Monday, May 16, 2011

On my mind....

Lately I have thought a lot about responsible parenting, teaching discipline and building good character in our kids. I know that nobody ever said being a parent would be easy. Kids DO NOT come with instruction manuals, they do not come with a 1-800 number for tech support, and they certainly do not come with a BIG RED EASY button.. or even a pause and rewind (Ive looked for those). What they do come with is a basic set of NEEDS, both physical and emotional. These needs MUST be met by the PARENT, and if they are not met, all of them there could be lasting negative effects.

We must provide a SAFE ENVIRONMENT for our kids. Safe from harm, safe from dangers in the home and protect them as much as you can from dangers outside the home. Keep them out of harms way by interviewing caregivers, safety precautions in the home (smoke alarms, doors locked, etc). Make your home a safe place for your children. My son has one friend that will not spend the night ANYWHERE, never has... until this year. He will come spend the night at our house. After the first night here, I said "Yay, P... you stayed all night!" His response, "I don't know, I just feel safe here." As a parent, that meant I was doing something right.

Provide your child with BASIC NEEDS. Water, food, shelter are easy. Provide them with proper medical care, warm bed, appropriate clothing for weather. These are needs that your child must be given.

You must help your child with their SELF ESTEEM building. Accept their uniqueness, encourage them to participate in sports, clubs or activities. Acknowledge your child"s accomplishments and achievements. Encourage your child. Set expectations that are realistic for your child"s age and ability. Teach, do not criticize or ridicule, your child. In saying all that, do NOT build your child's self esteem up so much that they are obnoxious, and think they are the best at everything they do. That is a way to set your child up for huge failure.

Be involved in your child's EDUCATION. Communicate with their teachers, make sure they are doing their homework and assignments. Talk to your child about school. Ask about their day, their friends, and recognize their academic achievements.

Most importantly GET TO KNOW YOUR CHILD. Spend time with your kids, be approachable, ask questions. Communication is key.

Those are the obvious, and easy ones for most parents. The two I have thought a lot about lately are teaching your child morals and values, and providing discipline. I try to do my best when raising my kids. I try to remember that everything I do is a reflection of my kids as well. I can talk to my kids all day about our values and our morals but until they seem them in action it means nothing. Showing our values in our actions is a responsibility as parents. DO as I DO, not just DO as I SAY. Lead your children by example.

It is also your job as a parent to provide DISCIPLINE to your children. Be consistent in your discipline, provide a structured discipline. Have a discipline system that is predictable. If your child acts out a certain way THEY KNOW they will be disciplined because you have set that precedence. I try to hold my children accountable for their actions. I do not automatically assume it is the other kid when there has been wrong doing found. I hold my children to a certain level of behavior. I expect them to respect adults, and I expect to work hard at all they do. Im amazed daily at the level of disrespect I see from a lot of kids... but there again.. I look at the parent and realize the child has not been taught to respect.

I am sure for most of us, having children was a choice. We wanted to bring these beautiful beings into this world and be responsible for ALL their needs. I remember being so afraid of being "a mom" and having all the answers. Guess what.. You don't need all the answers. You just need to be there, and be a parent. Provide the basic needs, emotional and physical. Be a shining example for your kids. Follow your instincts. I pray daily that I learn to become all this for my kids and more.

Responsible Parenting... PASS IT ON! (as I step off my soap box.). :)


Givens-Craig Family said...

I love, love, love this post. You hit so many things right on target. We do have responsibilities as parents and we all fail from time to time, but we must recognize it and recognize that we are the ones who have to move past the mistakes we make and teach our children better. I am glad my son has friends whose parents require respect and good behavior. :-)