Some truths are so universal that everyone agrees with them. I’m sure that you, like everyone else, want your kids to grow up to be thoughtful and productive members of society.
Be a good person. Everything else is secondary.
Even though you want the best for your kids, sometimes you may do things, unintentionally, that come back to bite you. Some parents know intuitively how to raise their kids, but don’t make the effort. Conversely, some parents don’t have a clue — after all, kids don’t come with an instruction manual. The problem is that parents learn important lessons after the fact rather than being able to put them into practice when needed. As Galileo Galilei said, “All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.”
5 Essential Truths for Raising Your Kids
Here are five essential truths for raising your kids. Use them as guideposts for your journey through parenthood.
Are you shaping your kids’ character? Some parents are physically present but not “available” for their kids. In fact, they’re so busy (or so they say) that they fail to equip their children with basic building blocks for success. In fact, they undervalue education, belittle hard work, fail to set limits, and rarely discipline their kids.
Moral character. Having kids is not the same as being a parent. It’s critical to provide a strong family structure, instill solid values and a powerful work ethic, and combine those elements with a first-rate education. Most importantly, you can lecture your kids until you’re blue in the face, but the best way to teach them is to lead by example. Period!
Behind all good kids are parents who understand
the importance of raising them that way.
Are you helping your kids to be resilient? Some parents protect their kids from the world. They fight their battles, shield them from hard knocks, insulate them from dissenting viewpoints, and even defend their bad behavior. They coddle them like helpless infants, which makes them frail and vulnerable.
Accountable. Prepare your kids for the real world. Let them experience adversity, learn from failures, and know what it feels like to lose. Kids grow most when they’re confronted by challenges and learn to overcome adversity. It’ll shape their character and make them strong. Sure…they’ll hit some bumps along the way, but they’ll grow confident and resilient over time and will be forever grateful for your tough love.
Are you setting reasonable expectations? Some parents demand perfection from their kids. They make it known that a B test score is unsatisfactory, and a second-place win is no better than a loss. To them, anything short of perfection is unacceptable. You have to wonder whether parents do this for their children’s benefit or to feed their own ego.
Excellence. Encourage your kids to strive for excellence rather than perfection. Winning should be secondary to doing their best, learning from every experience, and striving to get better every day. If you believe perfection is everything, you may wake up one day and realize that your quest for perfection was anything but perfect.
Are you teaching your kids to be self-reliant? Some parents spoil their kids rotten — handing everything to them on a silver platter. Consequently, they never develop a strong work ethic or learn the value of money. In addition, some parents are so involved with their kids’ activities that they never learn how to think for themselves, make good choices, or fend for themselves.
Self-sufficient. Teach your kids to be self-reliant. From the moment they’re born, prepare them for the day when you’ll set them free. In essence, make them earn their success! It’ll promote self-reliance; it’ll do wonders for their self-image; and it’ll enhance their ability to function in the real world. I know you mean well by supporting your kids, but helping them too much only makes them helpless.
Are you instilling confidence in your kids? Some people hit with fists, others with words. Some parents rob their kids of their confidence, dignity, and self-worth — without even knowing it. They say, “You’re no good,” “Kids like you don’t stand a chance,” or “The world isn’t fair.” It’s no wonder those kids grow up to be unmotivated, resentful, and disillusioned.
Self-esteem. Give your children hope. Teach them to dream big and pursue their dreams with gusto. The truth is that most things in life are attainable if you’re willing to make the sacrifice. But that requires hard work, commitment, and unyielding determination — don’t let people convince you otherwise. Winners make the effort while losers make excuses.
Nothing Is More Important Than Family
The future of your children is dependent, in large part, on the way that you raise them during their formative years — because at some point, they will have other influences in their life. Are you shaping your children’s moral character, helping them grow up to be resilient, setting reasonable expectations, teaching them to be self-reliant, and instilling confidence? If you don’t pass your values on to your kids, someone else will.
Nothing should be a higher priority than raising your children. Nothing!
Raising your children is an incredible responsibility. At some point, your kids are going to be influenced by friends, teachers, personal experiences, entertainment, and the society at large. Unlike the change of seasons, raising good kids doesn’t happen as a matter of course. Will you provide them with a proper foundation so they can thrive? Or will you leave it all up to chance? Parenting isn’t a gift of the wealthy, but of the caring. Our future is dependent on our kids. And the future of your children is dependent on you.
How Many of These Truths Do You Embrace?
Please leave a comment and tell us what you think or share it with someone who can benefit from the information.
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13 Ways to Be a Good Role Model
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Excellent points, Frank! My daughters are 18 & 21. Before I had them, I set an intention – that I was going to raise my daughters to have the confidence and self-esteem that I did not. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that was a great guidepost in and of itself. In difficult times, I went back to that and it helped me to allow them to be more independent, to make mistakes and learn from them, to try new things without having any idea of the outcome and more. I took them to the Dollar Store to teach them about money and choices – resisting the urge to give in when they wanted more than the money they had would allow.
In my experience, it’s a lot tougher emotionally to raise great kids – because the toughest times require us to set boundaries and actually follow-through on our stated consequences, let go of control, to let go of the ideas of “how things SHOULD” be, to let them explore their independence and to make mistakes and learn. While I’ve definitely made some mistakes in my child-rearing, I believe I’ve done more right than wrong and the unsolicited feedback I get on my daughters supports that. It’s a journey that at it’s best grows us the parents as much as the children. The truths that you’ve laid out here are a GREAT foundation. Thanks for what you do.
Frank Sonnenberg says
You have a wonderful outlook, Kirsten. The key is that you’ve made a conscious effort to raise your girls to have confidence and self-esteem. Other folks think that raising well-adjusted kids occurs magically, or worse yet they outsource their responsibility to others. As I say, “Behind every good kid are parents who understand the importance of raising them that way.” Bravo!
Thanks for taking the time to write.