Sacrifice and focus and prayer are three major factors. Many, many times my wife and I have been told how great our adult children are, and this is usually followed up with either how did you do it or how the couple wishes that their children turn out like that. It doesn’t just happen. Here are ten key factors
- Admit when you are wrong. Apologize when you display or act in some way that should not have happened, and expect it from your children when they make a mistake as well.
- Spanking does not cause emotional damage; albeit, it is not always the go-to punishment. There should be levels. Let me be clear: Abuse is wrong and should never be tolerated. What’s the difference? Personally, we never spanked our children when angry. Spankings were set and ordered structure with a discussion of why attached in the end . . . always. Speaking of discipline, the punishment should be attached to the violation, i.e. if the child breaks curfew, don’t take the television in his room. He should lose the car for a week or his cell phone for not calling.
- Do not be your child’s best friend. They will have plenty of friends in school. There is a parent/child friendship to a degree, but there is a line. If you do this and then try to be a disciplinarian, you will not be respected and the child will feel betrayed by you . . . as his “friend.”
- Give your child a safe place to make decisions. No, not where he wants to eat but difficult decisions based on his age. When a decision is made by the child, he will have to live with the decision. Bailing your child out of bad decisions is close to the number one failure of parents.
- Be positive when it comes to learning. Create a thirst for learning. Read to your child and read with your child. Create wonder in your child. Point out the beauty around him. Ask him complex questions and give him time to think. Research things and have good answers to the tons and tons of curious questions.
- Do NOT wait until your children are pre-teens to start parenting. It must start from the start. Infants needs tons of love and affections and have a feeling of security from you. How you parent an infant is obviously different from how you parent a teenager, but the act of parenting should have always been in the picture.
- Fight the battles. Avoiding confrontations with your child has horrible consequences. Stand for what you believe is correct, and guess what? You don’t have to explain yourself. It is perfectly okay to have an explanation with your decision, but you should never feel like you have to prove that your good decision is a good one.
- The core is the family. The home is the safe zone. If this is true, it will be the return spot for your children and conversation will blossom. Have family time . . . from the start! This is essential for the years to come.
- Raise your children to respect others. Everyone has something to contribute. Teach your children to listen and be willing to adopt a better idea from others. Demonstrate your respect as a husband to his wife and a wife to her husband. It all starts in the home.
- Soft skills are a dying art. Teach your children to have manners. Please, thank you, you’re welcome, how are you, good morning and others are becoming a foreign language. Personally, my wife and I also taught our kids to use “sir” and “ma’am” when speaking to an adult. Heck, I still use it today when talking to my parents or an elder in the community.
Parenting is an ever evolving thing. How you parent your toddler will not work with a ten-year old. Teenagers are a whole different thing within itself, and it’s tough . . . but you have to stand firm. You will question yourself and hate the wrong decisions you made, but your efforts will prove to be for good in the future. Your children will understand that you were trying to do the best you could. Effort is key. You WILL sacrifice. You MUST focus intently. You HAVE to pray hard.