While being a parent comes with overflowing joy, it comes with great responsibility. We are responsible to train our children to be polite, kind, and loving little humans. Unfortunately, they do not enter the world that way… just ask anyone with a two year old terror… I mean toddler.
Plus if we are honest, we are not always polite, kind, and loving people. Parenting has a big learning curve since these babies don’t come with an instruction manual but reading about parenting, talking to other mom’s, watching YouTube Mom channels, listening to podcasts, and building a support system are some tools to help you learn to be the parent your child needs.
Great parenting is difficult. We all want our children to grow up exhibiting character traits such as being faithful, trustworthy, giving, loving, loyal, compassionate, giving, and honest. But how do you do that as a parent? One way to teach your child those traits is to model them. Children are little imitators and if they grow seeing you being faithful to your spouse; watch you telling the truth even when it is hard; help you give to those in need; being compassionate to those considered “unlovable;” and knowing that your word can be counted on is a huge start to building their character. Begin modeling these traits when they are babies and continue all of their lives.
Another good way to teach your children is to make them feel valued and loved. This builds a solid foundation of security and teaches them to value and love others that they meet. Building a community of trusted family and friends is a powerful tool in raising your children. Life is overwhelmingly busy but intentionally making time for others and inviting them into your family’s lives for both you and your kiddos will continue the path of character building. Find people who you and your children respect and desire to emulate.
The ultimate role model is Jesus so if you are a parent who is a believer, it is never too early to start teaching your precious children about Jesus who says “let the little children come to me.” Learning about Him will add to building their character as He is full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. The Bible is actually a guide for parenting as it has many Bible verses regarding babies and children, so turn to His Word for guidance with these little one’s who are entrusted to us.
Disciplining your children is an important aspect of parenting. Around toddler age, your sweet cherub of a baby, suddenly cannot control their emotions and begins to act out by having tantrums. It is so tempting, when you are frustrated with an irrational little one, to lose your temper and just yell. But remember that you need to remain calm and model positive behavior (not just yelling) from toddlers to teenagers.
As you are raising children, you WILL experience argumentative conduct, disobedience, spoiled behavior, and nowadays the battle against too much screen time. But with consistency, remaining calm, and actively listening, you can shut down the arguments, reign in the disobeying, reverse the spoiling, and even limit screen time. It just takes time and a lot of patience.
Communication is vital in any relationship, so as baby babbling begins start to teach your child about communication skills. This will better help them voice their emotions with you. Another important lesson for children is that mistakes are often opportunities to learn. Teaching them to take responsibility for their actions shows them that what they say or do affects others. But once again, the key to discipline is to model appropriate behavior for your kiddos.
Talking to your children about hard subjects is scary. Who wants to tell their kid about the “birds and the bees?” Or explain why someone they love passed away? What if your child has questions about divorce? How about tackling frightening social issues such as school shootings or human trafficking?
Nowadays our children are exposed to more and more challenging topics. In order to help them navigate these emotional and social issues, you need to encourage open discussion, show that you can listen, allow them to ask questions, share your values, and provide a safe environment for them to share.
Be willing to admit you do not have all the answers. Keeping open communication with your children will allow them to feel free to share their concerns, fears, and questions with you. And that is what you want as a parent!