You love your children. You want them to have a great childhood, and to live a happy and fulfilling life. As parents, this is 100% your responsibility. Your children will not have another relationship during their lifetime that will have greater positive or negative impacts than their relationship with you, so you cannot take this responsibility lightly.
Being a parent is one of the most rewarding, yet challenging roles we can play in life. Although there is no instruction manual for parenting, there is a lot of great information at your fingertips to support your efforts in giving your children what they need to grow into happy, strong, fulfilled adults.
Below is a list of 26 gifts we can give our children that they will never forget, and are as easy as A, B, and C.
Everyone needs to be told they are valued, worthy, and doing a good job. Your kids are no different. By affirming them you are making them more secure and confident.
Whether we want to admit it or not, we like boundaries. These provide your children clear expectations and certainty, and not only do they like that, but the more consistent we are, the more consistent our children will be.
I have two children and above everything else, my # 1 goal is that my children reach adulthood with confidence. The sooner we focus on helping our children be confident, the easier their lives will be. Confident people are simply focused on more productive things rather than getting caught up with drama, worry, and self-destructive thoughts and actions. With bullying being such a big issue in our culture, confidence is the best solution. Self-assured kids don’t bully, nor do they put up with being bullied.
Like boundaries, we hate to admit that we need and even like discipline, but we do, and our kids need it too. They need to be guided down a productive path and held accountable when they veer off that path. They need to be able to count on the fact that there are consequences to their actions, both positive and negative.
As parents to young children, we are the “life experts” and if we don’t set expectations and guide them accordingly, they will find another set of values and rules to follow. They need clear expectations.
Don’t confuse this with being their friend. Parents don’t need to be their children’s friends: they will have plenty of those. We need to be their parents. Children need to learn how to have healthy and productive relationships with other people, and that starts with us.
Teaching our children to be thankful impacts other things like a positive attitude and appreciation for both people and things.
Healthy Home Culture
Is your home culture productive or destructive? Is it positive or negative? Are you setting a good example? What kind of people are your children learning to become within the walls of your home? We are all the results of the environments we grew up in, and there is no environment with a greater impact than your home.
Our identity is the result of our past. When our children reach adulthood, their idenity will be the result of their past experiences and relationships with us. We must lead and guide our children so they have a confident and positive attitude about themselves, helping them avoid self-imposed barriers and suffering from what I refer to as an “Identity Crisis. When you Google the words “define identity crisis” the following definition appears:
“a period of uncertainty and confusion in which a person’s sense of identity becomes insecure, typically due to a change in their expected aims or role in society.”
As parents, it is our jobs to give our children certainty and eliminate any confusion that will create insecurity and ultimately impact their quality of life.
Some of the best times I have with my kids are in the car where I’m joking around and acting like a fool. My son demands more and my daughter tells me how much I am embarrassing her, all the while trying to stop herself from laughing.
No need to elaborate here. Be kind to your children and teach them to be kind to others.
I believe the words LOVE and RESPECT are the two most important words in parenting. We must set the example by not only showing love and respect for others, but for ourselves. We must show our children love and respect while holding them accountable for having a positive attitude about themselves and why it’s important to show love and respect to other.
Our kids get hammered with thousands of messages every single day, most of which don’t do not have their best interest in mind. They are either going to learn things from us, or from someone/something else out there. You want them to learn things from you. I don’t care how you look at it or what you call it. Your children need your attention, guidance, and leadership.
Never Giving Up
Giving up is just a symptom of a bigger problem; a bad attitude. It’s a dog-eat-dog world and our kids are going to get knocked around and challenged plenty. Quitting and giving up is the path of least resistance and if they aren’t challenged to keep going, taking the path of least resistance will become habit. Few people experience fulfillment and success in life by giving up.
Few things are more challenging than dealing with people who are pessimistic and negative. Our children must be held accountable for their bad attitudes and it is up to us show them there is a more productive way to live.
When people are passionate about what they do, the harder they will work, and the more fulfillment they will experience. We need to pay attention to what our children are passionate about and provide the opportunities and resources for them to explore and excel.
Many children are over-stimulated to the point they go nuts when they don’t have anything to do. Quiet time allows them to relax, think, and use their imagination. Turn off the TV, DVD players, tablets, phones, and gaming systems and let them figure out how to use their time.
Like anything else, the more time our children invest in reading, the better they will become. This starts with us reading to them at a young age and encouraging them to read on their own as they get older. A child’s reading ability impacts their confidence and enjoyment with school, as well overall confidence and success in life.
Security is the foundation of confidence. Insecure people think about themselves and the world very differently than people who are secure and confident. I am a big fan of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory, which suggests that insecurity impacts the relationships we build with others, as well as our self-confidence, and our ability to reach our potential. I truly believe that if we as parents raise our children to be secure and confident they will figure things out.
We need to be our children’s greatest influencers and that won’t happen if our children don’t have the ability to or don’t feel comfortable talking to us. The more we talk and build comfort and trust the more they will open up.
Our children must know that regardless of who they are and what they do, we will always love them. Now, unconditional love does not mean you don’t discipline them or hold them accountable. They are going to screw up and do stupid things, but we are the one relationship they need to be able to count on and we need them to depend on, in good and bad times.
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is one of my favorite books and had probably had the greatest foundational impact on my life. Seven Habits taught me that the most important thing a person can do is articulate their values and create a vision for their life and make decisions based on those values. When a person makes decisions based on things that are meaningful and important to them, they can never go wrong.
We must first understand our values, but also talk to our children about values to that will help them live a productive and fulfilling life.
Wonder and curiosity are the keys to critical thinking and learning. We want our children to look at the world, ask questions, and have a desire to know more. We must be active in their learning when they are young and support them in their process of discovery.
The definition of xenodochial is “being friendly to strangers”. Our children’s attitudes of the world will be a reflection of our attitude. Xenodocial aligns nicely with the love and respect I talked about above.
When I think of the word “youthful”, I think of words like fun, energetic, creative, curious, passionate, imaginative, brave, open-minded, and happy.
At 35 I hope I am still all those things. Too many people follow a plan or conform to expectations that leave them unemotionally wandering through life. I don’t want that for my kids.
The world is full of all kinds of great stuff to get excited about and we need to share this with our kids.
“Great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective”.
What are your kids passionate about? What cause can you pursue together that will show them the impact they can have on the world with the right attitude and action?
What about children around the world? What gifts do you think they want? 18 Images Shown Where Children Sleep Around the WorldFeatured photo credit: Vintage gift box with bow on wooden background via Shutterstock
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