The Seasons of Parenting

There are three seasons in raising children, and one final season that is our goal. Each season is a phase where a child needs a certain type of parenting.

image Based on Ecclesiastes:3:1, which says, "To everything there is a season," psychologist John Rosemond observes: "There are three seasons in raising children, and one final season that is our goal. Each season is a phase where a child needs a certain type of parenting.

"SEASON 1 is from age 0-2. During this season, the child is the center of the universe around which the parent orbits and the mother is the child's servant. The father generally stays on the sidelines.

"SEASON 2 is from age 3 to 13. The child will be less the center of the universe. [The] parent is in the role of authority and leadership. It is a period of discipleship, where you lead where [the] child will follow you.

"SEASON 3 is from age 14 on. This is the mentoring phase which prepares the child for becoming an adult. It is a [rite] of passage. The goal is for the child to self lead and the parent to be the mentor.

"SEASON 4 is adulthood for the child. You are no longer parenting but [are] your child's friend" (Parents Council of Washington Lecture, Oct. 25, 2004).

In explaining the seasons, Rosemond advises parents to focus on the proper season. Regrettably, many parents stay mired in season one (being a servant) when they should be teaching their children to take responsibility themselves. Another mistake is trying to be your children's friend before the appropriate season.

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