(Continued from September 25, 2010) ......
7. Learn to listen to your children. It is easy for us to tune out the talk of our children. One of the greatest things we can do for them is to take them seriously and set aside time to listen.
There is not much to add to this one. When your kids talk, listen all of the time! I don’t care what I am doing at the time, whether it is working, practicing, reading, studying, etc., when my kids need or want to talk to me, I am there for them.
8. Get deeply involved in your child’s school life. School is the main event in the lives of our children. Their experience there is a mixed bag of triumphs and disappointments. How they deal with them will influence the course of their lives. Helping our children become good students is another name for helping them acquire strong character.
It comes down to this: If you convey to your children that you believe in the value of school, education, and the learned discipline that it takes to be successful, along with the constant monitoring of their school work and events, your child will most likely take it seriously and do his/her best.
After several years of working with students and parents, I have learned the following: When parents are visible, involved, present, and available for their kids’ homework and projects, the kids tend to do well in school. When the parents are absentee, don’t show for school events, and do not assist with homework and projects, well, those are the kids that keep counselors and assistant principals employed and quite busy.
Stay involved, speak regularly with your child about school, as well as his/her teachers and other school officials, and monitor his/her homework to ensure that all goals are being met. Your child will then be given the opportunity to develop into a successful, hardworking, and highly disciplined adult!
9. Make a big deal out of the family meal. One of the most dangerous trends in America is the dying of the family meal. The dinner table is not only a place of sustenance and family business but also a place for the teaching and passing on of our values. Manners and rules are subtly absorbed over the table. Family mealtime should communicate and sustain ideals that children will draw on throughout their lives.
This is one of the tougher goals to keep with busy lifestyles, work, and kids’ activities. However, one only needs to read Dr. Ryan’s point #9 again to understand the true value in eating together. In addition, it gives you at least one time per day to be together as a group. Further, the consistency and setting of traditions will give your kids grounding and a safe feeling in life.
10. Do not reduce character education to words alone. We gain virtue through practice. Parents should help children by promoting moral action through self-discipline, good work habits, kind and considerate behavior to others, and community service. The bottom line in character development is behavior--their behavior.
Again, your kids will model their behavior after you right from the beginning. Do you go to church? Do you watch inappropriate TV shows? Do you tithe at church? Do you get home at 3:00 a.m. in the morning after a night of “partying”? Do you volunteer and help people? The list of questions can go on and on. However, the point is this: whatever you do with your life and time, your kids will most likely do the same as they get older!
Ah yes, as I am fond of saying, nobody ever said that parenting would be easy! Hang in there and be an excellent role model for your kids!
How about you? Do you have any additional Parenting Tips that have worked for you? If so, please pass them along!
Paul W. Reeves