It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings. – Ann Landers
Recently my husband and I were asked to share insight we have gained as parents on raising children to a “soon to be married” couple at their Jack and Jill bridal shower. When first asked to speak I felt honored and thought, “Wow, what valuable insight do we have to share?” In formulating what we were going to share neither my husband or I wanted to be long-winded, boring, or cliché. The list below is what we shared with the group. We stressed that the information we were sharing represented what we have learned as parents thus far and that we are still learning and growing. The antidotes are not in any particular order of importance. I hope that you find the listing comprehensive, and encourage you to leave a comment or feedback to enrich its content further.
- Raising children is not clear-cut. There is no rulebook to follow (trust me I’ve looked).
- Each child is unique. Be mindful of how you measure one child’s accomplishments in comparison to the other’s. Everyone must be permitted to run his or her own race. As a parent just make sure that they continue forward in their race.
- Exemplify and model the expectations you have for your children. Remember they are watching.
- There is no such thing as perfect parent (or child). Our humanity is one of our greatest strengths as individuals. By accepting this absolute you convey an invaluable lesson to your child – Everyone makes mistakes. What is important is that you recognize your mistakes, avoid making excuses for them, and learn from them taking care to refine your practices as you continue forward.
- Take best practices from those around you. It is important to tap into experiences of your parents and mold them to fit your needs.
- Share, share, share — information, celebrations, and struggles you encounter. Your story can help inspire and encourage others, as well as serve as sources of inspiration and encouragement for yourself.
- As parents we instinctively want to remove all obstacles and smooth all rough edges for our children. You want your children to be more, have move, and achieve more than you have. All this is admirable, but remember your job is to steer them to the right path, not walk the journey for them. Although it stands as one of the greatest parental challenges, allow your son or daughter to make his or her own mistakes and walk his or her own path. Some lessons can’t be taught, they must instead be “experienced.”
- You are your children’s mentor and curator, not their owner or “friend.” As a parent you are going to have to make unpopular judgment calls. When you make them do so with this is mind.
- Parenting is a “team” effort. Always maintain a “united front” regardless of your immediate feelings about your mate at the time. You can always disagree behind closed doors.
- Know that your children are leased to you. Be mindful to devoted time to cultivate the relationship with your mate. One of the greatest gifts you can give to your children is a loving family with a mom and dad committed and in love with each other.
- Have fun! Expose your children to different and unique experiences. It’s okay to experiment and encounter new things together.
- Allow your children to teach you. Like them we don’t know everything and should be constantly learning and growing.