Parenting is far from easy; it takes consistency and tenacity. While raising children, we plant many seeds in them and hope they will grow. It is difficult to know how we are doing as parents and what the end results will be, because these seeds take many years to cultivate. We may feel like we are not getting through or making a difference, but have no fear. We get out of our children exactly what we put in to them. It is often not until they leave the nest that we see the fruits of our labor.

My two children are grown, but when they were young they were very different, as most siblings are. My oldest was mature, even tempered, compliant, and self-motivated. She was always a high achiever. My youngest was needy, mouthy, quick to anger, and only motivated in the things that gave him pleasure. He never applied himself in school. Parenting my oldest was very easy, but not so for my youngest. He required a great deal of patience, understanding, and guidance. Interestingly, they both turned out level-headed, self-motivated, high-achieving, grounded, and highly self-sufficient.

One of my philosophies in raising children can be likened to that of walking a dog. You give them the freedom of as much lead on the leash as they can handle, but carefully watch them and shorten the leash as needed. Children need room to move, think, and express themselves as individuals. When parents are overly strict or dictate every move for their children, the children will eventually rebel, often in ways that are unsafe. And they never learn to think for themselves or stand on their own two feet. As parents we never want to give our children reason to rebel. In fact, we should give them every reason not to rebel.

Here are twenty parenting tips. I was very successful in using them; I hope you achieve the same results.

Love Always,

1. Always think before you speak. Your child will absorb every word you say, whether it appears that they are listening or not.
2. Be impeccable with your word. Don’t threaten then not keep your word. Don’t promise and then renege. These actions are very confusing for a child. They will become angry and distrustful.
3. Teach by example. Your children will do as you do. If you yell, they will yell. If you hit, they will hit. If you make unhealthy choices, they will do the same.
4. Be clear and consistent in your expectations. Children feel safe when they know and understand their limits.
5.Teach your child to develop clear emotional boundaries. They should have a healthy sense of what is and what is not acceptable behavior to tolerate from others. Show them by example by demonstrating the boundaries that exist between the two of you. Do not mesh with your child.
6. Be strong as steel for your children. Give them a secure, safe place to fall when life hurts. Never let your child see you fall apart when they are hurting. That is when they need you the most.
7. Be your child’s greatest advocate. Put your own insecurities aside and always stand up for your child’s best interests.
8. Encourage the development of your child’s inner beauty. Teach them to be kind, understanding, fair, and loving. In the scheme of things, that is much more important than their outer beauty.
9. Use every life example possible to demonstrate faith and hope for your children. Allow them to experience some disappointments so that they develop the skills to deal with whatever challenges life may throw at them.
10. Be open, available, and nonreactive. If your child fears the reaction they will face when they tell you the truth, they will learn to lie. And when they lie, they are in danger of making bad decisions and succumbing to negative outside influences.
11. Listen carefully to what they say. Read between the lines.
12. Love your children unconditionally. Encourage, don’t judge.
13. Plant seeds of self-love and self-esteem in your child. If your child is not as successful as he/she can be in school, tell them that they are smart anyway. Accentuate their strengths and their potential for success. They will eventually incorporate that thought into their self image and rise to it.
14. When you disapprove of something they are doing, discipline the behavior but never tell the child that they are bad. If you tell them that they are bad, they will be bad. They believe every word you say.
15. Do your best to demonstrate optimism for your children.
16. Never rehash old issues with your child. Never say, “I told you so.” Approach everything from this day forward.
17. Your child should never be more concerned about you, than you are about them. Be the parent, don’t be needy with your children.
18. Be vulnerable; show your child that you aren’t perfect. Admit some of your mistakes past and present. If you share things that you did, whether right or wrong ,when you were younger, your child will relate to you better. They will find you more approachable.
19. Pick your arguments. Remember that children go through stages. As long as their choices don’t cause irreparable damage or bodily harm, the less emphasis you place on these temporary issues, the faster they will grow out of them on their own.
20. When your child is using drugs, drinking, or doing something potentially dangerous, use tough love IMMEDIATELY! Nip it in the bud before the problem takes on a life of its own. Revoke all priviledges: cell phone, car, computer, video games, etc. Evaluate their friendships and make changes if necessary. Make them earn their priviledges back. Be clear in sending the message that this behavior is unacceptable. Never withdraw love. These are the times they need the most support. As much as they will fight against what you are doing, they will always know that you are acting out of love and in their best interest.
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Author's Bio: 

Randi Fine is a native of Baltimore, Maryland who has been living in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida since 2005. She has two adult children: a beautiful daughter and a handsome son, and she has been married to a wonderful man for 22 years.

Her lifetime thirst for artistic, creative expression led her in 2008 to the challenge of writing her memoir, Fine…ly: My Story of Hope, Love, and Destiny. During the two year process of navigating through the unfamiliar waters of authorship, she discovered for the first time that she truly had a passion for writing. She now devotes herself to writing full-time from her home. By sharing her wealth of experiences, insights, and lessons, she aspires to offer hope, compassion, and understanding to those who searching for answers.

Love Your Life, is a journal that she writes to connect with others who share in her mission of spreading light, love, and healing to the world. Her blog talk-radio show is called, A Fine Time for Healing: A Sanctuary for Your Emotional Wellbeing. She discuss self-help and spiritual life-skill topics that will heal and enhance the life experiences of others.

She is a deeply spiritual person, following an enlightened path of her own design. It is a connection that she faithfully trusts to guide her in every aspect of her life.