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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Closer mentality: The outlook necessary to be a successful parent.

Being a successful parent means answering the call anytime under any circumstance often without a whole lot of warning.  The way I see it you have to have a closer mentality like as in baseball.  In a way, this applies most strongly to being a single parent, but applies to parents in general.

A successful closer (like a successful parent):
  • Has to be able to have a short memory.  He has to forget a recent bad outing.
    • He has to be aware on some level of what went wrong, but he cannot focus on the bad outing last game, lest he start to doubt too much his abilities.  Similarly, a parent has to forget having had a bad night last night with their child.
    • He can't focus on blowing the save and the game and letting his team down.  Last game is in the past and his team needs him now.  He's not very useful to them if he's letting last night's failure destroy his rhythm and therefore his success.  Similarly, a parent 'fail', whether it is like not being attentive enough as you are recovering from tough times or simply like forgetting to make sure they are fully packed for school on a yesterday, needs to be forgotten.   If you are focused on the fail, it is likely to distract you from the task at hand in working with your child.  
      • The batter at the plate will not care why you are distracted and ineffective, he will hit the poor pitches you throw a long way.
      • Your child might sense weakness in your resolve, due to guilt/shame associated with past failures, and take advantage of it to pressure you into giving him/her what they want.
  • Has to be able to fake it on a night when he doesn't have his best stuff .  He can't let the batter at the plate 'know' that he is having an off night and is lacking confidence in his stuff.  He has to exude--even if it is faked--an attitude that he owns the plate.  Similarly a parent might be having an off-night and/or a night of doubt, yet he/she has to fake confidence and/or decisiveness.  
  • Has spent time/years preparing for that role.  There are few to whom this role comes naturally to them.
    • Some have spent years of working on control.  They keep on tossing pitch after pitch after pitch until they get a groove or feel for the pitches.    In the meantime, they have to keep throwing.  Similarly, a parent often has to go through growing pains in which he/she presses their kid to do what he needs to, even when the kid fights it.  If a parent is consistent and persistent, he or she has a much greater chance of gaining 'control' over the child.  That is to say, having the kid listen fairly well.
    • Some have come from other roles such as a setup man and when they gain a feel, they get promoted.  This is like a parent who spends time building up authority with a younger kid and as a result is more likely to be able to exert that authority when the kid is older.

A little more specific comparison of closers vs. parents: there are two types of closer situations in bullpens.  Let's examine a closer situation in which there is THE closer.  He is the one the coach or team will live and die with.  That's just like a single parent household, ultimately in a true single parent household, a kid will thrive or suffer depending on if the parent is effective.  Alternatively, let's consider a closer by committee situation.  In that case, the coach will choose who will close out the game depending on factors such as who has the best stuff, is the freshest, has the best matchups and the like.  In other words, the coach has the luxury of choosing whom he thinks will best handle a given game.  However, if the one he decides appears to be struggling, he can readily swap out for another 'closer'.  Similarly, in a two parent house, on a given night or in a given situation, there is the luxury of choosing whom will primarily handle the exercise of authority.   If one parent seems to be having a bad night, he or she can defer to other parent to back him or or her.


Back to the main point, however.  For successful parenting like closing you have to:
  • Train yourself to 'forget' the bad days.  Don't get stuck in the self-blame/shame.
  • Fake confidence on days in which it is lacking.  Fake it to yourself and others.
  • Be consistent and persistent.
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Applies to biological as well adoptive parents:




Just because...