This is the second of a two-part blog on exploring ways in which you can become a more democratic or backbone parent and continue to parent with success. In my last blog I looked at CONNECTION, RESPECT, ENCOURAGEMENT, using GUIDANCE in your DISCIPLINE PLAN all the while being FIRM and KIND.

In this blog I will be adding to these, looking specifically at SETTING LIMITS, CONSEQUENCES, BEHAVIOR, SELF REGULATION, EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE, MISTAKES, GRATITUDE and FAMILY MEETINGS and how you can incorporate them into your parenting style to make it more successful.


Children need limits and boundaries and need to develop the capacity to be able to stay within them. Children need to learn this skill first within the confines of their own homes so that they can then apply them at school, in the community at large and in their relationships.

Working within limits helps children learn how to tolerate frustration and delay gratification which are important life skills. It is never too late to start setting clear limits and boundaries.

Research has shown that one of the main factors involved in adolescent dysfunction is a lack of firm limits – Madeline Levine

Logical consequences refer to the so-called rules that govern social norms. Children need to learn that with freedom comes responsibility. When they are not prepared to act responsibly, they lose the freedom. For example, the freedom of riding a bicycle comes with the responsibility of wearing a helmet. If you don’t wear a helmet, you can’t ride your bicycle. Or, the freedom of playing MineCraft on your computer comes with the responsibility that homework is a priority and must be completed before gaming. If the homework is not done the logical consequence is that you lose the freedom of playing MineCraft.

Commit to seeing MISBEHAVIOR as a mistaken choice of behavior

According to Adlerian theory, misbehavior is a mistaken choice of behavior, a child will  misbehave when they believe that they are:

  • Not getting enough attention or connection and feel disconnected
  • Not getting enough control to empower them to feel capable
  • Not feeling heard and don’t feel that they count or are important and valued
  • Discouraged and do not feel they have the courage to handle all that comes their way

Successful parenting results when you can identify which ingredient is missing, hence the purpose behind the behavior, and then make sure you give the child plenty of what they are missing in order to encourage them to choose an alternative, more socially acceptable behavior.


Emotional Intelligence is now thought to be a better indicator of success than IQ alone.

Teaching your child to recognize their emotions and those of others, and empathizing with their emotions is key to helping them develop EQ.

Commit to seeing MISTAKES as opportunities to learn

Allow your child to FALL and FAIL (provided it is safe to do so), it will only make them stronger. I loved the Proctor and Gamble advert on CBC during the broadcast of the 2014 winter Olympics. This seemingly simple thing, which is often very hard to actually do, is exceedingly powerful for achieving successful parenting.

Commit to expressing GRATITUDE

Cultivate a capacity for gratitude in your children, particularly for the things in life we often taken for granted, like the roof over our head and the food we have on a daily basis. Encourage your children to appreciate things like the sensation of the sun on their face in winter, the smell of the pine forest on a hot summer day, the taste of fresh strawberries grown from your own garden, the flash of blue sky on a grey day and the rich tapestry that nature provides us as a backdrop in our lives.

At the end of each day when tucking your child into bed you could try to creating gratitude routine. Express gratitude for five things, one for each finger on one hand, each representing something you have been grateful for today. You can both do it.

Commit to having regular FAMILY MEETINGS

Family Meetings provide a great place for families to improve on communication skills and give everyone an opportunity to be heard thereby instilling a greater sense of belonging. They offer a safe place to solve problems, share concerns, listen to other people’s opinions, discuss schedules, plan vacations, divide up chores, role-model respectful relationships and a whole host of other positive things. They are the backbone of a democratic family. I wrote a blog in January this year on how to run family meetings. Holding regular family meetings leads to more successful parenting.

To parent with success, commit to nurturing your children with warmth and connection, set clear limits and boundaries and guide with the use of consequences. Practice doing this with respect and encouragement all the while remaining firm but kind. See mistakes as opportunities to learn and be grateful for all the things you have. If you don’t already have family meetings, I urge you to adopt this new concept and try them.

All these things will contribute towards giving your children the best chance of them developing a strong sense of self and the vital life skills and values required to help them on their journey into adulthood AND it will help you become a more successful parent.

If you have any questions on these suggestions for parenting with success, I am always happy to hear them. I encourage you to focus on one thing at a time and try committing to some of these things and adding them to your parenting repertoire.

Stay tuned, next week, I will be taking a deeper look at success. What does it mean? How do we define it? How does it influence our style and our children?



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