Each child you have is a gift from God. You have been given oversight (or stewardship) of your child(ren). One day, they will launch out on their own. Hopefully, what you have instilled in them will remain with them.
You have no control over your child once they become an adult. Accepting this is a significant step toward feeling good about parenting. Sometimes people worry way too much about what the future holds for their children. Some of that is far beyond your control.
The best time to make the most impact in your child’s life is the first several years. You must plant the seeds of greatness during that particular time. Continue to reinforce the values and concepts that will help them succeed. Once they get to adolescence, it becomes more and more challenging to help them succeed. There are so many influences in their lives. It can be hard for you to compete will all the voices.
Here are some keys to help you succeed
- Always show love.
- Have definite boundaries.
- Learn to listen more.
- Be flexible.
- Pay close attention.
Always show love. Love is the most powerful force on earth. Real love looks beyond a person’s faults and sees their needs. True love is not really blind, but it focuses on the good in a person. Love is sacrificial. A person with true love does not focus exclusively on their own needs. Make sure all your thoughts, words, and actions with your child is rooted in love.
Have definite boundaries. Children need limits and rules. Children must not be allowed to do everything they want to do. Make sure your child has structure in their life. Structure actually helps a child succeed. You must do this, even when they rebel against it. Stay firm…in love. Be very clear and concise about what you expect from them.
Learn to listen more. One of the worst things some parents do is talk too much. After a while, the child starts tuning you out. As John Maxwell says, “People don’t care how much you know unless they know how much you care.” Show them you care by listening to them. You may not agree with what they are saying, but you should show them the respect of valuing their views. Never judge their feelings. Sometimes you just have to listen and not respond. This is very difficult for some parents.
Be flexible. The way you were raised may not necessarily be the best approach for your current situation. One parent I know was raised by a parent who demanded perfection in the cleaning of the kitchen. There could be no spots on the faucet or silverware. That level of perfection may not be productive for your child. They need chores when they get to the appropriate age, but you must be reasonable. Children hate hearing stories of how their parents grew up. Spare them some of the misery. Consider whether you need to relax a little in this season.
Pay close attention. Be sure to pay close attention to your child. Never get too busy to notice them. Notice their eating and sleeping habits. Notice their mood. Notice their friends. Notice their work ethic. Notice their grades. You’d be amazed at what is right in front of your face if you would just pay attention. What you observe can help you respond beneficially.