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Stages of Parenting

It is often said that parenting should come with a manual. Comedians continue to make jokes about how hard it is to be a parent. However, go to any bookstore or search online for parenting blogs and magazines, you will find plenty of advice and “manuals.” Before reaching searching for that advice, you should be aware that parenting comes in stages. You should know the stages of parenting and then go find the advice that fits the stage you are living. How to Enjoy Being a Parent explains the stages of parenting using a metaphor from athletics.

Stage 1: Playing the Game. Parents feeds, protects, bathes and nurtures the newborn for many months. Parents play the game of life for the child. They also literally play games with the child to help him or her learn his or her surroundings.

Stage 2: Parent Becomes a Coach. Soon, the child begins to do things for himself or herself. For example, children begin to sit on their own or crawl. Parents are there to help the child discover his or her world and provide coaching on what needs to be done. Parents show the child how to tie a shoe, cross the street, hold a fork and more. As the child does more and more for himself or herself, the parent does less and less. Parents have to know when and how to let go and let the child be. It will depend on the child’s cognitive development and physical skills. Sometimes, parents let go too soon, and other times, the parent doesn’t let go.

Stage 3: Parent Becomes a Cheerleader. Parents need to shift from doing everything to coaching to doing nothing and being a cheerleader. Sometime before a child turns 18, parents should stand on the sidelines, watch children experience life and cheer for the child. You want to adapt an attitude that says, “You are my favorite person. Whether you win or lose, I will never boo you or criticize your choices.” This can be a difficult stage for parents who are used to helping and coaching what is right and wrong. However, if the child comes to you with advice, you should give it freely.

It’s important to allow children to deal with emotional issues in their own way. Otherwise, problems might arise between parent and teen. Those who don’t move from coaching to cheerleading are known as helicopter parents, which do not help the young adults.

Now that you understand the different stages, you can go search for your parenting advice on how to deal with specific situations within those stages. How to Enjoy Being a Parent is availale at