I trained as a lawyer, worked as an accountant, held roles in senior management, ran businesses and lectured at a university. Six years ago, I became an executive and life coach. All the positions I’ve held carried responsibility. My competence (or incompetence) in the role had the potential to impact many people’s lives, finances and well-being. I have been a leader of people and a leader of businesses. People have counted on me to know what I was doing and to do it well.
In an attempt to minimise the risks associated with failing in these positions, industries deem it necessary that qualifications are obtained.
The more onerous the position the more important it is to have a specialised qualification. I have the necessary qualifications to enable me to do those jobs. Whilst a qualification of itself does not guarantee that a person will be good at their chosen profession it does provide a foundation, a basic benchmark that ensures a minimum standard for the quality of execution in the role.
I am also a mom. Recently, I added a new role to my portfolio; step-mom. My service record as a mom spans a little more than 15 years. It is the longest I have held a job for. Now that I have become part of a blended family, my active engagement with the mom role will likely be extended by a further 9 years beyond the time that I thought it would. Of course we all know that the magic age of 18 doesn’t suddenly signal the end of the job.
Accepting the parent job is equivalent to accepting a tenured position; it is a life-time position and it is unlikely that you could be fired even if you wanted to be!
Moreover, in my job as mom, I carry enormous responsibility. I have the potential to positively or negatively impact not only the lives of the 3 junior humans in my direct care, but the lives of all future humans who they will bring into the world for generations to come. Yet, for the job that I have held the longest, the position that carries more responsibility than all of the roles I’ve held put together, the job in which my successes and failures will echo into perpetuity, I have no qualifications.
Studies tell us that the vast majority of humans on this planet will have at least one child.
In a paper published by the American Association of University Professors it is stated that 87% of women and 81% of men reproduce. Similar percentages are reported by the US Department of Health & Human Services. In their study it was determined that some 84% of males and 86% of females will have had a biological child by the age of 45. These studies do not of course give an indication of the percentage of people who will actually raise a child, whether it is a biological child, adopted, fostered or a child of the extended family. Thus, in the roughly 15% of the global population who will not give birth to a child are people who will nonetheless parent someone’s child, effectively reducing the percentage of people who will never be a parent to below 10%.
Contrast this statistic with predictions of employment globally. Current unemployment rates globally are in the region of 13% and in some countries as high at 35%. As a global norm, people are more likely to parent a child than to have a job. Despite this, we continue to educate children to be able to work and fail to educate them to be effective parents.
The economic cost of poor parenting is incalculable.
I’m not referring only to the failure to provide basic care for children. I’m referring to the cost of the emotional and psychological damage that parents can inflict on the children through ignorance of the needs of a child.
As humans we exist in a relational world. The skills that a child will need to have to contribute to society as an adult extend far beyond the ability to read and write. Technical skills are only of partial value. In the absence of self-esteem, relationship and communication skills, openness, the ability to trust, empathy and self-regulation, even the most highly educated adult is unlikely to reach their full potential.
A recent article on Forbes.com states the following;
“Research carried out by the Carnegie Institute of Technology shows that 85 percent of your financial success is due to skills in “human engineering,” your personality and ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead. Shockingly, only 15 percent is due to technical knowledge.”
These qualities and attributes are nurtured by good parenting and where they have not been learned in the childhood years, it is left up to the adult to invest in therapy or personal growth programs, a costly and time-consuming exercise. Given the enormous impact that parenting has on the future success of a human and their ability to contribute economically, the skills required to raise another human being should be taught along with reading, writing and counting from the first day of school.
Can you imagine a university giving a tenured professorship to a completely unqualified individual and expecting them to pass on knowledge to new students?
That is effectively what the human race does when it comes to the job called parenting…
Do you feel you could improve your parenting skills? If so drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org with the words PARENTING COACHING in the subject and let’s talk about how we can work together on for the benefit of you and your children.