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The Twenty-First Century Parent

John was a 43 year-old sales manager at a large company. He's married and has 3 children, ages 7, 9, and 12. His wife works part-time as a nursing assistant, and they both do as much as they can to parent their children well.

John has developed serious doubts about his ability to be an effective parent in the last couple of years. All of his kids are involved in after school activities, and his demands at work are greater than they've ever been. His lack of time with his kids bothers him a great deal, but he doesn't dare take more time off from work. He's also bothered by his inability to get his kids to listen to him, and he's resorted to yelling and threats as measures of discipline.

John's family seems rushed all the time, and the routines in the morning and at bedtime are almost always chaotic. He often doesn't have the energy when he gets home from work to spend quality time with his kids, and he feels his relationships with them are growing more distant. In particular, he's struggling with his twelve-year-old daughter's behavior. John feels he has little in common with her at this stage in their lives.

Welcome to the life of an American parent in the 21st century.

There are many reasons that parenting today is more difficult than in years past. Here are a few of them:

? The typical, middle income married couple family works 3,885 hours ? that's an increase of 247 hours, or nearly six weeks, more than their counterparts ten years ago.

? Working couples lost an average of 22 hours a week of family and personal time between 1969 and 1999.

? In the last three decades, American families are eating 33% fewer meals together as a family.

? In 1990, the American advertisers spent 100 million dollars advertising to children. In 2000, they spent 2 billion dollars in their advertising to children.

Alvin Toffler once said, "Parenthood remains the greatest single preserve of the amateur." For too long, parents have taken on the most important job they'll ever have with little or no training. Parents can't afford to be amateurs anymore. They must arm themselves with the knowledge, support, and discipline needed to parent their kids effectively. They must take responsibility for the impact their parenting will have on their children. And they must recognize that in today's culture, their kids need them to be there more than ever.

In John's case, hiring a coach helped him to:

? Simplify the life of his family, so they could spend more time together.

? Learn positive discipline skills, so the daily routines went more smoothly and there were fewer conflicts.

? Develop a plan to put in place when he got angry, so he wouldn't do or say something he'd regret later.

? Learn stress reduction skills, both at work and at home, and to learn how to "transition" between work and home.

? Learn how to be less judgmental with his daughter, and to find specific ways to be more connected with her.

Though parenthood can be extremely difficult and challenging at times, it can also be incredibly fulfilling and enjoyable. Most of us would never think of starting a new career without the information and training necessary to be effective. Do we think our job as a parent is less important? Effective parenting skills can be learned by anyone who cares enough to commit to them, and by anyone who knows the importance of good parenting to the future of their kids.

It's time for parents to consider ways they can improve. It may be the best investment they'll ever make.

Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC, coaches busy parents by phone to balance their life and improve their family relationships. For a FREE twenty minute sample session by phone; ebooks, courses, articles, and a FREE newsletter, go to http://www.markbrandenburg.com or email him at mark@markbrandenburg.com.

In The News:

A major new climate study in the journal Nature got worldwide media coverage for finding that the oceans warmed dramatically faster than previously thought — but now the researchers have retracted that conclusion after a man in the United Kingdom blogged about flaws he discovered in the paper.
A long cold winter could hit space in months bringing record low temperatures, NASA has warned.
Keep your eyes peeled this weekend.
For the first time, archaeologists have released detailed images of stunning biblical mosaics discovered at the site of an ancient synagogue site in Northern Israel.
The mystery of Oumuamua, the first interstellar object ever spotted in our solar system, has taken a new, unexpected twist and it's from someone you might not expect – NASA.
An uninhabited Japanese island has sparked mysterious conspiracy theories after it vanished from satellite images.
Remarkable and stunning images show the first time that a disabled sea turtle was able to swim after being fitted with a prosthetic flipper.
As Earth's tectonic plates dive beneath one another, they drag three times as much water into the planet's interior as previously thought.
Computer scientists have used various editions of The Bible to develop an algorithm that identifies different author’s writing styles, Inside Science reported.
Two great white sharks were located off the coast of North Carolina this week after the massive predators traveled more than a thousand miles from Canada to reach the coastal waters.

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