I often reflect on what my life was like as a kid. My early childhood happened in the 50’s and my adolescence happened in the 60’s. It was, I think, a typical lower-middle class upbringing. I had five brothers and two sisters and a father and mother who loved me and were dedicated to providing care, food, clothes, and shelter. My parents were imperfect adults who did the best they could each day to manage the challenges of raising us.

However, to be honest, my parents did not have the personal resources to impart much wisdom or life skills. They did what they could do, and after high school each child was on their own. After I left home, I realized I had a lot to learn. As an older man looking back, I think it would have been nice to have had more guidance growing up.

But I was lucky. For some reason I was obsessed with being the smartest kid in my class, every year. Without realizing it, I was building a versatile resume that earned me an appointment to West Point. As an Army officer, I survived Vietnam, got many chances to command and learn leadership, and was sent to Duke University, where I earned a Ph.D. In short, I created a path for myself by making a few good decisions and doing the hard work.

Each of my siblings created much different journeys. Their paths were different from mine, and different from each other’s, even though we were all raised in the same family. A few of these journeys were perilous. One ended tragically.

Why  am I telling you this? Because I want you to think about the fact that your child is also on a life journey toward becoming an adult – hopefully a happy, successful, independent adult who still has a close, loving relationship with you. Isn’t that what all parents hope for?

I’m telling you this because during this 20-year span we call childhood, in addition to unconditional love, you have the opportunity to share quite a bit of life experience, wisdom, and skills that will give them an edge in life.

Will they seek and accept your guidance? So much depends on how you offer it.

That’s why I wrote the book, Connect with Your Kid, which focuses on the 10 most important parent-child communication skills. If you decide to work on these skills, you’ll discover that like learning any skill, it will take time, persistence, and lots of practice before they become your comfortable, automatic ways of reacting.

So you don’t give up, it will help a great deal to have support and encouragement along the way.

And that’s the purpose of the guidebook, Parents Coaching Parents. Using these two books and partnering with another parent (who could be your spouse), you can have all the coaching you need to stay focused and on track to having an enormous, positive impact on your child’s growing-up journey.

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