comfortable opening up to us.
When my daughter Grace was five she was in ballet class. She loved it. She’d wear her pink tutu and dance to the Nutcracker. She’d practiced for months. My wife, Mary, and I would trade off picking her up and dropping her off, but I never stayed for practice.
At the end of November, Grace’s dance teacher announced to the girls that they’d be performing their dance at a holiday show in a few weeks. Grace was having none of it. She suffered from severe stage fright and vowed she was not going to dance at the recital.
Well, that didn’t jive with me. I believe you face your fears, you finish what you start and you don’t leave your team hanging. I was upset and frustrated. I expected more from Grace.
The thing is, I knew Grace didn’t think the way I did (or she wouldn’t have dropped out of the dance). So, I didn’t force her to perform. I didn’t threaten her or even guilt the kid (that was a hard one for me). Instead, I told her that I understood that she’d already made up her mind and that was her decision. But, I was disappointed because I’d never seen the dance performance. I told her how desperately I would have loved to see all she had worked on these past few months (not to mention getting a little something for her dance tuition … it’s hard for me to let go).
We told Grace she had to come to the recital. Like an injured player, she still needed to suit up (tutu and bow) and sit on the bench backstage as her team hit the floor.
Her number was up and out came five ballerinas in pink. A moment later a sixth one scurried on to the stage with a grin from ear to ear. It was Grace. Mary and I both gasped so loudly that parents in front of us were forced to look back at us to be sure we hadn’t fainted.
After the program, Grace came running to me, “I wanted to surprise you. I knew you wanted to see our dance. Did you like it, Papa?” I loved it.
Threats and rewards would have made no difference in this situation with Grace. But having that connection and respect for one another led to Grace’s success on stage. Build that connection.
Leon Scott Baxter is the author of three other books on relationships: Out of the Doghouse: A Man’s Secret Survival Guide to Romance, A Labor with Love, and The Finance of Romance. He’s written numerous parenting pieces for magazines and websites, and has been a guest for scores of radio and blog shows across the nation.
Baxter has been married to his college sweetheart, Mary, since 1992, has two happy and successful daughters, Riley and Grace, and an honorary third happy, successful daughter, Lucy, his boxer/terrier mix.
Leon Scott Baxter lives in Southern California where he has been a grade-school teacher for eighteen years, plays basketball, writes, and skim-boards.
Visit the author’s comprehensive new website, SafetyNetters.com, and take the "What Kind of Parent Are You?" quiz! Be sure to check out the resources available, the community page, stories of incredible kids who were parented well, and much more. You can also visit the author’s new YouTube Channel, where he answers parenting questions in a no-nonsense way.
One lucky winner will receive an autographed copy of Secrets of Safety-Net Parenting ~ Raising Happy and Successful Children: The Common Denominator, by Leon Scott Baxter. Enter through the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends at 11:59 PM EST on Monday, December 29, 2014.
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