Real people

Each child is a unique and real person that parents get to meet each day as they grow into themselves. They bring their own sense of self and personality to the world along with their own place on the timeline of history. They also take us into new and strong emotions with fears in watching them make their own mistakes as they strive for independence. The best thing we can do as parents is allow them to grow and experience for themselves and gently guide them in as many ways as we can.

  • Always lend support to their decisions
  • Always encourage creativity, independent thinking and choice
  • Always wish them well and give them happy thoughts as they go out the door
  • Be aware of the bad habits they bring into your home from their outside contacts
  • Be aware of when your child is manipulating you, they'll be learning about you from birth
  • Be consistent and follow through when disciplining, especially when you are tired
  • Be honest with delicate issues and observant in their reactions to certain news
  • Children often turn rebellious in their struggle for independence, so don't be overly restrictive
  • Give appropriate praise and discipline...avoid over-praising and over-punishing
  • Give them chores to match their ability, i.e., keeping their room clean, putting dishes away
  • Never expect them to raise your other offspring for you, let them enjoy their childhood years
  • Never pressure them into marriage...big one!
  • Never spend your life in a constant state of worry as you are only sending them negative energy that can harm them
  • Introduce them to guests in your home and allow them in age-suitable conversation
  • Know what being sorry means
  • Know when to cut one or two strings at a time
  • Learn how to speak with a firm voice so that you are not ignored and need to yell later
  • Learn to teach without lecturing or preaching
  • Let them figure many things out for themselves to develop their own resourcefulness
  • Never assume you know what your child thinks, likes, or wants in life
  • Never blame them for being born or for messing up your life
  • Never compete with your child or be jealous/envious of them
  • Never criticize or judge or otherwise direct constant disapproval towards your child
  • Never give them cause to worry about you worrying about them
  • Never favour one child over another or compare one to another
  • Never say a child is stupid/dumb/an idiot, if you must, say that he/she is acting a certain way
  • Never say that you are sorry over and over and then continue with your actions/non-actions
  • Never underestimate their intelligence, just learn where it's focused
  • Never use the expression, "I'm going to kill you" even in jest
  • Read them a bedtime story every night followed with a kiss and a hug
  • Remember to allow your child to grow up
  • Teach them as much as you can of what you learned and at the appropriate time
  • Trust that they are intelligent people and you've taught them well
  • Try to remember often what it was like when you were their age
  • Use family counseling to open those all-important communications skills if necessary

Being a parent is an honor and the hardest job in the world where joy and grief are greatly magnified.

There are no perfect parents...and no perfect children...just keep it real.

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Author's Bio: 

A single parent of one son with a deadbeat dad since 1981. My son and I had a unique relationship in that he treated me more like an older sister than a mother, which allowed us to be friends, but made discipline hard. We've gone through ADHD, father neglect, family interference and jealousies and of course the raging hormones of the teen-age years. He is one of those miracles where I had planned to never have children and got pregnant with protection, but didn't find out until I was 19 weeks along and I had just split up with his father two weeks prior and moved back to my own town. I have almost lost him a few times through a neglectful babysitter when he was three where he was about to be picked up on walking along the highway and a near abduction when he was four while playing in the park.

I still remember the first time I ever felt real love in my life and it was just a few months after he was born, so he truly taught me that.