Core Principles Amidst the Blizzard of Modern Parenting Advice

Parenting in 2024 feels more challenging than ever. Parents today are stressed by increasing demands on their time, rising costs of raising children, reduced support from family and community, less opportunity for unstructured play time that does not require transport or supervision, and a bewildering array of apps and screens that they know are not all healthy. They also face a blizzard of sometimes contradictory parenting advice, leading to confusion and a nagging sense that they aren’t “good enough.” The following guideposts are not about adding more to your plate but rather about illuminating the essential approaches that nearly all agree on that can make parenting more manageable and rewarding and help your children thrive:

Practicing Empathy: It is vital to connect with our children’s emotions and experiences. For instance, when your child is upset about a friend not inviting them to a party, you can say, ‘It sounds like you’re feeling left out. That must be really hard.’ This understanding and validation foster trust and create a safe space for them to express themselves.

Leading by Example: To model positive behavior, empathy, resilience, and integrity, start by sharing your experiences and emotions with your child, showing them that feeling and expressing their feelings is okay. Parents can shape their children’s character and inspire their growth and development by demonstrating these values and traits.

Expectations and Boundaries: While boundaries provide children with a sense of security and structure, it’s natural for them to test them. When this happens, try to stay firm and consistent. This helps children experience consequences for their actions and fosters a sense of accountability.

Encouraging Independence:  Allow children to take age-appropriate risks, make decisions, and learn from mistakes, building confidence and perseverance.

Creating a Nurturing Environment: Love and encouragement nurture a child’s self-esteem and confidence. For example, some families have a tradition of sharing their ”highs and lows”of the day during dinner, creating a safe space for expressing feelings and strengthening bonds. Prioritizing regular family meals, where everyone is present and engaged in conversation, is a form of ”unplugged quality time.” This creates opportunities for genuine connection and helps children feel valued and heard. 

Embracing Balance in a Digital Age:

While technology offers unparalleled access to information and connectivity, excessive screen time can impede social and physical development. To help you find a balance, consider using apps or features that limit screen time or set specific home device use rules, such as no devices at the dinner table or no devices after a particular time in the evening. These rules can help create boundaries and encourage other activities, such as reading or outdoor play. 

Nurturing Independence and Responsibility

Encouraging age-appropriate autonomy, such as allowing children to make choices and take on responsibilities, instills a sense of competence and self-efficacy within them. Whether completing chores, managing finances, or making decisions, empowering children to navigate life challenges builds confidence and fosters a growth mindset. 


Parenting has always been challenging and is more complicated than ever. These guideposts are not about adding more complex ideas and confusion. They are core principles that, if embraced, will foster an environment that will give your children a better chance to thrive. Adopting them will simplify your life and move you towards a more balanced, empathetic, and nurturing parenting approach to cultivate your child’s growth and well-being.


-Posted by Lori Rothfeld

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