Children enter the world without a guidebook. Perhaps this explains the bustling book sales on helpful parenting tips.
It’s worth the investment in the first two years of your newborn’s life to subscribe to a ‘hardcopy’ of a top-rated parenting magazine for something you can read in leisure mode when baby’s napping.
I know we’re in an era of tablets; but, being able to highlight facts at a glance without relying on the internet is a good habit to keep at the ready.
In this post I will offer ten takeaways to successful parenting:
All humans require food, shelter, clothing; but, infants need lots of loving affirmations. Infant children whose parents, especially mothers, are distant and unattached, have high incidences of emotional detachment as they grow.
Your children’s behavior will mirror your (plural) behavior in their public spaces. If the teacher says your child is acting out, it’s probably a great idea to observe how you ‘act’ when he’s around you in the home environment.
If your child is overall healthy; but, overweight, it’s your fault. I know it’s harsh; but, they don’t have the finances to buy what’s making them obese. If your child has the girth of an adult, you are the one responsible for creating a healthy eating environment. It’s not enough to say; “But they won’t eat such and such.” Trust me, abnormalities aside, when children tire of hunger, they will eat.
Teach your child to read. Their ability to recognize numbers and letters, even how to spell their name, can be taught in small doses as early as 18 months.
On that note, if you give your toddler and 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper and crayons, but they only make a tiny scribble in the top right corner, cut the sheet in 1/4s, and let them create in spaces more balanced to their view. Remember, they mirror you. Sit with them and draw a simple sun, stick figure, clouds, etc. They will strive to meet the challenge.
Keep your younger children tethered to you. If you’re in a department store your child can wander off in seconds. There’s nothing more frightening, for a parent, than looking up and not seeing their child in view. Some argue that it’s inhumane to have a loose tether attached at your hip and their wrist; but, I argue that it’s poor parenting to have your child unattended in unfamiliar places. What’s inhumane to one, is neglect to another.
Teach your child, early on, that ‘no’ is a real word. Parents can be over-accommodating. Too often all requests for a toy or treat receive an affirmative. However, the sooner they learn that you mean no, and stand by it, the easier it will be as they age. There will be no embarrassing ‘but whyyyyyy’ displays of emotion in the middle of the toy department; for, you will teach them that it’s okay to ask why; but, after receiving a suitable answer, the original reply will still remain, ‘nope’.
You are the legal responsibility of your children until age 18. If you don’t approve of their friends, let them know in detail why. Offer them scenarios of when you were their age, and why your life experiences can be used as wisdom for them today.
Use drive-time with the kids, especially preteens to teens as an opportunity to turn the volume down on the radio, and just have open and honest conversations. Barriers break down swiftly when they realize your eyes are busy maneuvering in traffic. Children tend to open up to what’s going on with them if you spark the conversation. It’s okay if they don’t talk first. You can always start an “I remember when I was your age…blah, blah, blah…” Of course, the older the child, the more they will pretend they're not listening; but, I assure you: THEY ARE LISTENING. You are offering insight that they don't have the courage/ability to posit.
And, now I offer the best as last, which is really first and multi-layered:
- Teach your children about the Holy Spirit within, which leads and guides them in the rights and wrongs of life, when making decisions. Teach them to Trust Him and not doubt. Teach them to offer to share a portion of everything they receive. Teach them to give a penny to a charitable cause for every ten pennies they receive. Pay them early on for age-appropriate chores, with a give, spend, pay, and save mindset.