I would venture to say that when you welcome a baby into the world you aren’t thinking about how you might fail as a parent. Instead, you are overwhelmed with the love and euphoria of knowing the little person in your arms is yours. Well, that and wondering if you’ll ever get the hang of getting all the snaps done right on their little sleepers and hoping they get the hang of sleeping through the night really soon.

You soon discover that those snaps aren’t as difficult as they first seem and your baby does learn to sleep through the night (eventually, anyway). But that’s about the time you realize snaps and sleep are nothing compared to handling everything else that goes with being a parent. You know, things like:

  • Discipline
  • Morals
  • Social skills
  • Manners
  • Chores
  • School and grades
  • Helping your child embrace who they are with confidence

When you realize your job is to teach and steer your child in the right direction in these areas, you suddenly find yourself bombarded with suggestions, advice, and propaganda on what to teach and which way is the right way to teach these things. And if actually being a parent isn’t hard enough, you’re left with trying to figure out who or what to listen to.

Society via the media

If we listen to society, whose voice is the media, we will raise our children to be sassy, defiant, disrespectful, and oozing with entitlement. If you think that sounds harsh, consider the attitudes of the children on the television shows you watch. How many of them do what is asked and expected of them? How many of them do well in school? How many of them treat their parents with respect? How many of them would you like to be raising in your home?

The media also tells us that if we are good parents we will buy our children the best and most popular brands of shoes and clothes, that we will take our children on exotic vacations, buy them the latest in electronic devices, and expect little of them in the way of chores and responsibilities.

Choosing society as our parenting partner or go-to resource means we will teach our children that privileges are more important than principles, that respect for authority is optional, and that money, prestige, and power are everything.

Harsh and judgmental? No, just the facts.


Scores of professionals in the area of child-rearing and parenting all have their own thoughts and opinions of what it takes to raise a happy, successful child. Some approve of spanking. Some don’t. Some promote helicopter parenting—which is to hover and micro-manage. Others don’t. Some suggest non-parenting, which is basically the opposite of helicopter parenting by giving children near-complete freedom to decide what they want to do/learn when they want to do/learn it, and even if they want to do/learn something. Others say un-parenting is none parenting. Some professionals believe a child should be allowed to play and experience childhood without being burdened with too many scheduled and extra-curricular activities. Others are convinced children whose lives are scheduled for them grow up to be more successful. Some professionals are convinced stay-at-home moms are the key to thriving, successful children and adults, while others say children from homes where both parents work are more self-sufficient and outgoing.

It’s enough to make you dizzy, isn’t it!

The truth of the matter is that with the exception of the helicopter and un-parenting, most of these experts’ opinions and suggestions have a few merits depending upon your particular circumstances and the ages of your children. So again…what’s a parent to do?

As a parent you should make yourself informed on the different ‘takes’ on parenting, consider how each one fits with your moral and religious convictions, your personal situation, and most of all, your heart. That’s right—when it comes to your kids you should follow your heart because your heart is where your children reside.

Religious beliefs

The undeniable facts prove that children who are raised in a home where there is a strong foundation of faith and morals are more content, more socially adept, more confident, and less likely to get into trouble than children who aren’t. But then why wouldn’t they be? No matter what religious beliefs you follow, the elements of obedience, respect, compassion, generosity, selflessness, and LOVE will be present, and raising kids to be all of these things is a win-win situation.

Family and friends

“When I was raising my kids we…” “If you let him/her do that now, you’re going to be sorry when they’re older.” “If you want my advice you’ll…” “You’re going to have a problem on your hands if you don’t nip that in the bud now.”

Sound familiar? By and large family and friends who offer their advice in raising children don’t mean to be intrusive, bossy, or to insult your intelligence. They simply want to help. No, they really do…most of the time, anyway.

What do you think

Jackie Kennedy once said that if we messed up raising our kid, nothing else in life we accomplish really matters. Truer words have not been spoken, don’t you agree? So when it comes to deciding how to raise your children, it’s not so much a matter of who or what you listen to as long as you remember this one essential thing: UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.

As long as your children know that you love them unconditionally—with that ‘just because’ kind of love—you and your children will be just fine.


Darla is mama bear to 2 children and 5 grandchildren. Fierce when threatened, soft and cuddly when nursing her family. She is a proponent of positive parenting, setting firm limits and takes a no nonsense approach to solving family communication issues. Binding family contracts are her specialty. So if you need a strong example, look no further.

Latest posts by Darla (see all)