Parenting is no easy work; it’s demanding; it’s sacrificial. Raising well-behaved kids is a noble goal parents must set for themselves and strive to attain. The other option is to allow our kids do their own things and go their own way. The result could be disastrous. Below are 5 ideas that can help you in your quest to raise great kids:
RAISING GREAT KIDS IDEA #1: UNCONDITIONAL LOVE
Children need love. Children want close connection to their parents. This is why loving your child unconditionally is so important. Our kids need us to stay close – even when they are pushing us away. They need us to be steady when they falter. They need us to stay calm – even when they are agitated, upset, or plain difficult to manage. Does this mean giving in all the time? Certainly not. But it does mean learning to accept that our children are good sometimes and imperfect at other times. They need to know that we still love them even when they give us a hard time or do things we don’t approve of.
RAISING GREAT KIDS IDEA #2: DISCIPLINE
Children need limits, and they look to us for discipline. A parent should never shy away from correcting a child. Some parents are weak when it comes to enforcing discipline. They are afraid their children may get upset with them and so they do anything to keep that from happening. Because such parents want their children to always ‘like’ them, they turn a blind eye to many of the child’s misbehaviour. This doesn’t make sense. This shouldn’t be. Children need discipline and guidance, and it is your responsibility as a parent to provide that. Your first responsibility to your child is not to be his friend; it’s to be his guide. If you train your child well, s/he will grow up to become your friend.
RAISING GREAT KIDS IDEA #3: EXEMPLARY LEADERSHIP
Children are smart. They do more of what they see us do than what we tell them to do. Children take their cue from us. It’s unrealistic and sheer hypocrisy to expect one thing from a child and then do the opposite ourselves. Raising well-behaved kids requires consistency of action, especially of the parents; that’s not to say that parents are supposed to be perfect. Parents also make mistakes, but no parent in good conscience should continue to violate a rule that he/she expects a child to abide by. This may lead your child to lose respect for you.
RAISING GREAT KIDS IDEA #4: INTEGRITY
Morality should be taught in the home, and parents should lead the way. Charity – and character -begins at home! Character traits and values must be prized and inculcated by parents into their children. And the best way to do so is to first demonstrate such values by the way we live. Teach your child to always tell the truth and stand by the truth – even when there is the possibility of punishment for doing so. Integrity and honesty are highly rewarding principles. A child who learns to tell the truth and stand by it will grow up to become an adult that makes the parents proud. This is inevitable.
RAISING GREAT KIDS IDEA #5: A LOVE FOR LEARNING
Help you child develop an interest in learning. This is perhaps the best investment you can make in your child, and the earlier you start this investment, the better. Encourage your kids to read good books and do short summaries for you. Be involved in your child’s learning and development – from school work to play activities. It’s easier for a child to love learning when you as a parent model it. Even you don’t like reading, do it for the sake of your child, and you could end up enjoying it. Invest in books and other materials that nourish the mind of your child. Limit your child’s TV consumption and turn his/her attention to constructive learning.
These 5 ideas are by no means all there is to raising great kids, but practicing them consistently over time will make you proud of the results you will see in your child. Let’s keep up the good work of raising great kids. It’s the best investment we can ever make.