You never really know what an experience is actually is like, of course, until you go through it yourself. This principle rings true especially when it comes to parenting. Having children is a life-changer that affects everyone in their own unique way. I recently read about Beyoncé and Jay Z revealing news about them having twins. This caught my attention because I personally have twins who are now 10 years old. Even though Beyoncé and Jay Z already have one daughter, I think even they would be surprised to discover that raising twins is a totally different story and experience.
Yes, raising children is darn hard work, but worth the journey. The bottom line is that every child is different. They are different from other people’s children, and they are different from their own siblings. So trying to raise them like all other children can result in frustration for you as well as the child.
Having difficulty with your kids?
Disconnection is usually the culprit behind conflicts experienced between parents and children. Connection with your children is important for so many reasons, the biggest being LOVE.
Let’s rethink the way we are raising and training our children. Let’s rethink how to love them in the discipline department. Do mistakes and failures always need to be punished? The parenting model that flows from this mindset presents a “punisher” role for the parent and creates an “outside-in” approach to learning about life for the child. This causes disconnection rather than connection. The goal is to love, and that can only happen through heart-to-heart connection.
Too often we punish and try to control our children out of our own fears and insecurities. When children grow up in an environment where their parents are afraid of mistakes, they learn to fear failure. I myself struggled with this for a long time. Because of the way I grew up, I never felt good enough and felt like a disappointment all the time. An environment of fear and intimidation does just that, it causes disconnect and excessive apprehensiveness over failure.
We should never apply methods of dealing with our kids that build fear instead of love. They are kids! Our children are mistake-makers. They don’t know what you know and haven’t experienced what you have experienced, so be patient with them. They are all on a learning journey just like us. When we become afraid of their mistakes, anxiety begins to control our responses to them and fear becomes the teacher in the home. This is how intimidation has become the main parenting tool for many parents. Using various levels of intimidation, we seek to control them in order to make ourselves feel like “good parents” that have robots kids.
Do you really want fear teaching your children?
We must learn to raise our children from the inside-out, through love, to produce freedom. We should aspire to empower our kids rather than make them afraid to fail. We must develop core values in them and not fears of failure. If we train them in fear, they will only “obey” when we are present. The moment we leave the room, that very obedience will disappear and they will make any impulsive decision they want. This is why we must develop core values within them. When core values are communicated routinely, our children begin to manifest them out of instinct whether we are there or not.
Here are 10 Foundational Parenting Principles
- LOVE is ALWAYS the Goal: A parent’s ultimate goal is to equip their children with the ability to healthily give and receive love. It is extremely important that people learn from a young age how to give love to themselves, and others, affectionately. Wise parents will model and teach skills on how to give and receive love. Parents should exemplify greatness in this regard because our lives and actions define so much in children’s developing minds.
- Connection and Attention: Many children are love-starved because although their parents are around much of the time, they never really get the attention they need. It is better to spend smaller amounts of quality time with our children without distractions rather than lots of time when we are preoccupied with other activities. Learn to “tune in” to your children at all ages, especially since they go through different seasons having different needs.
- A Respect for Obedience and Authority: To be successful in life children must learn to be successful in relationships because life revolves around relationships. We must equip our children to respect the rights and needs of others. All relationships require giving, as well as receiving. Positive parenting denotes that parents be good authority figures for their children. Having a friendship is great, but the positive parental roles of nurturing, supporting, and wise counsel are never truly finished.
- Personal Responsibility and Consequences for Actions: Equip your children to make decisions and to take responsibility for their actions. They need to learn that they have the power to make things happen. They need the knowledge to respond to any situation, or be responsible. They also need to know about consequences. As strong authorities in the home, parents must reward good behavior fairly, or deliver discipline swiftly. Children’s behavior and choices must be made to preset rules, responsibilities and limits. A well-managed system of responsibility and consequences creates harmony in the home whereby everyone knows their roles. Again, this should all come from a place of LOVE. Discipline exists to shine light on any areas of weakness and it empowers children to rise up to their true potential.
- Security, Consequences, and Self-Esteem: Most children have a deep desire for social approval. This desire informs the development of their identity and purpose. This is why it’s important for parents to express their children’s value out loud to them often. Tell them about their gifts and abilities. Tell them about their potential, and tell them about their possibilities. Call out their greatness! Self-Esteem is a result of a sense of personal self-worth and achievement. Great parents let their children know they are loved unconditionally for who they are, not what they do.
- Creative Individuality: Every human being is unique. Even my own kids who are twins are totally different! Ha! Lazy parents sometimes try to cut corners and treat every child alike. But we must realize that each child has their own strengths and weaknesses. We as parents must be wise and help cultivate their strengths and create a platform for them to shine.
- Modeling & Transparency: In case you haven’t noticed, “Don’t do as I do, do as I say,” doesn’t work. Positive and effective parenting requires that we actively practice everything we expect from our kids. You expect them to eat healthy? You better eat healthy! Don’t want your kids cursing? Then don’t curse. Kids learn more from our actions than our words. Along with modeling honesty, projecting openness is also important. Many parents try to hide behind their authority rather than being humble, honest and open with their kids. Transparency is essential for the development of intimate, close and bonded relationships of love and respect.
- Need-Fulfillment: Don’t use your kids for your own personal need-fulfillment. They are not toys or pets, they are people! Our job is to encourage the growth of a well-developed, productive, secure, independent, sociable, and responsible adult. If we as parents have unfulfilled emotional needs, we had better go get help and get healed; not take it out on or project that onto our children.
- Be Flexible: Parents must learn to develop their kids’ creative potential. As children grow, they change. Good parents are sensitive and flexible to their children’s growth stages. Great parents respond to and encourage growth rather than “reacting” to it. Get a plan to be flexible as they grow because having a plan helps you respond and not react.
- Hard Work: Positive parenting is both a need and a calling. There are few things as negative and as painful as having failed as a parent. Likewise there are few things as satisfying and fulfilling as having succeeded as one.
May you grow in your parenting because it truly is one of the most important jobs in the world!