Positive Parenting 101 helps divorcing parents understand and respond to the needs of their children during this confusing, painful time in their lives.
Divorce is a painful time, in the very best of cases. It is emotionally gut-wrenching, especially when there are children involved. There are no winners, just survivors.
Positive Parenting 101 was written to help divorcing parents understand and respond constructively to the needs of their children during this confusing, painful time in their lives. With this practical guide in your hands you will be able to:
- Learn 4 different parenting styles and select which ones are most effective for you
- Understand and respond to the needs of all children at different ages
- Develop strategies for interacting with your divorcing spouse regarding the children, in order to maintain a constructive parenting atmosphere
- Identify effective ways to help kids manage their emotions and process grief, anxiety and anger appropriately during the divorce process and afterwards
These--and many other helpful topics addressed in this handbook--provide divorcing parents with the tools they need to be great parents, even during the chaos divorce can create. Their children will have the security and love they need to survive and thrive!
"This simple, helpful handbook is written in a way that is easy to understand and easy to use. I command my friend, James A. (Jim) Baker, for once again developing a thorough and very helpful resource that is going to help a lot of people live saner, safer lives"
Author of New York Times Bestseller Healing the Shame that Binds You
For more information on taking the online course with accompanying certificate, visit
Positive Parenting 101: A Handbook for Parents Undergoing Divorce
Publication date: Aug 2017
Imprint: Bayou Publishing
James A. Baker James A. (Jim) Baker, one of America's forerunners in the field of corporate training, has received national and international acclaim for his worldwide training seminars. He specializes in conflict resolution, negotiation, and anger management. Trainees from all over the world have participated in his Anger Management Seminar. Visit him at www.AngerManagementSeminar.com
Lesson 1 Responsible Parenting 1
Lesson 2 Four General Styles of Parenting 7
Lesson 3 Becoming the Parent You Want To Be 14
Lesson 4 Parenting Pre-School Children 24
Lesson 5 Parenting Elementary School Children 29
Lesson 6 Parenting Teens 36
Lesson 7 Resolving Conflicts with Children 43
Lesson 8 Before You Tell Your Children about Divorce 46
Lesson 9 Telling Your Children about the Divorce 52
Lesson 10 Parenting in Divorce 55
Lesson 11 Dealing With Your Child's Anxiety 61
Lesson 12 Financial Responsibilities of Parenting 69
Lesson 13 Family Violence 72
Index Family Violence 78
About the Author 79
Introduction to Positive Parenting 101
Read the following paragraph and see if it strikes a chord in your heart:
Children whose parents are going through a divorce almost always feel that they are the cause of the divorce. One of the suggestions in this handbook is that, when telling your children that you and your spouse are divorcing, you should emphasize to them that they are not to blame. In fact, you should let them know in no uncertain terms that they are the best part of your marriage.
If those words “grab‿ you, you will appreciate this handbook. You will definitely value its recommendations. The book offers the emotional support and practical help you want and need as a parent who is concerned about the impact divorce is having, or will have, on your children.
If the opening paragraph above does not touch your heart and mind, this handbook will be of even more value to you. The information presented here will alert you to the depths of the challenges you and your children are facing, and help you develop the knowledge and practical “know-how‿ to help your children get through the emotional upheaval that comes with divorce.
Divorce is a painful time even in the very best of cases. This is especially true when children are involved. All parents, whether they are dealing with divorce or not, want to do a good job of relating to their children and helping them develop emotionally, mentally and physically. Whether you are reading this parenting handbook on your own, or as part of a court-mandated program, you will find that the information contained in this book helps you to effectively parent your children during these difficult times.
The first seven lessons contained in the Positive Parenting 101 handbook provide a wealth of information, insights, strategies, practices and techniques for building effective parenting skills. The subsequent lessons deal with parenting within the specific context of divorce. These lessons present suggestions and examples on how to take care of your children and yourself during the divorce process, as well as afterward.
Study the recommendations and strategies seriously, and make it your goal to learn and grow. Remember that, in order to make real progress, you must put what you learn into practice. Reading the book won’t benefit you and your children at all unless you apply what you learn as you interact with your children on a daily basis.
Good luck and Godspeed as you begin your Positive Parenting journey.
James A. (Jim) Baker
Divorce is a painful time in the very best of cases. It is emotionally gut wrenching, especially when there are children involved. There are no winners, just survivors.
When people divorce, most experience embarrassment, guilt, and even shame. Among other things, divorcing couples may feel:
• worry that other people may think they didn’t try hard enough;
• embarrassment because they are the topic of gossip;
• guilt that they’ve let their children down;
• a sense of shame at being the cause of the divorce;
• anxiety that their children will be treated differently by other children;
• fear that their children will be forever emotionally damaged by the divorce.
If you are getting a divorce or are already divorced, do not let those feelings keep you from moving forward with your life.
Although some divorced people carry deep emotional scars for the rest of their lives, many find constructive ways to make a good life. Despite having to deal with the hurt, pain, and ego-shattering sense of rejection and loss that can often follow a divorce, they develop meaningful, fulfilling and productive lives.
Which direction will you and your children take? The good news is that it’s up to you. It’s your decision. You may need some new tactics, though, if the approaches you have been using have not worked very well.
That’s what this handbook is about, and that’s why you’re reading it. Even though divorce is difficult, it doesn’t have to be destructive. By studying this book, you will become better able to shepherd yourself and your little ones emotionally through what could otherwise be a devastating experience. You and they can then move forward and lead happier, healthier lives.
Consider Two Key Realities:
1) Parenting—not the divorce process—is the primary focus of this handbook.
