Like it or not, parents are a child’s single biggest influencers in life. The saying that goes: Do what I say and not what I do, is completely incorrect. As adults, we often realize later in life, that we are more like our parents than what we thought. Well it’s because that behavior or character trait was modeled to us when we were children and it is conditioned into us as humans.
Can we be the generation that stops the cycle of passing on bad habits over to our children, but massage the good character traits into them from a tender age. Let’s teach our children to let go of the unnecessary and hold on to the gold.
- Integrity. It is so important for us as parents to have integrity and to not only have it, but to model it every day and even more so towards our children. Where will our children learn to express themselves if we do not create a safe environment at home for them to be able to be disappointed, sad or even angry? How will they know how to deal with anger if they are not allowed to show anger?
When you have made a mistake, own up to it, admit it, apologize and move on. We all make mistakes, but it is how we deal with it, that deposits into our children.
- Quality & Quantity Time. Yes both. I know kids like stuff, but they would most definitely rather want more of you. With the times that we live in, time is wasted on so much, yet not given to what is needed. Your yes to something is a no to something else. Manage your time wisely and invest time into your children. Go on adventures together. Start new family traditions. Make up funny questions to ask at dinner time. Go on that hike as a family. Moms, knit those ugly Christmas sweaters and wear them with pride. Go fishing with your kids.
- Set healthy boundaries and make sure your child always knows they are loved. Children feel safe when they are given boundaries. They might not always like or appreciate it at the time, but it is needed for them to grow into rule appreciating adults. If you allow a child to run amuck, you are allowing them to go down a road of destruction. If we don’t have personal boundaries, we feel responsible for other people’s actions and reactions. We are responsible to others, not for them. A Child must also be reminded constantly that no one else can make them happy, sad or angry. They are fully responsible for their own emotions. Other people can contribute towards it, but only they can decide to become it.
- Technology free day/night. Technology has taken over our lives. Pixels everywhere. And don’t even get me started on social media. I mean, I love a good Instagram scroll, but I am trying to make a point of it, to not be on my phone, scrolling in front of my children. I don’t want to be a blank face to them when they need me. I want to be approachable. How approachable can you be with your face stuck in your phone? Make a rule, no phones or ipads during supper time. That is a given for every day. Then have one night a week, where you don’t put on the tv or your laptop and have a game night with your kids. Monopoly, Uno, Scrabble or even Pie face. Laugh together as a family.
- A child can learn to accept a punishment as consequence for the actions, but they cannot accept relational consequences like anger, abandonment, guilt or shame.
We as parents need to watch our reactions and facial expressions when our children speak to us in confidence. The way we react will determine whether they feel safe enough to talk to us about something personal again. Remember, when they feel vulnerable, you need to show empathy and understanding. Teenagers need a Coach (parent). Meaning we need to allow them to make their own decision, while all along guiding them to it.