(Almost) Everything You Need To Know About Being a Parent in 17 Words or Less

by Jen Reichert

Full disclosure: I’m not a parent, at least not in any official capacity. And I’m as shocked as you are about the whole thing. Who on God’s Green Earth would dedicate her life to helping parents help their kids, although not a parent herself?

Hi, the name’s Jen. I’m the childless lady who’s devoted my entire career — dare I say, my entire life — to families.


I’ve walked alongside countless kids and parents — for almost a decade as a private and public school teacher, having spent more hours a day with my students than their parents got to, and almost a decade as a social worker, having spent more time in homes with families than with my own family and friends.  

With those years of experience (and a few other things), I’ve cultivated a unique perspective about some of the ins and outs of parenting. So, although not a mother, I’ve made it my personal mission to help moms and dads everywhere to parent well.

Now I can go on and on about the pitfalls of parenting (and I will), but let’s start with a quick-reference guide (from Circle of Security International) to get you on the road to Parent of the Year. Review them. And then memorize them. And then repeat them.

Your kids will thank you.


Wait, no… if you know a thing or two about kids, you know they’re not great at thanking us for all the good we do.

I’ll make you a deal. If you try the following suggestions, I’ll thank you. 


17 Words Every Parent Should Know

Always be bigger, stronger, wiser, and kind.

Be a protector. On this here earth, every species other than humans runs away at any sign of danger. People are the only ones who run to a primary caregiver for safety. Kids need you to (act like you) have it all under control. And to be nice about it.


Whenever possible, follow your child’s needs. 

Be selfless. It’s not about you. Understanding your child’s needs, especially the ones that aren’t being met, and then doing what you can to meet those needs will transform both of you. It’s not about you.


Whenever necessary, take charge.  

Be the leader. Adults have a great responsibility to guide children through life because kids need benevolent, gracious leaders — whether they know they do or not. Being the one in charge helps children feel secure.

Of course, there are at least one million complexities to parenting, but I can say without any doubt that making those 17 words a mantra of sorts will benefit you and your child.  

Now, go! You can do it! Happier, more satisfying parenting awaits you. The childless lady believes in you.