The 21st Century Parent
The 21st Century Parent
Copyright © 2004, Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC
John was a 43 year-old sales manager at a large
company. He’s married and has 3 children, ages 7,
9, and 12. His wife works part-time as a nursing
assistant, and they both do as much as they can to
parent their children well.
John has developed serious doubts about his ability to
be an effective parent in the last couple of years. All
of his kids are involved in after school activities,
and his demands at work are greater than they’ve ever
been. His lack of time with his kids bothers him a
great deal, but he doesn’t dare take more time off from
work. He’s also bothered by his inability to get his
kids to listen to him, and he’s resorted to yelling and
threats as measures of discipline.
John’s family seems rushed all the time, and the
routines in the morning and at bedtime are almost
always chaotic. He often doesn’t have the energy when
he gets home from work to spend quality time with his
kids, and he feels his relationships with them are
growing more distant. In particular, he’s struggling
with his teenage daughter’s behavior. John feels he has
little in common with her at this stage in their lives.
Welcome to the life of an American parent in the 21st
There are many reasons that parenting today is more
difficult than in years past. Here are a few of them:
• The typical, middle income married couple family
works 3,885 hours – that’s an increase of 247 hours,
or nearly six weeks, more than their counterparts ten
• Working couples lost an average of 22 hours a week of
family and personal time between 1969 and 1999.
• In the last three decades, American families are
eating 33% fewer meals together as a family.
• In 1990, the American advertisers spent 100 million
dollars advertising to children. In 2000, they spent 2
billion dollars in their advertising to children.
Alvin Toffler once said, “Parenthood remains the
greatest single preserve of the amateur.” For too
long, parents have taken on the most important job
they’ll ever have with little or no training. Parents
can’t afford to be amateurs anymore. They must arm
themselves with the knowledge, support, and discipline
needed to parent their kids effectively. They must take
responsibility for the impact their parenting will have
on their children. And they must recognize that in
today’s culture, their kids need them to be there more
In John’s case, hiring a coach helped him to:
• Simplify the life of his family, so they could spend
more time together
• Learn positive discipline skills, so the daily
routines went more smoothly and there were fewer
• Develop a plan to put in place when he got angry, so
he wouldn’t do or say something he’d regret later
• Learn how to be less judgmental with his daughter,
and to find specific ways to be more connected with
Though parenthood can be extremely difficult and
challenging at times, it can also be incredibly
fulfilling and enjoyable. Most of us would never think
of starting a new career without the information and
training necessary to be effective. Do we think our job
as a parent is less important? Effective parenting
skills can be learned by anyone who cares enough to
commit to them, and by anyone who knows the importance
of their parenting to the future of their kids.
It’s time for parents to get some help. It’s the best
investment they’ll ever make.
Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC, coaches busy parents by phone
to balance their life and improve family relationships.
For a FREE twenty minute sample session by phone, ebooks
and courses for fathers, articles, and a FREE weekly
newsletter, go to http://www.markbrandenburg.com
or email him at mailto:email@example.com .