My Ten Commandments Of Parenting

Parenting is no easy feat so I have taken the time to pen (or type) down some good ideas that have helped me with my children over the last few years. They are generally timeless, apply to all ages and I hope they are of as much benefit to you as they are to me. Oh! If you've ever considered a career in education, check this out!

Put Love First

When parenting we can never love our children too much. Before you start thinking I am crazy, let me explain that I say that because loving them does not mean giving them everything that they want or agreeing with them all the time. Loving our children "the right way" means being a responsible parent and doing what is in their best interest irrespective of how we feel. It means providing a well balanced environment in which they can thrive, even if it means pushing them out of their comfort zone so that they can grow and expand their horizons. It can be a challenge to love them the right way, all the time but as some one once said "that's what we signed up for" when we took on this role.

Make The Choice To Do Your Best

Anyone who has been a parent for five minutes knows that there is no such thing as a perfect parent - so like those who have gone before us, we can at least do one thing. We can make a quality decision to give our very best as parents every day. We all know that the stresses of life cause us to do things that we occasionally regret, but the beauty of making this commitment is that it remains in our subconcious and rises to the surface any time we have to make a choice concerning our children. Brian Tracy (one of my favorite authors) is a proponent of the idea that when we set a goal and make a genuine commitment to it, something in us will push us towards achieving it. Make the choice!

Don't Loose Your Authority

By this, I do not mean we should be the constant authoritarian - just be authoritative. The difference between the two is that with the latter we actually hear the child, with the former we don't.

If this parental authority is absent, this can be the hardest thing that any child can experience. In essence, it leaves the child at the point where they begin to wonder who is in charge. As parents, we show our authority, not by bullying our children into submission, but rather by showing them that 'we' are the responsible or mature adult in the scenario at hand.

How can we loose that authority - it's quite simple really! Whenever we don't show self control, we allow our authorityto be eroded piece by piece.

Go WithYour Instinct

People have different names for instinct. It could be the inner voice, the voice of reason, a guiding voice from God or a spiritual leading. Whatever works for you, just know that it is often right. If you cast your mind back, think of the amount of times that you have had a feeling in your guts about your child that has proved absolutely right! It is there for a reason, so do your best not to ignore it.

Know You Don't Have All The Answers

God knows that this is true, maybe we need to come to the realization! My children always think that I am all-knowing, but I constantly seek to let them know that "mummy is still finding things out". I never tell them that "I don't know", rather I try to use every possible chance as a teacheable or research moment.

For me - understanding my limitations is a point of wisdom.

Be Open To Good Advice

I've always taken the time to listen to people who have been parents before me - afterall, if someone has already been through what I'm going through, why re-invent the wheel? I am aware that what worked twenty years might not work now, but the general principles can always be adapted to today. In addition, there are always lessons to be learned from the past - in other words, understanding the mistakes of our own mothers and fathers can help us avoid making the same mistakes.

Consistency Is Key

All children need stability and consistency. In teaching we are told on a regular basis that the mind of the child develops best when it knows what is likely to happen next - when they are in a place of predictability. Lack of consistency brings the child to the place of uncertainty and puts them on edge.

Be Willing To Explain

This can be challenging, especially if you have a four year old who feels she has the right to know EVERYTHING that is going on around her. However, the truth is I would rather (for now) be her key source of information, because, guess what? If I don't tell her, she will quite simply ask someone else - who may or may not tell her what I'd like her to hear.

A friend of mine asked me "do you have to respond to her? In reality, I don't. But I want to, because at this age she is as absorbent as a spongue and I am very particular about what she absorbs. I consider myself to be laying a foundation in her that I am hoping will last a lifetime.

So fellow Moms and Dads - let's build that foundation well by taking the time to explain!

Establish & Maintain Boundaries

Boundaries are physical or mental markings that keep the good in and the bad out. They set a measurement for what the child can and cannot do. Remember, the parent's role is to set the boundaries and the child's role is to see how far they can push them!!

As parents, we need to make clear to our children that crossing boundaries (and allowing others to cross our boundaries) unlawfully does have consequences!

Spend Time

As the saying goes, love is spelled "T - I - M - E". As a Mom, I take the time to be a part of my girls lives. I want them to be able to count on me to go on feild trips with them, go to their Black History Month and Christmas presentations, be the volunteer reader for their class and take them to special events. Absent fathers (and mothers) for that matter are hardly appreciated by their children, so I've decided to be a present parent!

How Does Your Child Learn?

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