Written by Doctor G

Dr. G’s Parenting Philosophy

Hi Dr. G.  I am reading your website and have found a lot of your advice to be useful.  I am curious, though, what is the parenting philosophy you believe in, and why do you think it works?

Dan, in northeastern PA

A:  Thanks for asking.  My parenting philosophy is pretty straight-forward. It is anything but simple to raise children.  However, I firmly believe that parents already know how to raise great kids. Take your common sense and love for your child and apply them both to each struggle your child faces.  I believe that, as parents, we have the care and keeping of our kids for about two decades.  Hopefully this is a small fraction of their lives.  So that means our main role is to give them the emotional and practical foundation they need to create worthwhile goals and accomplish them as adults.

In the heat of the moment, it can be hard to keep this big picture in mind.  I learn well with mnemonics so I crafted the 4 R’s.  These stand for the four categories that help guide each situation we encounter as parents and help us keep our eye on the main goal of parenting: Raising children to be adults we respect and admire.

Respect:  The goal of raising a generation of respectful people is not at all hopeless.  As parents, we already know how we would like our children to speak to us, and others.  This guiding principle is first because it teaches our kids the lesson that will help them most in life: What you do and how you behave is actually more important to others than how you feel.

Responsibility:  The myriad opportunities to teach our kids the skills they need to care for themselves and others, and to make the world a better place, represent most of the teachable moments of childhood.  These skills will enable them to get and keep a job, a spouse, a dream.

Responsiveness:  The nitty-gritty of parenting is getting the behavior we want without being a parent we hate.  Responsiveness sums up all the tools we can use to do just that.  How we respond to our kids’ words and behaviors and how we teach them to respond to us will pave the path towards their future in a very concrete way and allow us to get more peace into our homes during the process.

Resilience:  The richest gift we can give our children is not a stress-free childhood.  The most important lessons are learned in adversity, so we have to remind ourselves not to shield them but to enable and encourage their problem-solving and self-confidence.  This means not only using our judgment, but teaching them to develop their own and then teaching ourselves to slowly trust them.

As I said, I know most parents already know what they want to do with their children.  I am hoping only to offer help over the obstacles and encouragement to be brave in our attempts to raise a whole generation of amazing people.

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1 thought on “Dr. G’s Parenting Philosophy”

  1. So far from what I have seen of all six of my grandchildren, you and the other three parents are doing a stupendous job with this philosophy. I couldn’t be prouder.

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