Children Matter have highlighted new research from George Barna on parenting. He suggests that few parents have a strategy or plan for how they will accomplish their parenting. There are, however, five primary outcomes that most parents have focused upon and serve as a de facto strategy. George Barna, author of the book Revolutionary Parenting, about parenting strategies, called them the “five P’s of parental hope”:
1. Preparation. Millions of parents enroll their youngsters in numerous and varied activities in order to prepare their children for success. Most parents do not see themselves as the key to grooming a well-rounded child; they believe their role is to place their child in developmental environments and under the tutelage of those who can take their prodigies to the next level of proficiency.
2. Performing well. Parents look for measures of productivity that indicate how their child is doing on the path to success. Good grades in school, scoring in sports, and performing well in artistic endeavors are among the measures parents rely upon, as well as feedback from other parents, teachers, coaches, pastors and other experts.3. Pressure management. Amidst significant parental expectations, stiff academic standards and peer pressure, many kids struggle to stay healthy and balanced. Parents who are cognizant of these mounting pressures attempt to help their offspring learn how to manage stress, competition and disappointments.4. Protection. The age-old problem of bullies – still considered by kids, parents and teachers to be a significant issue – can be added to such parental fears as kidnapping, drugs, and sexualization, making the security of children one of the top priorities of parents.5. Public perception. In a society where image is reality, and parents are as anxious about their image as a parent as they are about their child’s image in their peer group, influencing public perceptions is a major concern among parents. Like politicians, many parents hone their skills in spin control and positioning in order to place them and their children in the best possible light.Barna’s surveys point out that most parents underestimate the influence they can exert on their children. Consequently, they often focus on the 5 Ps but neglect emphasis upon activities that would strengthen their relational bond with the children. Many parents, even those who are born again Christians, also overlook the need to foster deeper a connection between their children and God, or to enhance the child’s worldview as a critical component of their decision-making skills.