Why is the Missing Secret to Parenting “Missing”?

by denny hagel on October 2, 2011

Have you ever wondered why the missing secret to parenting is "missing"?

No, this isn’t a riddle and it is not a trick question. It is however a very interesting question I received not too long ago from an inquisitive 7 yr old that happened to be visiting my family. I was involved in a conversation with his parents when he overheard me telling them about my latest e-Book, The Missing Secret to Parenting. He quite innocently and very seriously interrupted and asked “Why is the missing secret to parenting missing?” And as I began to formulate an answer to his question, I realized just what an eye-opener the answer really is.
If you have been following me and my work for any length of time you know that it is my belief that the “secret” to successful and effective parenting involves the perceptions, ideas, thoughts and beliefs parents have concerning their role and subsequent impact in their children’s lives, in other words, the health of their “parenting mindset”.

Being raised the oldest of five, the mother of a 34 yr old and the grandmother of two teenagers (both of whom I am raising), having spent the bulk of my adult career working for the well-being of all children, I can tell you that in every situation, conflict or crisis, the solution begins within the parent’s perception. No exceptions.
Keeping that in mind, let’s go back to the question…So, just why is this something that has remained a “secret” for so many?

My answer to the 7 yr. old was short… "Mostly because parents are looking in the wrong place!” I said. He giggled a bit and seemed satisfied with that. But the long answer is much more serious.
When challenges and struggles surface because a child does something or doesn’t do something that isn’t in line with what the parent wants, likes or agrees with, they are looked upon as uncooperative, inappropriate or unwanted behaviors.
The behavior of the child becomes the focal point; therefore, in the mind of the parent the solution must be within the child.
All of the parent’s energies are directed toward the child. Their goal is to find a way to “change” or “correct” the child’s choices or actions. Attempts to solve the problem can be anything from strongly communicating their wishes to all forms of discipline.
When the focus remains on the behavior of the child, one of two things will occur. The first is that the child will rebel and the situation escalates. The other is that the child is forced out of fear of punishment to adjust his behavior. Neither being a very positive solution, however, in the parent’s mind, once the behavior changes, the problem is solved!
The critical aspect to note is that the change is only occurring on the outside. This is not reflective of what is happening inside the child’s mind. And because his thoughts and feelings are being ignored they will be suppressed, they will linger and fester and one day surface in a much more negative way. Sometimes this can take years. These negative feelings will become buried in their subconscious mind and seep out in an even greater degree of negativity down the road. For some it can be during the teen years while others they could remain hidden until their adult years.
Understanding the common knowledge fact that children get 90% of their information about themselves and the world around them from their parents leads us to the logical conclusion that what children do and think and act out of is largely based on what they see, hear and interpret from what their parents model.
The “secret” is “missing” from the mindset of parents because they are looking outward (toward the child’s behavior) for solutions and answers when the truth is that the seeds to the solution will be found when they look inward (toward themselves).
This mindset is most always a result of the way they were raised by their parents. It is a cycle that is passed down without any conscious effort or choice. It is a "way of being" that is modeled by parents and automatically absorbed by their children.
Please know however, there is no room for guilt or blame. What is passed on to our children is very seldom done with specific intent. Parents certainly don’t intentionally pass on negativity to their children. It has only been in recent years that parents have understood the need to be aware and alert to what they are passing on.
Which brings to minds the amazing quote that Oprah shared many times on her show…
"When you know better, you do better”
                                  ~Maya Angelou

 When looking for solutions to the challenges you face with your children always take a moment and look within.

  • Ask yourself if there is anything in their choice or behavior that resonates within you.
  • Take a moment to communicate with your child to explore his thoughts and ideas in order to understand his reasoning.
  • Offer him your guidance to find a positive way to convey his feelings other than by acting out and work as a team to create a positive situation.

The Missing Secret to Parenting
Skills, tools, insights and strategies to
BE the Best Parent YOU Can Be



Denny Hagel is a child advocate and parenting coach, devoting over 25 years to the success and well being of all children. She is the published author of over 125 articles on parenting, many of which have attracted international attention in over 24 countries.

Denny was blessed with forward thinking parents who raised her with an understanding of her value as an individual, her innate power to choose by way of her thoughts, ideas, opinions and beliefs, thus, instilling in her a strong sense of personal responsibility for what happens in our lives

She is the founder of Awakened Parenting LLC, a company dedicated to helping parents release parenting paradigms of the past and consciously choose to raise their children to approach life with a positive mindset and strong sense of self. It is Denny’s passion to combine what she learned through her formal education in early childhood education and psychology and what her parents instilled in her and pass this on to all parents.

Denny has created the discussion group "Awakened Parenting Discussion Forum" on Face Book which now has nearly 600 members.  She does on line coaching with parents and teachers who consult her on a regular basis. Denny collaborates with counselors, authors, coaches and others working in the parent coaching field. Denny Hagel is the author of the newly published "The Missing Secret to Parenting", "The C.P.R. Program for Parents & Teens: Conflict Prevention/Resolution Formula", "Mini-Me Syndrome" and two free e-booklets Parenting Using the Law of Attraction and Becoming an Awakened Parent".

