DISCLAIMER: You shouldn’t get parenting advice from the internet.
I am not an expert.
If you want to know how to raise the perfect child, go ask my mom.
With that being said, here’s 666 tips on bringing up little angels.
1. Let ’em eat dirt
Sometimes, kids just need to be let loose. Let them run and scream and play and laugh. Let them be wild. Give them the freedom to do this as often as possible, and it may make it easier to contain them at other times.
Let them expend as much energy as possible, as often as possible.
You will be happier if they eat dirt and not sugar.
2. Teach them right from wrong
You’d think this was a no-brainer. You’d be wrong. The church can’t teach this. The schools can’t teach this. They will try, but really this is something they will either learn from you or not. No pressure.
3. Be mindful
Pay attention here. Mindfulness is very important. Don’t just float down life’s current. Think about your actions. Always ask yourself why. Make conscious decisions. Know what you are doing and why. This will be important for your sanity and your child’s well being.
You don’t have to make decisions just because all the other parents are. They probably don’t even know why they are doing it. You don’t have to have the latest swing set or toys or baby monitors or cribs. People have been successfully raising children for years without the latest technology. Your kid doesn’t have to play every sport, every instrument, be in all the plays, and join in all the extra church activities.
If you are stressed because your schedule is full of kid’s activities, then this means that your child will probably be stressed as well.
Sometimes, you just have to let things go and just say no to all the extra junk that fills your life.
Make more room for time. It’s the only thing you can’t get back.
4. Teach your kids to be honest
Imagine you could only pick one thing that you’d like other people to say about your kids. Would this be it? It’d be close to the top for me. And I suppose this goes along with teaching them right from wrong.
The best way to teach your kids this, is to model it yourself. If your children watch you bend the truth to everyone around you (especially to them), they will mimic this behavior eventually.
5. Send them outside
No explanation needed. Sunshine and imagination. Nothing else needed.
(Rain and imagination is good too)
A smile and a hug are about the best damned things there are. Do these often.
7. On raising teenagers
8. Life is hard, work harder
Kids are a blank slate. Forget this nonsense that you are born athletic, clumsy, fast, slow, skinny, fat, smart, dumb, creative, boring. You might have some genetic tendencies that help you a little, but whatever you train will improve. Don’t tell your kids that they can be whatever they want without also telling them they are going to have to work harder than most folks to get it.
Give them some chores. Give them some responsibility. Don’t reward complacency and laziness. If they can do it themselves, then it’s probably best to let them. They don’t have to wear the perfect outfit all the time. They can pick out their clothes by themselves, they can make their lunches for school, they can help their siblings, and they CAN clean their room. (Obviously these are just examples that will vary dependent on age)
Do not give them everything. If you do, be prepared for them to grow up entitled and ungrateful. Teach them how to respect the effort and the reward.
9. Participation award
Don’t fall for it. They don’t need a trophy for their participation. They need to understand to grow from failure. If their team lost, what can they do better next time? Don’t let them blame others either. Teach them how to take ownership and to learn from everything around them. It takes discipline to become great at something. There is no easy way.
10. On going to the doctor
I may be a little biased here, but I think you should have one main doctor for your children. Sick, healthy, etc. I know it’s more convenient to take them wherever when they are sick, but I believe they get better care when they are seen by the physician that knows them the best. Also, if ever your kid was sick and you went to the doctor and they didn’t give you any medicines, then that probably means you have a really good doctor. Sometimes kids just need to let their immune system to do the trick. If they aren’t getting better, don’t turn to google. Call your doc.
School will teach them to read. You can teach them to WANT to read by reading yourself. Model the behavior you want to see. You could start with any of these books HERE: doctorchrispark.com/book-club/
13. We all make mistakes
We all mess up. And at some point in your parenting role, you will too. Own it. Admit it. Learn from it. Your kids will probably be a lot more forgiving than you are.
Parenting is tough and I don’t have all the answers. I just have a lot of kids.
Just remember to keep love in your heart and try not to let the little bastards get you down.
You may have noticed only 13 tips. Not 666. Maybe you can add some more in the comments.
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Above all, continue to love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.
1 Peter 4:8