How Committed Are You to Raising Caring, Confident Responsible Children?

by Thomas Haller and Chick Moorman

Are you a committed parent? Do you place family first? Is your success at home as important as the success you achieve in other areas of your life?

Most parents would answer "yes" to these questions. Probably you would, too. But are you really committed? Do your actions match your beliefs about your level of commitment? Would you like to find out just how committed you really are to your children and the role of parenting? If so, take the quiz below.

Read each item and answer yes or no. Use the scale at the end to determine your commitment quotient

_______ I am willing to get dirty along with my children. I have made mud pies, jumped in a puddle, rolled down a hill, engaged in a water balloon fight, let my daughter grease her own bike, allowed my young son put mustard on his own hot dog or created chalk sidewalk art with my children recently.

_______ I regularly create a culture of accountability in my family by creating reasonable, related consequences and implement them with love and gentleness.

_______ I believe that holding my children accountable for their actions and choices is one of the most loving things I can do as a parent. I follow through on the consequences I set, consistently. I do not rescue, give them one more chance, or let it slide "this time".

_______ I see "mistakes" my children make as opportunities for growth and learning. I do not judge their mistakes as good or bad until I see how they choose to use the mistake.

_______ I have played a board game, shot baskets, played catch, or read a story other than at bed time with my children in the past week.

_______ I have attended a game of soccer, hockey, baseball, volleyball, basketball or a dance or music lesson in the past two weeks.

_______ I attended the most recent parent/teacher conferences at my child's school and/or I talked with the caregiver at child care for 30 minutes or more in the past month.

_______ I have attended a parenting class or read a parenting book in the last month.

_______ I believe that fixing problems is more important than fixing blame. To that end, I invest my time in searching for solutions to problems rather than handing out punishments and determining fault.

_______ I regularly invite my children to help search for solutions. I help them discover solutions by guiding, directing and exploring possibilities with them. I allow them to test some of their own solutions to see if they work.

_______ I know that March 20th is International Parenting Commitment Day and I have already created and planned a ritual to help celebrate that occasion.

_______ I attempt to create a shared control style of family management by regularly accepting input from all family members. I spend as much time listening as I do talking.

_______ My spiritual faith is visible and I regularly engage in it in front of my children. We have frequent family discussions about our beliefs and values.

_______ I have firm and reasonable limits for my children in terms of television, food, video games, bed times, and extra-curricular activities. I enforce these limits consistently with gentleness and love.

_______ I strive to make myself dispensable. I allow my children to assume increasing amounts of control over their own lives.

_______ When I am feeling hurt or angry, I communicate with words and refrain from sulking, pouting, and yelling. I tell my children what I am feeling and own responsibility for those feelings without telling them they made me feel that way. I communicate directly, honestly, and openly.

______ I have invested time in helping my children understand a choice or decision they made in the past two weeks. I debriefed it with them, allowing them to come to their own conclusion as to how well they were doing. I regularly help them self-assess so they could develop their inner authority.

_______ In the past week I have helped my child understand a feeling he was having. I give the feeling a name so my child could identify that feeling in the future.

_______ I model closeness and affection by giving my child regular hugs, smiles, and eye contact. I schedule alone time with each child each week.

_______ My children hear me say what I am going go to do and see me do what I say. My children know what I value and believe and consistently see me living according to those beliefs and values. My actions are congruent with my words.

_______ I am comfortable in assuming the role of learner on occasion and allowing my child to take the lead. I learned an important lesson from my child this past week.

_______ I preserve the traditions of our family. I created and maintain a nostalgia corner in our home where we keep the photos, scrapbooks, school work, family stories, and folklore of our family.

_______ When I'm stuck and not sure what to do next, my children hear me ask for help. I model help-seeking strategies for them. I have asked one of my children for help in the past week.

______ I demonstrate my caring by regularly engaging in activities with my children that they enjoy. I play games with them using their rules in their way, on their time schedule.

______ I admit to mistakes and my children see me make amends quickly.

EXTRA CREDIT: If you approached each item seriously and answered them honestly, give yourself 2 bonus points.

Scoring Key: Count the number of times you answered "yes" and compare it to the scale below.

20-18 yes - SUPER COMMITTED - You are regularly demonstrating and modeling what your children need to see from you as a parent committed to raising responsible, caring, confident children. Give yourself a big pat on the back.

17-14 yes - COMMITTED - Your children will benefit from your level of commitment while you commit to raising it in the future. Congratulations.

13-10 yes - SOMETIMES COMMITTED - You have many worthwhile commitments to your children and still have commitments holes in your parenting style. You have work to do to move up on the commitment index.

9 and below - WISHY WASHY COMMITMENT - Although you demonstrate some admirable commitments, you have a lot of work to do. Begin today by adding to your repertoire of healthy commitments. Your children are worth it.

Thomas Haller and Chick Moorman are the authors of The 10 Commitments: Parenting with Purpose, (Personal Power Press) and Couple-Talk. They also publish a FREE email newsletter for parents and another for couples.

Copyright © Thomas Haller & Chick Moorman. Permission to publish granted to, LLC.