Mature Parenting to Raise Mature Children - Self Help Tips for Couples Raising Kids

Children will have a smoother growing-up trajectory when they have parents who work together to focus on being principled individuals. In this article we'll share the essentials of mature parenting; how to build a solid relationship with both your partner and your children.

It isn’t the goal that both parents become clones of each other, always trying to appear to be on the same page with their child. Mature parenting is more then this.

The reality is that both parents are different individuals and will have varied styles of operating as parents. This helps prepare children for life where adapting to different styles of teachers, and later employees, contributes to their healthy adjustment as adults.

So this means that a parent can take the focus off trying to correct or co-opt support from their parenting partner, as well as trying to direct the child, and simply make a project out of maturing themselves.

The following checklist is a summary of what’s involved when parents attend to themselves and give their children breathing space to manage their own growing-up challenges.

Remember that it’s an ideal we are unlikely to fully reach, but it can help us to know that our efforts are heading in the direction of maturity. And these efforts contribute to a more mature cycle of reactions in the parent–child relationship.

The Mature Parenting Checklist

  • Decision-making about what the child needs is not driven by the feelings of the moment but by thoughtfully acquired principles.
  • Both parents willingly share their thinking about parenting and listen carefully to the other. Neither assumes that they know best. Each lives by the principle that they are responsible for thinking things through for themselves.
  • Each parent can talk to the other about his or her anxieties about being adequate parents but they do not expect the other to relieve these for them. Each is a listening resource to the other without feeling compelled to take responsibility for the other.
  • Each parent can relate to the child from a place of self-awareness and without unfounded fears about the child’s wellbeing. Hence they are positive about the child without anxiously perceiving the child as needing special attention and praise.
  • Both parents enjoy discussing their child and experience pleasure in watching the child develop. However, neither is preoccupied with the child and each can find time for themselves and their marriage.
  • Parents are clear about the limits of what they will do for their child.
  • Each parent is comfortable allowing the other to manage his or her relationship with the child. They are not drawn into intervening to take over from the other parent or criticizing the parenting of the other.
  • Each parent takes responsibility for their own efforts to be a principled parent and doesn’t look to the other parent to fill in their confidence gaps.
  • Each parent attends to the tensions in their marriage by expressing their ideas without blame. They know that working on any stuck points in their marriage is the most useful thing they can do to not confuse their parenting.

The mature parent, who is reliably present for their child and speaks with conviction about what they will or will not do, doesn’t give their child scope for lots of emotional reactions. It’s fascinating to see how predictably a child will listen to a parent speaking a thoughtful ‘I will not’ message, as predictably as the child will not listen to an anxious ‘you will not’ message.

GYU front cover 2011Sept_150dpiFocus on your own maturity in both yourself and with your partner, and your children will also reap the rewards.

By Jenny Brown, author of Growing Yourself Up - How to Bring Your Best to All of Life's Relationships