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The Parenting Quiz

By Elizabeth Pantley
Reprinted by permission of Elizabeth Pantley, author of Kid Cooperation and Perfect Parenting

How do you describe the parenting job?

I looked for one word to describe the parenting job. I settled on 'intricate' when I read Webster's definition: something hard to understand because it's full of puzzling parts and details. I can think of no other job that requires you to be more flexible and open-minded, or demands that you stay alert and focused day after day.

How do you solve the puzzle?

As intricate and complicated as the parenting job is, not enough people spend time creating a 'parenting plan'. A 'parenting plan' is figuring out in advance how you will handle misbehavior and discipline issues. A good 'plan' also lays out how you will instill the values that are important to you in your children.

The first step to this process is to find out what your strengths and weakness are. Once you recognize the areas where you are succeeding, and identify the areas where you need to make changes, you can focus on finding answers and learning new skills, and creating your own 'parenting plan'.

How do you get started?

I've developed a fun quiz that will help you locate your strengths and weaknesses in the current way you parent. It will help you see yourself more clearly.

Find a quiet corner and take this quiz. Be honest and thoughtful. The answers may surprise or even embarrass you, but reviewing them can help you analyze and improve your parenting style, and get you on the road to creating a successful 'parenting plan.'

Are each of these statements Usually True or Usually False?

Our house is a gathering place for the neighborhood kids.
My children have daily chores.
Throughout the day, I give my child choices, instead of always giving orders.
My children are in bed at the same time almost every night.
My kids use 'Please' and 'Thank you' when they talk to me.
I use 'Please' and 'Thank you' when I talk to my kids.
My instructions tend to be brief and specific (I don't lecture.)
I don't give in to a child's nagging, whining and pleading.
We have specific family rules and everybody in the family knows them.
When I say it I mean it. My kids know this and they do as I ask.
My kids clean up their own messes.
Our family eats dinner together.
I trust my children.
I am consistent in the things that I say 'no' or 'yes' to.
When a problem occurs, we address it, solve the problem, and then it's over.
I compliment my children at least twice as often as I criticize them.
I'm involved in PTA or other school activities.
The first things I say to my children in the morning are pleasant and loving.
The last words I say to my children at night are pleasant and loving.
I learn about parenting by reading books and articles or by taking classes.

Keep Reading

These statements reflect parenting skills that together create a strong parenting plan. The best answer to each of these questions is 'Usually True'. Take some time to ponder any statement to which you have answered 'Usually False'. Ask yourself why the preferred answer is True. Determine what changes you can make in your family to better reflect the concepts presented in each statement.

Sometimes the decisions we make when parenting our children are not really decisions at all - but more like knee-jerk reactions. It takes time and effort to create and follow a good parenting plan. It's well worth the effort, since a good plan will make your daily decisions easier and help you be more consistent with your kids. The end result is: calmer parents and well-behaved children.

Reprinted by permission of Elizabeth Pantley, author of Kid Cooperation and Perfect Parenting

© Elizabeth Pantley
Elizabeth Pantley is a author and parent educator and frequently quoted expert who presents lectures across the United States. She is the mother of four children. Check out her website at! Her newsletter, "In Touch With Elizabeth Pantley," provices valuable parenting tidbits and advice, plus advance notice of book releases and appearances. Sign up at her site!


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