The Twenty-four-Karat Golden Rule: Why It Is Important to Build Self-Discipline, Responsibility, and Emotional Health in Children Do you know the Golden Rule? Most people do. Usually, it is quoted, "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." We call this "the Fourteen-Karat Golden Rule." Why? Because there is a better one, one that reflects what we call Emotionally Intelligent Parenting: Do unto your children as you would have other people do unto your children. We insist that others honor and respect our children, talk to them with courtesy and consideration, and not physically hurt them. How have you reacted when someone has dishonored your children in some way? Perhaps it was a teacher, or someone in a store, or the parent of another child. We are sure you were upset and asked, among other things, what they thought they were doing and how dare they do that. Yet a moment of honest reflection might reveal times when we have said and done things to our own children for which, if an outsider tried them, we would want them arrested and imprisoned. The difference between the Fourteen- and Twenty-four-Karat Golden Rules is Emotionally Intelligent Parenting. The Twenty-four-Karat Rule requires us to know our feelings well, to take our child's perspective with empathy, to control our own impulses, to monitor carefully what we are doing as parents, to work in a dedicated way to improve our parenting, and to use social skill in carrying out ideas. The Fourteen-Karat Rule is not strong enough to serve as a guide for parenting now. Times have changed. Life is hectic, complicated, exciting, challenging, and exhausting. We have ever-increasing information overload. The time is right for a new Golden Rule for parenting. We haven't had one since Benjamin Spock and Haim Ginott came on the scene--over three decades ago. It's time for a new paradigm for parenting, for a new century and millennium: Emotionally Intelligent Parenting. What can Emotionally Intelligent Parenting do for your household? First, it will help bring about more peace with less stress. It is a way to restore a sense of balance when stress takes its toll and the kids start fighting, cooperation turns to conflict, your teenagers rebel, and members of the family get frustrated with everything that seems to need to be done immediately. Some stress can be motivating, but too much keeps us from being at our best. It is difficult for individuals under stress to do what, in calmer circumstances, they know is right. It's a Difficult Time to Be a Parent--or a Child This is a very demanding time during which to be a parent. Maybe the only thing more difficult is to be a child. There are more influences than ever on children, and more sources of distraction. James Comer--a professor of child psychiatry at the Yale Child Study Center and the author of the books School Power and Waiting for a Miracle: Schools Can't Solve Our Problems, But We Can, and a leader in addressing the concerns of all youth, especially those in our urban centers--pointed out in a 1997 interview that never before in human history has there been so much information going directly to children that is unfiltered by adult caregivers. Cornell University child development specialist Uri Bronfenbrenner observed that we are in the age of hectic activity; we are busy planning how to get our kids to where they have to be next, to get ourselves where we have to be, rushing from one thing to another, wondering if all of our arrangements will work out. Put this all together and you have a parenting situation with all the calmness and order of the inside of a blender making a mixed fruit drink. There is a profusion of parenting fads. And just about every idea that comes along gets cloned, usually without authenticity or any hope of delivering on promises made. The stress does not seem to diminish. Parents do not know where to turn. WhaElias, Maurice J. is the author of 'Emotionally Intelligent Parenting How to Raise a Self-Disciplined, Responsible, Socially Skilled Child' with ISBN 9780609804834 and ISBN 0609804839.