I've had two children and they are both teenagers now. My son is almost 15 and my daughter is 17. My daughter is now raising my granddaughter (with some help from family) and I hope she realizes that I do have some bits of wisdom to dispell.
If you ask anyone I will be the first to admit that I have made mistakes. Big ones. I mean, I love my kids but I think there are definitely some things I could have done or not done that would have benefited them.
So, these are some lessons that I have learned as a parent that I hope I can teach my daughter so that she doesn't make the same mistakes that I did.
1. When they say consistency is everything it really is!
Consistency is huge. If you tell them no once you need to keep telling them no in the same situation in the future. Kids learn quickly. If they learn that the answer is sometimes no and sometimes yes, they will continue to ask (or whine, beg, plead cry - whatever works really) until they get the answer that they want.
Early on, you need to figure out what is important to you. Then you need to stick to your guns.
2. Invest in your child
People don't think of kids as an investment but really - they are. They are an investment into our future. Not just personally, but to the world's future. Food is an investment in a good pot of soup and if you invest rotten food you get a really bad pot of soup. Money is an investment in our financial future and if you don't invest or you invest badly your financial future might end up in the dump. Maintenance is an investment in the life of a vehicle. Hire a cheap mechanic that doesn't do the job right and your car won't last as long or run as well.
Kids are an investment in the future of the world. Teach your child manners. Teach your child to work hard. Teach your child to be accountable for her actions. When you don't teach your children things like this you get adults who are rude, lazy, and believe that nothing is ever their fault.
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3. Get a car
I know, this seems like frivolous advice in regards to parenting but think about it. If you don't have a car, how are you going to make sure that your child gets to those ever so important extra curricular activities (another investment that is very important). How much time are you going to spend walking or taking buses from place to place that you could be spending with your kid? How are you going to go on day trips to places that don't have bus service? A car is more important than you might think.
4. Get an education
Children don't consider education important if their parents don't. So finish high school no matter how hard it is. Continue your education with some kind of training. I'm not saying that you need to go to college or university but keep learning whether it is through online courses or reading or a college course. If you show your child that education is important there is a good chance that they will think that, too.
5. Don't let down your gaurd
Be ready to be the parent they hate if it means that it will keep them safe or keep them out of trouble. Watch for the behavior your fear the most. I'm not saying be a paranoid parent that thinks your kid is getting drunk or stoned the minute your back is turned but don't turn a blind eye either. They'll know if you do that and they will realize that they can do whatever they want - right my darling daughter?