Dad Days of Summer: While Momania’s Theresa Walsh Giarrusso takes a vacation, local dad and sportswriter Andy Johnston will be filling in. You can e-mail him at email@example.com.
Mark Richt is entering his 11th season as the football coach at the University of Georgia. He and his wife Katharyn were married in 1987 and had two boys – Jon, 21, and David, 16 – before adopting Zack, 15, and Anya, 14, from the Ukraine in 1999. He took some time to talk to me about his philosophies on several aspects of parenting.
First of all, it’s crucial, at least for me personally, that myself and my wife are connected to the Lord. That’s No. 1. A relationship with God is first and foremost. If that’s right, we’ve got a chance. And No. 2, have a great relationship with your wife. If the parents are stable in their relationship and if we are in agreement with how we’re going to go about our business, that’s very, very important. Children need security. Children need not to be confused, so if the parents love each other and if they have that great relationship and if they communicate well, they’re not going to confuse the child with what the boundaries are. I think boundaries are huge.
Children need boundaries. Boundaries give children security and give them an idea of what’s expected. If something is bad one day, it needs to be bad the next day. And if something is good one day, it needs to be good the next day. If they do something and mom gets mad and dad thinks it’s funny, you have problems. You’ve got to be very consistent in their boundaries and follow through with anything you say you might do. If mom and dad agree that this is the deal, and if they obey, they’re in good shape. If they don’t, there’s going to be a consequence. I think the consequence needs to be laid out beforehand and I think it needs to be where both parents are in agreement. And again, be very consistent in that.
On preparing to have kids:
A guy we thought was a good resource was John Rosemond. We also did a Bible study called, “Growing Kids God’s Way.” Those two things helped us a lot. Then again, more than half the battle is having a good gameplan. It’s got to be clearly defined and you’ve got to stick to it. There won’t be a lot of confusion for these guys.
On single parents:
I know there are a lot of single parent homes out there, so that makes it a lot tougher for someone to be mother, father, breadwinner. That’s very difficult, and my heart goes out to anybody who’s fighting that battle. I applaud them for doing that. If you have help raising your child, even if that person is not your husband – it could be your sister, brother, grandmother, your mother, whoever – whoever is in charge of rearing that child and disciplining that child, you have to be on the same page with whoever that might be, just as you would be with your husband and your wife.
Coming Wednesday: Part 2
- By Andy Johnston, for the Momania blog