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By Judy Henrichs (9/13/12)

General duties: birth giver, food provider, shelter provider, clothing provider, mess cleaner-upper, knee bandager, taxi driver, and about 2000 other roles to be discovered as you perform the job.

3 primary roles:

1. Coach

A coach’s job is to make certain the players know the game with all its rules and intricacies and idiosyncrasies.  As a parent, you are in charge of making certain your child learns the game called life in a way that is sync with your family beliefs and values.  How to do this:

—You must model what you want and expect from your child at all times, not just when it is convenient to do so.  This is by far the most important part of your job.

—You may offer guidance and suggestions, but you cannot do it for your child.    He will develop his own style.  She will establish her own rhythm and pace.  Sorry.  Clones are not allowed in the game of life.

—You must stay off your child’s playing field.  During a game, there are serious penalties when a coach steps onto the playing field.  Learn from this.  Even if your child is running the play incorrectly or shooting the baskets of life in a way that is different from yours, you are not allowed to step onto their playing field.  You may model from the sidelines, you may offer guidance and suggestions, but you may not play the game for themThis is possibly the most difficult part of this job description and the part that will most easily cause you to fail in your job as parent.

2. Cheerleader

You are your child’s most important cheerleader.  How to do this:

Affirm the child’s best.  Catch her in the act of doing good.  Acknowledge it.  Praise it.  Tell him about it.  Don’t find fault.

Tell others about how good they are.  Make sure your child hears you sometimes.  Yes, it is called bragging.  That’s what you do when you are excited about your team and your players.

Be sincere.  The only time cheerleading is wrong is if it is not sincere.

3. Shock Absorber

You are the one who can help smooth out the bumps of life. How to do this:

Don’t overreact to the little things.  Yes, the milk is going to spill and your favorite vase is going to get broken (hmmm…why didn’t I put that vase away if it was so important to me?) and some knees will get scraped and some feelings will get hurt.  Avoid teaching drama classes when the little things of life occur.

Ride out the stages.  Remember that your child will probably not still be wearing pull-ups or whining about you leaving him at school or throwing tantrums because you served green beans tonight when she is in college—assuming you caught the part in the previous paragraph about avoiding the drama classes.  Just be patient and help your child ride out these stages.


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