Originally this post was about Miley Cyrus. Then I decided that many of you (myself included) were tired of hearing about her and really don’t care about her (myself NOT included). I do care about Miley in a weird way. I feel sad for her. Does Miley know or care that I feel sad for her? Nope. But I still do. I could call her a tramp or disgusting or any of the gazillion other things that have been printed about her. But I won’t. Because she is lost. Very very lost. She needs compassion. And she needs guidance. She needs someone to help her find her way. I suggest Jesus. And no, I’m not kidding.
So after I wrote this whole long thing about Miley and how we shouldn’t NOT parent our kids so they turn out like her, I realized I really didn’t want to attack her or use her as an example of what not to do. (Yes I realize this is a horrendous sentence, but you get my point.) What I really want to do is give you my Top 11 list of Parenting DO’s that I try to follow.
Some of you will read this and say “this is about ME”. It’s NOT. This is about ME and what I work for parenting my kids. To be honest with you, my parenting skills are really lacking at times. Like, I’m really not good at it. But I desire to be a good parent and this is stuff I’ve picked up along the way. Some of this from social worker training, some is common sense, and much is from making many mistakes along the way.
Here you go:
Say No. Say no a lot. When your kids hear “no” consistently, they will accept it more easily. Don’t let them wear you down until you say yes. This will backfire. I promise.
Follow Through. Did you threaten to take something away if your child doesn’t stop doing what they are doing or won’t do what you want? Do it. Give them 3 chances (or 2 if you’re super tough). Then do it. They will have zero respect for you if you make empty threats.
Be there to talk to. Some of you have kids that like to talk to you. Some of you have kids that keep to themselves. Regardless of what type of kid you have, let them know regularly that you are paying attention and that you are always there to talk to no matter what. Remind them that, even if it’s bad , they can tell you and you can help them.
Stay together as parents or keep kid out your problems. If you’re fortunate, you and your spouse still like each other and function as a team. If you don’t, maybe you’re separated or thinking about separation. Whatever you do, do NOT talk to your kids about your marriage. It’s private. It’s between adults. And kids should NOT be involved. Ever.
Find something they love. Many of you will wish for your child to become the superstar soccer player that you never were. Guess what? Your kid hates soccer. Don’t force it on them. Help them find an activity they love. They will be beyond happy to participate in something they are passionate about. Try to get them to that soccer practice they can’t stand. (Soccer is just an example people!)
Monitor their friends. I don’t care how old your kid is. Keep an eye on who they’re hanging with. The 5 year old bully becomes the 15 year old bully. Watch them. Read their texts. Get to know their friends. And step in and say something if you don’t like what you see.
Demand respect and civility. Does your kid do a lot of screaming or name-calling? Tell you they hate you? This is never ok. Have consequences for these extreme examples of disrespect. Remember if your kid doesn’t respect their parent, they won’t respect anyone.
Don’t be their friend. Be their parent. Have fun with your kids. Spend time with your kids. But don’t become a kid. You’re not your kid’s buddy. You are in charge of them. You are to mold and make them into a competent, functioning adult. 12 year old friends do not do this for them. Be a parent.
Unconditional love. Your kid is gonna mess up. A lot. They will do things that make you cringe, cry, and get angry. But you will always love them. Without condition. Remind them of your love every single day.
Difference between right and wrong. It’s not cool to blur the lines of right and wrong for your kids. Teach them the difference and how to do the “right thing”. Teaching them it’s “cool” to step out of bounds will come back and bite you in the end. Be CLEAR.
Give your kids a spiritual foundation. I probably should have listed this first. But I saved the best for last. Your children may reject your teachings about religion and spirituality because it’s not “cool”. But they still hear you and will know where you stand. I’m a perfect example. After a loooonnng period of avoiding God, I came back. My parents had laid a great foundation for me. This is the most important thing.
So, yeah. I just condensed a library of parenting books into one measly blog post. I hope that my Top 11 Parenting Do’s can help someone in some way or at least remind you what you “should” be doing. ;)
I would love to hear what I missed. I’m already thinking of more (like, teach your kids compassion and how to care about others) but I’ll stop now. I love your comments!
Thanks for coming by On My Own Nerves.