  • Carol A. Bender

    I love what you are doing to spread the love and knowledge you have. 

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for the kind compliment Carol! :)

  • http://www.followgrandmapat.com Patcruickshank

    Great article Denny.  Yes, who we are and how we perceive the world is so set into us between ages 4 – 8.  So even the unspoken cues from our parents can make such a difference.  What is good that the new generation of parents can now be more aware of this and like you say be proactive to check the mindset they are passing down. 

  • http://www.bestrealhealth.com Pat Moon

    Thanks Denny, for another inspiring article.  It reminded me of when our oldest (daughter) was 6th or 7th grade and stuck on only wearing faded jeans. (I’m really dating myself). This was in the early 70’s.  One of our neighbor’s daughters who was a freshman in HS, ran away from home.  What it came down to, was her parents did not approve of her always wearing faded jeans and straight hair.  I made up my mind at that time I was not going to let popular dress or hair styles build a wedge between me and my children.  At times it was difficult for me especially when our youngest son wanted to have his ear pierced during HS, but all 3 of our children knew how to dress properly for special occasions.  Thanks for helping me remember my perspective as a parent and grandparent.

  • http://www.ad-virtualassistance.com Anastasiya Day

    Denny great post as always! I love what you are doing too to spread the love and knowledge you have.Thank you so much for sharing this article with us!

  • http://pathtolifesuccess.net Hughie Bagnell

    Thank you Denny! The mindset of parents certainly is the seed to the solution. Great article Denny! Thanks, Hughie  

  • http://www.thechoicedrivenlife.com Olga Hermans

    Like Maya Angelou said “When you know better, you do better” is a biblical principle: we lack because of lack of knowledge. So, the missing ingredient is very well stated. When we have the knowledge, we do better. If we don’t do better when we have the knowledge, we are in serious problems. :) Thanks Denny!                                  

  • http://www.facebook.com/DrJenBennett Jennifer Bennett

    Another great one Denny!  I have found that the mindset is such a big “deal” when it comes to everyone and their role in life. We can either allow our mindset to hurt us or move us forward into the direction that God would have us move. Thanks for sharing your wisdom! 

  • http://twitter.com/CarolGiambri Carol Giambri

    Great article Denny.  Raising two teenagers!   Wow.  Talk about lessons learned from this generation I bet.  Love  all your information but looking inside for solutions is great.  People fail to go inside too often.

  • Anonymous

    Denny, again, you help parents use intelligence to communicate with our children.
    If we, as parents, would take the emotion out of difficult dilemmas, and would be reasonable, many sticky situations would be avoided. Great information!

  • Anonymous

    Absolutely Laura! Thanks for commenting!

  • Anonymous

    Agreed Carol…once we open up to the concept of self-evalution real change happens. Thanks for commenting!

  • Anonymous

    Well said Jennifer! Thank you for your kind words!

  • Anonymous

    Agreed! Thanks Olga!

  • Anonymous

    Appreciate your comment Hughie!

  • Anonymous

    You are very welcome!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you so much for sharing Pat…my mother used to say “If it won’t hurt them, then what’s the harm?” We were raised with all the fads of the 60’s and 70’s and received a few double takes from our parents but never forbidden from our choices. It is wise lesson for all parents.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Pat, you have just described my mission, passion and goal to a “T”…inspire, motivate and encourage parents to look within!

  • Wil

    Love is always a better solution.
    Thanks for the great info, Denny. :)

  • http://www.travelwritingpro.com Claudia Looi

    This statement is powerful : children get 90% of their information
    about themselves and the world around them from their parents…that what children do and think and act out of
    is largely based on what they see, hear and interpret from what their
    parents model….soooo true! Thanks for sharing.

  • Joanie McMahon

    Its another good post Denny. Keep em’ coming. And thank U

  • http://lyndeutsch.com Lyndeutsch

    The “secret” is “missing” from the mindset of parents because they are looking outward (toward the child’s behavior) for solutions and answers when the truth is that the seeds to the solution will be found when they look inward (toward themselves).”  I have to repeat this, and I confess I did mistakes when they were young… but somehow when I acknowledged them to my children, we all found grace and love that heals..

  • Anne

    Family patterns are passed down from generation to generation. There’s blessing and a curse in that! Thanks for the article. I’m sure all parents would benifit from your books.

  • Donaldwells

    Great food for thought:-)

  • Anonymous

    Denny, out of the mouth of babes!  Sometimes we have to go back to the simple in order to understand the more complex …

  • Anonymous

    This is a great deal, Denny!

  • james samy

    Thank you Denny, you touched me with this topic of parenting and the missing link.

  • Anonymous

    You are welcome James!

  • Anonymous

    Well said Sharon! Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Anne, you are so right and as parents we must take what is good and positive and let go of what isn’t!

  • Anonymous

    Your action of bringing your mistakes to your children sends such a powerful message to them…awesome!

  • Anonymous

    You are welcome Claudia! Thanks for commenting!

  • http://www.pamelawrightsolutions.com pamela wright

    Awesome article and questions, Denny! 

  • AJ

    Awesome advice for all of us parents Denny!

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