What we say and show kids can be two completely different things
Being a parent is one of the most enjoyable yet challenging experiences in life. Parents hold the innate responsibility of making sure kids feel loved and happy from the moment they are born yet there is no one size fits all manual.
Remembering the old adage “do as I say and not as I do” leaves many parents with a chuckle because in reality, it’s more often what you do instead of what you say that teaches your children’s life lessons on everything including how to love and give love.
Kids are especially sensitive to noticing when a parent chooses a person or activity over them. The more they mature into who they are going to be, kids naturally assign meaning to what they see. When you’re too busy for them, they can easily begin to feel that they’re not worthy of being one of your priorities. This type of thought is often carried into intimate relationships with partners, the workplace and with their own children later on down the line.
The 6 tips below are intended to help you along the parenting journey to assist your children in growing into happy, well rounded, secure adults:
- Be their number one teacher. Don’t make the mistake of thinking they will learn everything they need to about life at school or after care. Life lessons and even schoolwork can often be best taught by those who love them the most – YOU! School is the complement to real life lessons. And don’t assume they’ve got homework under control. They love when you take an interest. Think about all the things you wish you’d know or were taught earlier….use that as your model.
- Share their excitement in seeing one another. When you see them for the first time in the morning and after school, ensure they know just how happy you are to see them. Use their name or special name you have for them every time. Avoid seeming distracted . Wouldn’t you be happy if the person you love the most in the world felt the same about you and showed it?
- Teach them they are more important than your work. Most kids are constantly being put off because of work or some other task. Avoid scheduling your kids around your tasks. Take care of the kids first and schedule work around them. This technique shows them how important they are.
- Be a good mirror. The way you handle things like relationship conflict, bills, work ethic etc. are usually the way kids think things are supposed to be done. Are you behaving like a strong, patient, persistent person? How successful and happy will your children be if they handle challenges like you? Remember, they’re little sponges, soaking up everything around them.
- Encourage participation in family / household rule making. The natural tendency for people is to resist and rebel when they feel like they don’t have any control. It can be something small. Perhaps they can choose which days to clean their room each week. Or they can choose what’s for dinner (from choices that you give them). Simple things like this really help.
- Keep screen time to a minimum (including games and phones). The television is the cheapest yet can be one of the most impactful babysitters ever. The issue becomes “what type of impact” does it really have? Too much of it would mean not a good impact that’s for sure. t’s easy to let the TV entertain the kids when you’re busy or frustrated. But most parents instinctively know that their kids watch too much TV. As kids get older, cell phones, the Internet, and iPods become an issue. Technology is addictive, but it doesn’t make people happy.
Life is short and childhood is even shorter. Enjoy the time while you can because you’ll certainly miss it when it’s gone! Lead by example and make sure you are the example you want your kids to aspire to be like. Always try to do your best and when you know better, plan to do better.