When we have children, no one gives us a manual on how to raise them. As parents we attempt to do the best that we can based on what we have observed and learned throughout our lives. We make decisions on how we groom our kids with a desired outcome in mind. When we look back on our lives we often wonder if we did our best for them or if we let them down. The only way for us to truly know is by how well they turn out. But sometimes no matter how good the efforts, our children lose their way. Is that our failure as parents or is that our kids falling victim to their environment, peers or even television? How do we ensure that we do the best that we can when raising our kids? There are no 100% correct answers but here is some advice that may help.
- Teach Kids Responsibility. Around the age of 5 kids should begin to have some responsibility. You can start out by simply having them put their toys away after they finish playing. As they continue to grow up they should be given chores that they must accomplish. This teaches kids to take ownership of something and to be held accountable for it. How many adults have you worked with that have never learned this lesson? Don’t let your child be one of them.
- Teach Them Respect. Children should respect adults. There is nothing sadder than a young person talking disrespectfully to an adult. This is an immediate reflection on the parents. If we don’t teach our kids how to respect others, than how do they learn to respect themselves?
- Show consequences for their actions. If a child does something wrong there should be consequences. Kids learn very early on what they can get away with. If you allow bad behavior when they are young, as they grow older they will be out of control. Time outs and taking away items of importance are a couple of ways to accomplish this.
- Don’t be an enabler. When your kids make poor choices let them deal with the outcomes on their own. They must learn to pick themselves up when they fall. Always try to think about the kind of person you would want them to be if you were no longer here. You would want them to be able to stand on their own two feet. Start them down that road now. As they get older they will appreciate that they are in control of their own destiny. Hopefully, these small challenges when they are young will stop them from having to face larger, painful challenges as adults.
- Show Them A Good Relationship. There are so many kids living in unhappy homes. Their parents are constantly verbally abusing each other or worse. As a child grows up and enters their own relationships; they believe that this type of behavior is the norm. If we want our children to be capable of finding happiness inside of relationships, then that’s what we should be showing them.
- Prepare Them For Higher Education. After a child graduates from high school there should be a next step. Let them know throughout their formidable years of your expectation that they continue their education. Discuss with them the importance of getting an education or some form of training. This can be a four year college, technical school or a training program. Let them know that you support them taking their education further so that they can live a comfortable life.
Being a parent is no easy task, but it’s a job that many men and women are thrust into everyday. Although we may not have all the answers; we owe it to our children to be the best parents that we can be. By using some of the tips above, we can assist our kids in their transition into adult life with minimal challenges and many happy endings. Maya Angelou has a saying “When you know better you do better.” I think all parents should aspire to do better for their children.