2) There is life on the other side of the divorce process. You can come out the other end of that stressful, wrenching episode in your life as a stronger person and better parent.
What is Responsible Parenting?
Parenting is one tough job. The strange thing about parenting is that the main goal is to make yourself unnecessary. You want your child to grow into a person who can take care of him or herself. You have about 18 years from start to finish to get the job done.
The goals of this handbook are to:
• present information on how you can become a more effective, positive parent, and demonstrate ways to move your parenting style in that direction;
• examine and explain how parenting techniques need to change as your family copes with divorce;
• provide realistic and practical approaches to good parenting, with simple, understandable explanations and easy-to- remember strategies—with special focus on divorce situations.
As a parent, you are responsible for providing the necessities of life for each of your children, including meeting emotional, psychological and physical needs.
Your primary goals as a parent are:
• to ensure your child’s safety
• to show your child he or she is loved by you
• to teach your child to be self-disciplined
• to teach your child to be self-sufficient
You should view every waking moment as a teaching/learning opportunity. That means you are never “off duty.‿ You must have time to yourself, of course, but what you do with that time is also a teaching opportunity. If you use that time to get drunk or high, you have shown your child that you consider that behavior to be okay.
No doubt about it—selfish, irresponsible or disrespectful behavior will return to haunt you. A child will copy what he sees a parent do. Remember this: You are the most important example to your child of how a human being is supposed to behave.
Keep Your Child Safe
Keeping your child safe is not difficult for most parents. Here are some basic safety requirements:
• You must get and use a car seat.
• You must keep unstable or dangerous people out of your home.
• You must not leave your child alone, or with a person you cannot completely trust to care for the child.
• You must not let your child play in the street or other dangerous areas.
You should be following these safety requirements already. If not, you must start immediately.
We assume that you can handle that much. If not, you need to seek help right away. If you cannot provide a safe home for your child, please talk to an officer of the court about the situation.
Love Your Child
It seems like loving your child would be easy. A little baby is so sweet, how can you keep from loving one? But love is not just warm fuzzy feelings. Warm, fuzzy feelings are helpful, but love is much more than that. It is possible to love a person even if you are momentarily annoyed at him or her. When a baby cries most of the night, you still love him or her, even though you may feel exhausted, annoyed, or want to run away and hide. Mixed reactions are understandable.
The same is true when your toddler pulls a lamp off a table, breaking it. You still love him, even though you are upset. Furthermore, when your four-year-old has a whining, crying tantrum in the grocery store while you are trying to shop, buying a candy bar is not the best way to show a four-year-old you love her. It may buy you a few minutes of peace and quiet, but unfortunately it teaches your child that throwing a fit is a good way to get what she wants that is not love and that is not responsible parenting.
We will look at specific ways to handle such problems later. Right now, what you need to remember is that, as the parent, what your child needs is not always what he or she wants.
The main things your child needs to know are:
• that you are paying attention;
• that you mean what you say;
• that you will follow through any time you make a promise.
Your child learns these things when you consistently demonstrate them. Paying attention, meaning what you say, and keeping promises will provide the security that is required for a child to feel loved and cared for.
Paying attention may not seem like the most important way to show love. When you think about it, though, how do you know that someone loves you? Getting a present does not convince you of a friend’s love, if that person really does not want to know what you think or how you feel about things. If he or she prefers not to spend time with you, you can’t be sure that person cares about you.
The same is true for a parent. A child who is given all the food, clothes, and toys he could ever want, but never gets the undivided attention of his father, will grow up thinking that Dad does not care about him. That kind of father will spend anything on his child except his own time and attention.
At the other extreme is a father who does not have the money to buy nice clothes and lots of toys for his son, but takes time every day to play ball with him, look at his school papers, tell him about his own childhood, and tuck him in at night. That man’s child knows he is loved. It is worth more to him than a closet full of Abercrombies, Nikes, and Transformers.
Teach Your Child Self-Discipline
How do you teach your child self-discipline? Self-discipline is really self-control. The curious thing is that the more control you can give away, the more you have. The more self-control your child learns, the less you will need to exercise control over your child.
Learning self-control is like learning to walk. First, your tot pushes up to a sitting position, then stands, then holds onto something and takes the first few steps, and eventually toddles across the room alone to fall into your arms. During this learning process, he or she falls many times, gets up to try again, and beams with joy and pride at each little success.
You want your child’s efforts at self-control to work the same way. That means you start by helping your child exercise small amounts of self-control to start with, beginning as soon as he can manage them. Let him wipe his high chair tray after he eats—and thank him for doing so. He won’t really get it clean, but he will have accomplished something. He learns that what he does makes a difference. That gives a sense of power to the child. Having the power to make a difference is the first step to having control.
Your child cannot learn to exercise control if he or she does not ever get to make choices. Giving children choices of the right kind and as often as possible is a very important tool of good parenting.
Teach Your Child Self-Sufficiency
Self-control and self-discipline is essential to teaching self-sufficiency. Once a child is self-sufficient, you have achieved your primary goal as a parent. Of course, a parent is always needed as a source of encouragement and comfort, so long as the parent lives.
There are many skills needed for self-sufficiency, and parents are the first in a child’s life to teach them. Since the most important skill of adulthood is making good choices, wise decision-making is the most important skill to teach your child. Help your child learn to analyze, evaluate, and understand that choices have consequences, some immediate and some long-term.
Congratulations! You have now completed the material for the first lesson. Take the following quiz to check your understanding. If you need to re-read the material above in order to answer any question, please do so.