News Herald – Juliann Talkington
When children enter this world everything is new and overwhelming. Not only do they need sustenance, but must learn how to interact with others, make wise decisions, care for themselves, and enjoy life.
This means parents have a demanding and rewarding job. In addition to meeting their children’s physical needs, they must serve as teachers, coaches, guides, mentors, and psychologists.
To make things more interesting and challenging, children learn gradually. This means parenting is a long-term commitment and parents must learn and grow as their children mature. Although the thought of filling all these roles can be overwhelming, parenting can be a fun, positive experience.
The first step in making parenting less overwhelming is to define the key things children need from you, their parents.
First, kids need a strong understanding of what is right and wrong, Life without core values is very disconcerting for children. Without this foundation, it is difficult for kids to make wise decisions.
Parents help children become independent by setting boundaries and providing feedback when their children make mistakes. This means kids need rules and reasonable consequences for poor choices.
Kids need affection. They need to know mom and dad care about them and that they are special.
Conversation is an essential element in a strong relationship. Having discussions with your children teaches them how to listen, make coherent arguments, and to respect the viewpoints of others. Dinner and driving to and from activities are excellent times to converse with your kids.
Children need to learn how to make good decisions on their own. This means kids need to be given age appropriate responsibility.
Encouragement, praise for effort and hard work, is extremely important. Not only does it reinforce core values, but provides kids with positive feedback, a critical component of self-esteem.
Everyone wants to have a good time. Make sure you include fun, family activities in your schedule. These activities will help build rapport and lasting memories.
Teach your children the importance of a healthy lifestyle. Provide high quality, minimally processed food and encourage exercise. Then teach your children how to cook.
Make sure you are around. Attend school events and go to arts and athletic activities. Presence communicates that you care.
Be a positive role model for your children. Children watch everything you do. Make sure you lead by example and apologize when you make a mistake.
Finally, relax and enjoy parenting!