Every parent wants to be successful in raising happy and contented children who reach adulthood as mature, responsible and caring individuals. But as every parent knows these worthy goals are not reached quickly or easily. Indeed, at times parenting may seem like the most difficult task in the world and one could long for a failsafe step by step guide to success. Unfortunately no such ‘manual’ exists. However, thankfully there are many wise parenting lessons and strategies which have been passed down through the ages from those who have found the secrets of successful parenting. Here are seven of these strategies to help you navigate your way through the amazing maze called parenthood.
1. Be loving and affectionate
When a baby arrives in your arms as a helpless bundle there is one thing it needs above all else and that is love. For most parents it comes naturally to kiss and cuddle their precious little one and lavish them with affection. As the years begin to slip away, sometimes the expressions of love and affection start slipping away too. It is normal and understandable for a parent to adapt their ways of showing love to their child over time – after all some teenagers would hate their parents to hug them in public. But there are countless ways of keeping the connection strong and letting your children know that you love them just as much as you did when they were babies.
2. Hold onto your faith
When parents have a shared faith which they impart to their children, this sets a firm foundation in the home. As the famous saying goes, ‘the family that prays together stays together.’ Being part of a wider community of faith also gives stability and a sense of belonging. When you and your children participate together in the traditions and activities of your faith it will forge a strong bond between you. This is also true when you reach out as a family to help others, and children learn the gift of giving and being grateful for all their blessings rather than living in a self-absorbed sphere.
3. Emphasize the importance of relationships
Relationships are the common currency of this life. From the first breath we take in life we are bombarded and surrounded with other people to whom we must inevitably relate. Successful parenting, therefore involves teaching your children the importance of relating well to others. It is never possible (or even commendable) to be liked by everyone, but it is necessary to show respect and dignity to all, even if they may treat you badly. The best way to teach children effective relationship skills is by modelling. When you as parents maintain a positive and healthy relationship with each other as well as with others your children will learn valuable lessons from you which they can use in their future.
4. Teach problem solving skills
One of the many certainties of life is that there are sure to be obstacles and problems along the way. These problems are often blessings in disguise because they teach you invaluable lessons. While grappling and struggling to overcome a problem, you develop strength and stamina which in turn helps you to overcome even greater hurdles. One of the best strategies of successful parenting is to teach your children to see problems as a challenge which can be overcome. Show them how to weigh up their options and chose the best way forward, evaluating along the way, and persevering until the solution is found.
5. Instill lifelong learning
As a parent, no doubt one of your biggest concerns for your children is their education. Seeing your kids sitting at the desk with their homework books studying diligently is every parent’s dream. But there is much more to education and learning than simply passing the exams and moving up in the grades. One of the most valuable strategies for parents is to try and give their children a love of knowledge, and a desire to know about anything and everything even if it does not directly relate to their present world. Along with this is the need for a teachable attitude. If you can instil the desire and habit of lifelong learning in your child, they will be well on their way to an exciting and ever unfolding future.
6. Value health and safety
Health and safety are of primary concern for every family. Parents can teach their children these important values by paying careful attention to their own health and well being. Taking time to exercise, eating regular and balanced meals, and getting enough sleep are just a few of the things children will learn from you and surely emulate in their own lives. When it comes to safety, teach your children the basics of stranger danger and first aid. And make sure they learn how to swim at an early age so that they are safe in water.
7. Model integrity
Overall, probably the most significant strategy a parent can use to rear their children successfully is simply to be a model of integrity. The old saying “do what I say, not what I do” is definitely not going to work. If you want your children to grow up as decent human beings, then you need to show them what that means in your everyday life. Let your children see you working hard, keeping your promises and never lying, being respectful to others, especially your spouse, and saying please and thank you. It’s the little things that children notice and remember, sometimes forever.