The Words of the Saver Family

The Changing Role Of The Parent

Paul Saver
February 25, 2011

Being a parent is a lifelong commitment that is unchanging. However the role that you play as a parent is supposed to change as the child grows and changes. Parents who fail to evolve their parenting approach, run the hugh risk of missing out on establishing a heart to heart bond with their child plus retarding their spiritual-emotional growth.

Think of yourself as a parent, passing through three distinct phases or parenting roles over the course of the first twenty years of your child's life.

Here is a brief description of the three parenting roles.

1. Parent-Teacher (from 0-6 years approximately)

You as parent play a key role in the physical and spiritual development of the child. You spend thousands of hours together in day to day activities which include feeding, clothing, bathing, playing, rocking, reading and so on. It's a time of nurturing. The child needs to be 'love bombed' so that the child knows that you as a parent are crazy about them. The child's heart can open and come to realize that the world is a safe place and that they have great intrinsic value.

2. Parent As Administrator (from 7-12 approximately)

At about six to seven years of age, the mental transition from "learning to read" to "reading to learn" takes place as they begin to learn information independently. During this time the child begins to initiate activities and create social groups and needs an adult to help org anise events, provide transportation and other supportive functions. Whilst your role as parent-teacher continues you take on the additional role of parent-administrator. You help to manage your child's schedule and assist him in exploring his growing interests.

3. Parent As Coach (from 13-20 approximately)

With the onset of puberty, the child's intellectual processes expand with the capacity for abstract thought. Naturally the child desires and has a need to start managing their own schedule and decision making processes to the point where the child fires you from your role as administrator. This should be a reason to celebrate the emerging independence of the child and their growth toward becoming a responsible adult.

Parent's who refuse to be fired and insist on micromanaging their teen such as in nagging them about keeping their room tidy, monitoring homework, taking responsibility for them getting to school on time and so on, face the real prospect of dying of frustration and fatigue and alienating their teen. At the same time thwarting their growth.

The answer? Allow yourself to be fired from your role as administrator and take on the new role as coach. Understand that your growing teen has a need to find out their own identity, what they believe and the direction to take in life.

Through this process your teen wants and needs the love and support of their parent, but in a way that is helpful to their growth. Parents who can successful make this transition to parent as coach, are best positioned to provide their growing teens with what they need to truly grow up and become responsible and caring adults. 

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