Conversation: Michelle LaRowe Conover
Tips from a nanny
Named the 2004 International Nanny Association Nanny of the
Year, Michelle LaRowe Conover, 32, started her career as a professional nanny
nearly 10 years ago. She is the author of the Nanny to the Rescue! parenting
book series and earlier this year completed the first level of pastoral studies
through Global University. This summer she and husband Jeff, members of Faith
Assembly of God in Hyannis, Mass., became parents when Conover gave birth to a
baby girl. Recently, Conover spoke with Jennifer McClure, assistant editor of Today’s Pentecostal Evangel.
tpe: What are some common parenting issues in the average
CONOVER: Parents want to be their kids’ best friend, and I
think because of that they’re sometimes afraid to discipline. We live in a
society of immediate gratification, and parents have a tendency to want to meet
all of their kids’ needs immediately. Also, we don’t take time to have free
time. Everything’s over-scheduled and over-structured.
tpe: What do you recommend for correcting those tendencies?
CONOVER: It’s vital to understand the difference between
discipline and punishment. Discipline means to teach and to raise up, to guide
and to instruct. When parents get a mind-set of what true discipline is,
they’re more likely to discipline their children because they see it as an act
Regarding immediate gratification, it’s important to teach
older children to have a budget, to save, to give to other people and to learn
to work toward something rather than just have it instantly.
tpe: What about the over-scheduling of kids?
CONOVER: Find activities that keep your child active and
engaged, but also let kids be kids. Let them have time to play outside, to
explore, to make up games, to be creative, to learn to be bored and to process
tpe: Where can parents find tested guidelines for raising
CONOVER: The Bible gives us a blueprint for raising children
and families. God’s Word is a source of strength and encouragement. I always go
by the five Cs: comprehend the difference between discipline and punishment, be
clear, be consistent, be considerate and, most importantly, center your faith.
Your faith is your set of morals, your values and your
beliefs that you live by. Your job as a parent is to program the internal
compass that your children have. You can’t underestimate the importance of
centering your faith as a family and communicating your faith to your children.
If you don’t tell your kids what you believe, someone else will communicate
tpe: How have you been able to serve as a parenting expert
without having been a parent?
CONOVER: It’s all because of God. My parents were divorced,
my father was an alcoholic and abused my mom, I had no kids of my own, and yet
they call me a parenting expert. I’ve written three books on parenting. I’ve
been on the 700 Club. I’ve been on international television. I write for
magazines regularly. That’s not me. That’s God through me.
By the world’s standards I should be a failure. God takes
what the world throws away and elevates it and lifts it up. I look at my life,
where I’ve been and where I’ve come from. I look at all the circumstances, and
it’s amazing. God opens doors no man can open and no man can close and sets you
on His path.
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