Don’t be your child’s friend
He/She will make his/her own friends. Your role is to be a mentor, teacher, and authority figure. Friendship will come later.
Our first lady has even undertaken this challenge. For some reason our culture acts as if childhood should be a carefree time filled with unmonitored sugar and fat consumption, but this has a terrible effect on the long-term health of your child and his/her ability to function in daily life.
Teach him/her how to sleep
Sleep is the most basic of needs and we cannot think clearly or maintain optimal performance without it. Your child should sleep in his/her own bed and meet the guidelines set by pediatricians for daily rest based on his/her age. If you are convinced your child is a “night owl”, you are in denial about your role as a parent. Children need rest and teaching them to sooth themselves and get enough sleep is crucial to their healthy development. A child lacking proper sleep is more likely to have mood swings, have difficulty in school, and be less than the person he/she was created to be.
Do not expose children to adult themed media
Would you take your five year old to a gentleman’s club? Or buy a seven year old a few shots? Then how do you justify letting him/her watch Family Guy as a youngster? It is adult humor, created for adults. Cherish the time your child is a child, and do what is in your power to protect that precious time.
No Electronics in a child’s bedroom
Have you watched TV lately? Or surfed the internet? No positive outcome occurs from allowing your child to have unmonitored access to electronics.
Teach your child basic manners
“Please” and “Thank-you” have not become obsolete and can go a long way to helping your child interact with others. Take the time to teach the absolute basics of polite behavior. Otherwise, you are raising a pig in gym shoes.
It is uncomfortable to think about, but if anything ever happens to you, this is where your child will most likely be headed. Doesn’t it make sense to develop these relationships? And a warm and wonderful relationship with grandparents, aunts and uncles, can only be a treasure to your child.
Take an interest in who your child is…
In case you haven’t noticed, your child is not a replica of you. He/ She has his/her own likes and dislikes. Help him/her to develop talents and interests. Support the natural curiosity of your child. Expose him/her to your library, museums, parks, concerts, anything besides constant TV and video games. It will help him/her develop into a more well rounded and interesting person.
As a parent, you are responsible for the discipline of your child. Do not give in to tantrums and whining when your child is young…because difficult little children grow up to be messed up teenagers. Research shows that children want you to set limits and not allow them to be in control. So get a backbone and act like the adult you are supposed to be.
Never give up!
Loving a child, often times means being exhausted. But it is never too late to dig in and become a better parent for the benefit of your child. Authoritative nurturing has been shown to be the “magic” of successful parenting. So take a deep breath, give your child a hug and do some soul searching about what you can do to be a parent you know you could be, the one that has the future of your child as your top priority.