Saturday, October 25, 2014


A Parental Vision

By Sarah Hamaker

With four kids between the ages of 6 and 12, I’m often asked how I do it, which usually means how do I weather the noise, chaos, fighting, and general melee that comes from having multiple children living under the same roof. Most people view my typical answer of, “Oh, it’s all good,” with disbelief, sure that I am hiding my shame at having unruly, sibling-hating kids.

Don’t get me wrong—my children are perfectly capable of behaving like little monsters in league with the devil on any given day. They do strange, weird, outlandish things for no other reason than it popped into their little brains. I’ve been called by the assistant principal, had to remove screaming kids from the grocery store, and had to enforce a no-playing rule with neighbor children because of my child’s bad behavior. My life as a mother isn’t a Disney movie, that’s for sure.

But—and this is a huge but—nor is my life as a mom something for which I dread getting up in the mornings. I enjoy my kids. I love my kids. I laugh with my kids (and sometimes, alone with my husband, at some of the crazy things they’ve done). I shake my head at their antics. I correct them when they stray. I leave them to their own devices more than I play with them. I curb their electronic consumption to the point of near non-existence.

What helps me keep up with the discipline and guidance is thinking about just what I’m doing. I’m not raising kids—I’m raising adults. For a child is only a child for a short period of time, but he’s an adult for the rest of his life. If we as parents thought more about who would our child be at age 30, I suspect our child rearing would look somewhat differently.

How would you describe your children as full grown adults? Would you focus on where they went to college or their career choices? Where they live or what they drive? How you answer that question tells a lot about your parenting vision for your children.

Most of us would probably describe someone who was kind and honest, willing to lend a hand to others, compassionate, thoughtful, responsible, respectful, godly and loving. This list doesn’t talk about achievements or status symbols that proclaim a person’s “place” in this world. This list instead drills down to the characteristics of what makes a man or woman underneath the outer trappings.

If what you really want for your children is for them to develop good character, then that will change how you raise them. Write down a short list of characteristics you want each of your children to have as adults and post it where you can reference it regularly. Think about the list in light of your parenting decisions today. Make sure the things you encourage your children to accomplish or spend time on build toward that vision you have for them as adults. Your parenting decisions about discipline and consequences—virtually anything related to raising kids—should be framed with that vision in mind.

A clear vision for your children as adults will make the hard parenting lessons of today easier to put into place. In other words, taking the long view of raising kids will help you in the short term. Having a vision for your kids and keeping that vision in mind as you parent will get you over both the rough and smooth patches of child-rearing.

Sarah Hamaker Bio
As a certified Leadership Parenting Coach™, Sarah Hamaker guides parents in identifying,, and is a frequent writer on parenting issues for She’s also one of the featured parent coaches on Her book Ending Sibling Rivalry: Moving Your Kids From War to Peace (Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City) is in stores now.
discussing and correcting bad parenting habits. Sarah blogs about parenting on her website,

SUMMARY: Ending Sibling Rivalry
Is your day punctuated by tattling, tears, and testiness among your children? Does your home resemble a war zone, with fights breaking out constantly among combative siblings? Do you wonder why your kids can’t get along? You’re not alone. Sibling rivalry has become one of the most frustrating problems facing today’s parents.

Yet sibling rivalry is not an inevitable outcome. It is possible to help your children move from enemies to friends. In Ending Sibling Rivalry, Sarah Hamaker provides common sense and practical solutions to this familiar problem, guiding parents through the roots and remedies of sibling rivalry.

Ending Sibling Rivalry addresses the harmful impact of competition on the sibling relationship, how to avoid the trap of favoritism and comparison, and how to teach children conflict resolution. Whether your children are toddlers or teenagers, Ending Sibling Rivalry provides the blueprint for reducing sibling conflict and building a more loving relationship between or among your children.

Amazon link: