Parenthood is one of the most rewarding experiences in life. There’s nothing like watching your kids grow up to be principled human beings living up to their potential. But even though this aspiration seems to be realistic and noble, getting them across the finish line isn’t always easy. That’s because parenthood isn’t child’s play.
Unlike the change of seasons, raising good kids doesn’t happen as a matter of course. Furthermore, you can’t buy a magic pill or delegate the responsibility to others. You make it happen.
If you want your kids to grow up to be happy, successful, and well-adjusted adults, it requires time, dedication, and love (with a touch of luck). Furthermore, while teachers and religious leaders can help reinforce the values that you hold dear, the responsibility lies solely with you. The truth is, having kids is not the same as being a parent.
16 Tips for Being a Great Parent
It’s a parent’s responsibility to raise kids who have strong morals and who will be productive members of society. Here are 16 things that parents can do to raise great kids.
Make your children feel loved. Show affection. Make them safe and secure.
Be a part of your children’s Lives. Be available and involved. Spend quality time with your children, alone, and as a family. When kids are ready to talk, be ready to listen.
Build confidence. Be your children’s biggest cheerleader. Help them develop self-esteem and self-reliance through active guidance and nurturing.
Shape character. Teach your children the difference between right and wrong. Use real-life experiences to build and reinforce moral character, personal values, and self-sufficiency.
Promote basic values. Teach your kids to: share, tell the truth, play fair, keep their promises, have faith, do their best, pull their weight, show kindness and respect, remember their manners, help the less fortunate, kiss and make up, value each other’s opinion, learn from mistakes, bounce back from failure, practice what they preach, stick together, listen before they talk, clean up their own mess, have each other’s back, be a good friend, and put family first.
Inspire good habits. Set high expectations. Encourage habits that promote good health, happiness, and success.
Support the importance of education. Encourage curiosity while stressing the importance of continuous improvement and lifelong learning.
Teach life skills. Impart critical life skills such as good study and organization routines, time management, planning ahead, problem solving, selling an idea, multitasking, giving and receiving feedback, basic budgeting and financial management, healthy living and nutrition, personal safety, home repairs and maintenance, personal hygiene, manners, and mental health.
Give unconditional love. Celebrate wins and offer a shoulder to cry on when times are tough.
Know how your children are being influenced. Know where your children are, and with whom, and how they’re using social media.
Encourage personal responsibility. With freedom comes responsibility. Teach your children that they are accountable for their words and actions.
Show some discipline. Be tough, but fair. Positive and negative reinforcement should be timely and consistent. Remember, if we don’t address poor behavior, we’re encouraging it through our inaction.
Be a great role model. Demonstrate the importance of living with honor and integrity through your words and actions. As Robert Fulghum, the author, said, “Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.”
Celebrate traditions. Tradition offers an excellent context for meaningful pause and reflection. It provides an excellent forum to showcase role models and celebrate the things that really matter in life.
Be optimistic and hopeful. When kids grow up, they hear their parent’s voice in their subconscious. Teach your kids that they can achieve their dreams as long as they work hard, do what’s right, and put their mind to it.
Clarify life’s journey. Teach your kids the difference between success and happiness and help them live a purposeful life.
Parenthood Isn’t a Spectator Sport
Being a good parent isn’t for the faint of heart. It’ll test your wisdom, challenge your stamina, and defy your patience. But even though you’re not financially compensated for being on your toes 24/7, it’s the most rewarding job in the world.
Being a parent is the gift that keeps on giving. You put your heart into raising your children and are rewarded every day –– by watching them grow into good and loving adults. But don’t kid yourself…there are many ways this train can go off the tracks. That’s where you come in. Kids require time and attention. Meeting those needs isn’t a gift of the wealthy, but of the caring. Nothing you do for your children is ever wasted. The truth is, behind all good kids are parents or caregivers who understand the importance of raising them that way. As Frederick Douglass, the orator and statesman, said, “It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Our future is dependent on our kids. And the future of your children is dependent on you. Parenthood isn’t child’s play. Are you doing your part?