When a child gets into trouble in life there are plenty of reasons and people who get blamed. Certainly the child has a mind of his own and has to eventually make his own decisions. As I see it we often forget about all the missed opportunities to mold him throughout his life. As I stated in my first part of this series, you cannot wait until a child becomes a teenager to get serious about his direction and training.
“Give me your four year olds, and in a generation I will build a socialist state.”
— Vladimir Lenin. We understand that we must teach early and often if we want to instill the right character into a child.
3- You should be MAINTAINING DISCIPLINE –
I do not meet many people who like undisciplined children as long as you are not talking about their children. When they see how other children act they feel like someone needs to train them better. At the same time they are blind-sighted about their own children. Discipline does not begin with the big things; it begins with the small things. The hard part is consistency. Most parents “wear down” too easily. We never moved the breakables from our house. Instead we taught the children what to touch and what not to touch, (over and over again), with discipline. Finally they learned. Discipline must change with each stage of life. Always be fair, but never quit. Soon it will pay great dividends.
4- You should be DISPLAYING PRIORITIES –
Believe it or not, your children really are following your life. Your habits and priorities will one day become theirs. The way you handle finances will teach them how to handle them. Your work ethic teaches them a work ethic. How you treat others will be the basis of how they treat others. This is not popular today, but it works. I place my spouse above my children. She gets priority over them. The way to love your children is to love their dad or mom. Remember you are teaching them the priorities that they will one day have in their relationships. At my life stage, we are entering the “Empty Nest” syndrome. As the children move out, I am glad I made my spouse a priority because we are not strangers.
5- You should be EXPECTING MATURITY –
At every age there is a level of maturity you should expect. An infant may cry when he doesn’t get his way, but an adolescent should not. Teach your children how to make decisions and at each stage in life allow them to make some. They get more difficult as they move through the stages, but in the end, they know how to make them for themselves. There comes a time when they need to pay their bills, go to work, finish projects, and take responsibility for their lives. They will not know what to do if this is the first decisions they have been made to make. As you release them, you become more free yourself, (and that’s a good thing)!
As parents we need to step up to plate and stop shirking responsibility. The next generation needs us badly, and one day we will need them just as bad.