A friend recently told me that he took his son out for a burger. While they were eating, his son said, "Dad, do you know why I am eating so slowly?" His dad said, "No. Why?" And his son replied, "So I can have more time with
you."

Those are powerful, thought-provoking words. Kids need their parents. Kids desire their parents. They want our attention. They want our affection. And kids need our unconditional love and acceptance.

How are you doing in that area? Maybe its time for us as parents to get a report card. What type of grade would you give yourself in the following areas? And perhaps more importantly, how would your children grade you? Take a moment to grade yourself and if you are up for it, ask your children to grade you as well.

I praise my kids when they make good choices. _A _B _C _D _F

I look for opportunities to encourage my children. I'm their best cheerleader. _A _B _C _D _F

I point out their strengths and build up their self-esteem any chance I can. _A _B _C _D _F

I comfort them in their disappointments. _A _B _C _D _F

I enter into my child's world by sharing time and talking with him or her daily. _A _B _C _D _F

I apologize to my kids if I respond in anger or make a mistake as a parent. _A _B _C _D _F

I ask questions instead of jumping to conclusions. _A _B _C _D _F

I let them know I am a safe place if they need to talk. _A _B _C _D_F

I look for teachable moments to teach my kids strong values. _A _B _C_D _F

I try to role model healthy, moral choices for my children. _A _B _C_D _F

don't withhold affection, praise or attention from my child as punishment. _A _B _C _D _F

I don't put unrealistic expectations on my children. _A _B _C _D _F

I discipline in love, not in anger. _A _B _C _D _F

I let my children know they are loved unconditionally and without qualification. _A _B _C _D _F

A statement that has stayed with me for a long time is "Rules without Relationship = Rebellion." Creating and maintaining lasting, deep, trusting relationships with our children is not quick, and it is not easy. But is
it worth it? I think you know the answer.

There are definitely areas I need to improve in as a parent. How about you?

Like our children, we will get another report card. If you need to improve in some areas, take some time to work on them. And as Diana Ennen of VirtualWordPublishing.com states, "Remember every step you take to improve is a step in the right direction. Just keep taking those steps continually and you'll see results."

One thing I make sure to tell my children often is that there is absolutely nothing they can do to make me love them any less. Sure, they can cause me to be disappointed, very disappointed, and even angry. But my love for them will never lessen. And my kids know that. To me, that deserves an "A".

Author's Bio: 

Lesley Spencer is founder and president of the HBWM.com, Inc. Network which includes: http://www.HomeBasedWorkingMoms.com, http://www.WorkAtHomeKit.com, http://www.edirectoryofhomebasedcareers.com,http://www.momsworkathomesite.com, http://www.HBWMconferences.com, http://www.HBWMcanada.com and http://www.HireMyMom.com (coming soon!). She has a Master's Degree in Public Relations and has been featured innumerous media outlets including CBS News, Forbes, Business Week, Parents, Wall Street Journal and USA Today. She has been working from home for over 10 years and has two children ages 10 and 8 whom she absolutely adores!