Last week I posted part one of my parenting suggestions. Here’s part two:
1. Protect your kids from internet dangers. I thought everyone was aware of the dos and don’ts, but I recently showed my cousin I could figure out his daughter’s school, what team she is on, her best friend’s name, and more from her unlocked Instagram account.
2. Read this important (and scary) book to learn how to protect your kids from other dangers.
3. Marital satisfaction goes down when you have kids and rises when they leave the house. Know that and use that information to put in the hard work to make your marriage work.
4. Be dedicated to making your marriage work. Don’t give up without fighting to make it work. But if somehow it ends in divorce, make it amicable and DO NOT put the kids in the middle. (Read this post I wrote if you want more on this).
5. Your kids are not good or bad girls and boys. Their behavior will be good and bad at various times. Praise and criticize your kids’ behaviors, not the kids themselves.
6. Tell your kids you are proud of them as often as possible.
7. Make sure your kids know they can come to you for anything. Just last year, during college, one of my daughters came to us with a problem. After I said, “I’m so glad you came to us. You always can.” She said, “I know. That why I did.”
8. Teach your kids, by example, and by your encouragement, the importance of exercise and physical fitness.
9. Same with healthy eating.
10. Teach your kids they may be better at certain things than other people, and others may be better than them at certain things, but that doesn’t make one or the other better people.
11. Before our kids became teens, we were told they might begin to act as if Martians abducted the kids we knew, replacing them with the horrors they became. If that happens to you, know it’s normal, and it’s temporary. When our son Jeremy was 15, he stopped wanting to kiss my wife. Marcie was very upset by this. We went to a therapist who told us it’s typical for teenage boys, especially when have their first girlfriend, as Jeremy did that year, to become uncomfortable kissing their moms. She promised he would come back to Marcie. And within a couple of years he did. Knowledge is power. Marcie still wasn’t happy, but knowing what was going on helped her.
12. Drive your kids and their friends places. It’s amazing what you learn from the conversations in the back seat. Just listen. Don’t comment.
13. Never hit your kids. I got lucky. One day when Jeremy was three, he purposely knocked over one of his sisters, who was six months old. I reacted by pushing him away from my daughter. It was done to protect her, but it was also done in anger. My brother happened to see what took place. He pulled me aside and said, “You don’t have to get physical with your kids.” And I never did again. I’m extremely grateful I stopped before I started. My brother was right. There is never a need for physical punishment.
14. Save money for college. Until last month, we had three kids in college at the same time. Just before my twin daughters left for college, a light bulb went on for one of them. “Wait a minute,” she said, “how can you afford to send us all to college at the same time?” I answered, “We’ve known this day was coming for over 18 years.” “Good point,” she replied.
15. When your kid says “I’ll never learn (fill in the blank),” tell they once didn’t know how to talk, but they learned.
16. Say no if you are not comfortable with something they want to do.
17. But listen to their argument so they know you are open-minded and willing to have your opinion changed.
18. Apologize to your kids if you are wrong.
19. Teach your kids not to judge others by the color of their skin, or the color of their hair, or their hairstyle, or their tattoos, or their clothes, or their piercings, but by the content of their character.
This list is most definitely not everything. I hope you will join the conversation, and add to it with your comments…