We're back again to topics on parenthood, for all you moms, moms-to-be, teachers and anyone else who needs a little help in getting the little ones to grow up well, here are a few worthwhile bits of advice. Let me know what areas you'd like to read about. I may not be an expert, but I've actually done all that I write about, so they're tried and true nuggets of wisdom - well, at least nuggets of common sense!
Dad is the head of the household, no doubt about that. But because of work responsibilities and time at home, it’s normally mom who takes direct control of the day-to-day decisions when it comes to raising the children. It’s a great honor to be entrusted with the molding and shaping of your little one’s lives, but at times it requires a will of steel to keep everyone in line. Being a good leader does not always come naturally, and a few basic pointers can be very helpful for those wise enough to put them into practice. Here are five of them that you can use right away:
1. Be the visionary – Promote a vision, a direction that you want your home to take and that the children can follow behind. Do you want your home to be one where God’s Spirit and character are emulated? That has to be a part of the basis for all you decide to do and make it clear that is the motivation for your decisions. Getting a good education, doing well on even the smallest jobs, helping with the household chores and showing consideration to others all need to stem from this greater vision of your home. You are the source of that vision, and if you stray from it, the kids will lose focus and motivation.
2. Be involved – For some mothers, this seems obvious, but sadly others don’t see the need. Your children’s school and activities don’t exist merely for you to escape from the stress of child-raising, they all play a part in the shaping of your child’s values and character. You need to be a part of their lives, see who it is they are befriending, know who it is that is influencing them, observe whether they are learning subtle lessons that you don’t approve of, and know about their successes. Every child feels secure and proud to have mom on the sidelines cheering them on, and will be able to handle any corrections you give because they know that your actions already show how much you care.
3. Keep the Golden Rule – Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Show this by your own example as you show kindness to your husband and children and everyone else you come in contact with. Enforce it as a rule that is even punishable. Rudeness and selfishness cannot be tolerated.
4. Criticize wisely – Parents who just fly off the handle and yell out of emotion often find that their kids just tune them out the bigger they get. The pushier you are, the less they listen. Think carefully of a rational and clear argument to present when disciplining your child. You can be angry, but be logical and reasonable at the same time. Most likely they will already know that they are wrong, and will have a harder time arguing back when you have solid facts that speak for themselves.
5. Be quick with encouragement and praise - Acknowledging even small accomplishments can do wonders for a child’s self-esteem and desire to do even better. Don’t laugh at the mistakes they made while trying their best to do well (the painting of Daddy with six fingers…you know what I mean!) Remember that every child longs for the approval of his or her parents, and loving praise given will be returned to you with a solid bond of trust.