The most rewarding and fulfilling part of your life is being a great parent. Being a great parent does not come naturally with the birth of a child. It requires you to consciously learn and put into practice certain knowledge that seems to remain hidden under the rocks these days.
A family is the nucleus of society and parents have the sacred responsibility of forming a Christian family. They must inculcate, with love and discipline, the values that will make their children good persons.
Consider these 4 important elements for your success in becoming a great parent:
1. Unconditional Love for your children.
Love your children without conditions or limits; unchanging, given freely no matter what, intentional. Your children will love you back, respect you, and will learn to love and respect others. Tell your children you love them, show them your affection, and hug them every day.
Separate the child from the behavior. When they misbehave, tell them you don’t like the behavior, but you love them. As they learn to walk, teach them obedience and discipline with love.
“Let thy child’s first lesson be obedience, and the second may be what thou wilt.” – Benjamin Franklin.
Note that you must first love yourself unconditionally before you can love someone else. You won’t be able to love someone else with their faults, if you can’t love yourself with your faults. If you know you are doing something wrong, correct it as your children are watching and the example you give them is stronger than your words.
Your children need to know you love them unconditionally. They will seek love elsewhere if you don’t; usually in undesirable places. Let them know that you love them and you are there for them. This takes you to the second element.
2. Show them they are a Priority to you.
Children need love and affection to build their own character and self-confidence; but it is not enough, they also need your attention. People spend their time on the things they value the most. Show your children their value to you by spending quality time with them. Children feel less valued and perceive their parents don’t care about them if they don’t plan on sharing time together.
Your children will want to be with you as well, you will become friends, and you will get to know each other better.
Balance your work week and schedule quality time to be with your family. Beware of many distractions like TV, cell phones and tablets, tech gadgets, etc. that generally make you waste time.
When you are with your children, give them your undivided attention. Teach them, mentor them, and nurture them.
Show them you care about their activities by attending their sports games, meets, and performances.
3. Practice open Communication with them.
When they are young, kids are constantly asking questions, and you frequently talk with them, teaching them, instructing them. As they become older, continue the practice of open communication with them.
Your children will learn to be great parents themselves, and excellent communicators. Teach them that open communication is the key to the success of any relationship.
Seek their opinion, feedback, and thoughts, about different subjects. Suggest good formative books and then talk about them. They will learn that you care, to express their ideas to others, and most important, you will gain their trust and confidence, so when something comes up in their life, they will be comfortable coming to you for advice.
Take advantage of the dinner table time to have family reunions and catch up on daily occurrences.
4. Start children off on the way they should go.
… And even when they are old they will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
Teach your children we have a loving God who gave up His Son Jesus for the Salvation of many souls. Teach them about the Ten Commandments and the Works of Mercy. Teach them, with your example, the values that will forge their way to our Heavenly Father.
By loving your children unconditionally, showing them how important they are to you by spending quality time with them, openly communicating with them, and starting them off in the way they should go, you will be blessed with children who love and respect you, want to be with you, will be great parents like you someday, and will reach their full potential for the glory of God.
Many thanks to my good friend Jim Campbell for sharing with me his notes about Parenting, which are the base of this article. God Blessings!