In parenting, as in so many other areas of life, much more can be accomplished when we work together as a team. It is easy to fall into a habit of pitting one group against another. Where children are concerned, we naturally assume that because they are younger, we are much wiser and knowledgeable. However, every individual is unique and needs to be treated with respect. Children have ideas that are worth considering. Each age group has advantages and limitations. There are common goals that can be set for all ages.

It is difficult to see things from a child’s point of view. If we can win the confidence of the child, the child can share with us thoughts and feelings. We can then understand that child. This becomes the basis of the actions we choose as we attempt to be a good parent. We gain that confidence by listening to the child’s ideas with respect. It is surprising how children can come up with ideas that really work. They can do this because they can better understand how children feel and think, since they feel and think the same way.

There are many things children can do that adults cannot do. With their boundless energy, they can run errands for adults who are tired and don’t have that much energy. They can get in small places where adults cannot. Have you noticed that each age group has limitations and certain abilities? Toddlers wish they could do what older brothers and sisters can do. Children wish they could do what teens do. Teens wish they could drive and have more freedom. Young marrieds wish they could get more sleep when they have crying babies! Middle age couples adjust to an empty nest. Older people have aches and pains and loss of energy. When all ages work together, we can help supply the needs of others.

Nothing unites a family or group more than common goals. When each group member understands the goals, they can begin to realize the needs for reaching those goals. When the needs are understood, they can each begin to determine what they can contribute to meeting those needs. Short term goals work best with children, but long term goals are necessary, also. Using the ideas of each family member to set goals helps in motivating each to want to be a part of reaching the goals.

As parents, we need to remember that setting an example is the best teaching method. We set a good example by showing respect to children and doing our part to reach worthy goals that have been set, incorporating the ideas of each person involved. Much more can be accomplished and everyone is happier when we work together.