Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Situational parenting

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” - Eph. 2:10

The master craftsman at Silver Dollar City in Branson designs his wooden pieces with creativity and intention. So God designs every human (even teenagers) with the same creativity.

Teens come in all shapes, sizes and varieties. Though they may look the same, they differ in so many ways. While a “book can't be judged by the cover,” teenagers can’t be judged either. Even within the same family, their temperaments and personalities fill the spectrum.

Years ago, the concept of “situational leadership” was being taught by management seminars all over. The premise was that a good leader studies and learns the personality characteristics of each employee. Knowing their traits, the leader is able to motivate each employee to their potential. He treats each person as an individual.

The same is true in parenting. What mom and dad hasn’t marveled at the differences in their kids. The wise and prudent parent recognizes that to be the parent each of the children needs requires “situational parenting.” That is, discernment to be what each child needs for that particular situation.

Great coaches know the secret of coaching the individual. The lazy coach sits down all the players and yells at them collectively. The wise coach is the master psychologist. He studies each player and their individual bents and nuances. He waits for the right timing. Player A needs to be confronted directly. Player B just needs a gentle nudge. It takes more work, but in the end, the best teams are coached individually.

In our small group last week, one of the dad’s expressed it well. “When I’m with one kid, I have to remember who I’m with at that time. It’s easy to forget.” It’s really easy to forget when we’re rushing from one soccer game to another or just trying to get the kids out the door to get to work on time.

No one ever said this parenting job would be easy. Proverbs 22:6 reminds us that we need to work with each child’s particular bent. We need to become students of our kids. Like a detective, we need to study and learn who and what they are.

Why go to so much trouble? Because, if we’re going to correctly love our kids, we have to know our kids. Sure, there’s the same genetic material between our children and us, but that doesn't mean we truly know them.

So, be like that good boss or effective coach. Get to know your kids as individuals. Take the extra time to raise them independent of one another. Don't play favorites. Realize that each child is the workmanship of God and worth every second of time. Pray for wisdom and discernment.

Treat each of your kids as a unique and precious gift. And you’ll realize again that the worth of each of your wooden pieces is priceless!

By Eric Joseph Staples ©

1 comment:

Unknown said...

A. Situational Leadership is still being taught all over the world - it's really withstood the test of time.

B. Paul Hersey recently republished Situational Parenting. You can pick it up directly from his organization, the Center for Leadership Studies, at (800) 330-2840 or online at

C. Nicely done!

D. I think the parenting iteration of the "Sit Lead" model is begging for a champion to push it to the forefront. Maybe Oprah :) ? In any case, this little model of how best to lead and influence children and teens ought to be required study. Our kids would grow up better, faster and with confidence based in fact rather than confabulation.