1. Don’t blame your parents for mistakes you make. It wasn’t your parents who were abusive or behaved inappropriately to your children, it was you. It hurt you when your parents did it to you, it hurts your children when you do it to them. If you resent your parents for treating you in such a way, your children probably feel the same towards you. Own up to it, then act differently in the future.
2. Don’t lie. Be an honest person. People know when you are not telling the truth, even when they don’t show it or when they don’t tell you. You only lose their respect by lying to them. Let your words stand for something. It is the only way to lead a happy, content, and peaceful life.
3. Keep your promises. Breaking a promise you made to someone breaks their heart, and if you keep breaking promises to people, they won’t believe you the next time you make one. If you break a promise you made to yourself, you will start seeing yourself as a failure. Only make such promises that you know you CAN keep.
4. Treat all your children the same. They already know that they are different from other siblings and that they are good at different things. The amount of complements you give to one should be the same you give to the other(s). If you hug one of your children, do the same with others even if they don’t show they want a hug.
5. Set your children boundaries. They need them. They want them. Just make sure they are reasonable. When they are young, you represent their moral compass to them, they inherit your values system. When they grow up, they need to me responsible adults, they need to be capable of functioning where limitations and boundaries are the norm, where they need to know right from wrong, and where they also need to respect other people and get along with them.
6. Act as you preach. Children notice, children remember. If you want them to be honest, don’t lie yourself and don’t make them lie for you.
7. Make them feel you love them. Don’t assume they know it. Learn what their language of love is, then use it as often as possible. No child ever complained their parents loved them too much or showed them they loved them too often, do they? 😉
8. Praise them. In a world where we are often reminded of our mistakes (tests, exams, etc.), they need to know that they are doing something right and that they are doing something well. If you think that you already praise them a lot, do the following task: for one week, write down every single praise and every single unpleasant comment you say to them (have a separate chart for each child). At the end of one week, add all the praises up and compare this number to the number of unpleasant comments you made. Example of unpleasant comments: Why did you leave your dirty sock on the floor and not put them into the laundry basket? (signals incompetence, laziness), Why can’t you be more like your sister/brother? (signals they aren’t good enough), You’re so lazy/You’re a slob, Are you really going to eat all of that?,
9. Treat them with respect. They are a human being, just like you, and they deserve to be treated with respect. Don’t expect them to respect you if you don’t respect them. They might respect you out of fear (this is often when they are younger), but as soon as the move out, the respect is gone and so are their visits and phone calls to you. You will only get to see them at holidays or get a phone call every now and then, most likely out of courtesy.
10. Let your children choose their own paths. Sure, you can give the suggestions, advice, or warn them of the dangers going along a certain path might bring, but at the end of the day it is them who need to be satisfied with their choices, not you.
What are the lessons your parents have thought you?