Parenting is the most rewarding thing you will ever do. I always tell my husband that I want to report to God some day and know that I did everything in my power to be THE BEST PARENT I could possibly be.
I don’t want to live with regrets for not being a good parent. To me that would bring me so much agony. And yet I know I make mistakes every day. But I tell that to my kids and I tell that to God every night as I close off the day and prepare to start a new one.
I am grateful every day that I am living here at home and I get to spend these years right now with my children all at home.
I have dreamt of being a mom since I was young. And I always told my husband that my children will forever be my priority. Even if I may attempt pursuing another dream, I know my kids are my everything and they will always come first.
Now I know it’s difficult to deal with chldren’s tantrums and fights. They seem to go from one problem to the next one as they get older.
I have listed my top favorite books for this post. Together with my top favorite tips.
1. Learning from you takes time
I have learned that a lot of what we teach our kids now won’t stick until they are older and living on their own. You will see some progress. But right now they are under our wings and being that they don’t fee the weight of being on their own and being responsible of their own lives yet, they feel more at peace and think a little less about certain things. That will come as they get older. So as long as you are consistent and persistent, even if you don’t see results now remember that as long as you taught them that is all that matters.
2. Don’t expect to be the super kind parent all the time
This society makes it tough to discipline children especially outside the home. To the point that many people eavesdrop and are often ready to give a peace of their mind on any subject. My advice stop apologizing to others and don’t be afraid to talk to your kids. The best way is to usually find a private spot to talk to your child when with friends or others.
It embarrasses your child when you reprimand them in public too. It affects their self esteem. But don’t be afraid to stop a conversation or go to a quiet place with your child to take time to talk. Let others know you need a private second. Yes its awkward. others often feel you are going to beat your child. lol. But talking to them about what they are doing in front of others is a lot worse.
3. Don’t be afraid to be firm and speak boldly to your child
I think in this world we are taught that we are supposed to be so calm all the time and take it from our kids. The biggest thing i have learned from books is that if you don’t raise your child right, he will turn into a manipulative sociopath. And sometimes your children need to hear the truth. And the truth may come boldly. I sometimes speak loudly to my kids. 1 because other wise they will talk all over me, and 2 because I want them to be good kids.
I tell them during those moments that I love them, and because I love them I would rather they hate me then, than grow up and not go to Heaven. Their eternal salvation and success is my top priority. I’ll take that over being nice and walked over all the time.
I think of Nephi how he often mentioned that his father
Lehi would speak boldly to his children for hours. I doubt he just said: ” Hey sweetie, you almost killed your brother, don’t do it anymore.”
There is difference i guess between talking sternly to your child and being out of control angry and abusive. It’s wrong to call your child names. To define him as selfish or stupid or dumb or mean. It’s wrong to make our children afraid of us.
I tell my kids that when I talk to them sternly I am not mad. I am in control of myself. I am not just trying to hurt them because I am filled with rage. But I mean what I say and I will say it how it needs to be said to be understood.
When angry instead, the best thing to do is table what is happening and pick up the conversation after a break.
Some of the best teaching moments come when both parent and child are calm and ready to talk and listen. Not in the heat if moment when emotions are high.
4. Be your child’s best friend
I remember learning from Gordon B. Hinckley that we should be our children’s best friends. How fun is that. Yes, they are people after all. They are little but they are people and some day they will be big and they will understand everything that happened and they will remember if we had a good relationship or a bad one. So be good friends and love one another. Be fair. Don’t promise and then not deliver. Take the time to explain things to them. And love each other.
5. Explain the why behind what you teach them
The best thing i have learned htat wrokds is to explain the why behid why we choose t odo what we do. Why do we clean. Why do we have manners. Why do we learn. Why do we treat each other nicely. And be the example behind what you teach htem.
Remember that sometimes their way of manifesting discontent comes from lack of understanding. They also haven’t learned what the appropriate reaction should be when feeling certain emotions.
As parents we don’t need to always interpret a tantrum as bad behavior. We don’t want our children to think it’s not ok to demonstrate emotions and bottle it all up. As adults after all we are pretty open about our discontent. It’s about teaching our kids how to express those feelings. To learn to use their words to express them rather than by blowing up in other ways.
By recognizing that we can learn to be more forgiving when they act up and learn to seek to understand and try to get to the root of their problem.
As parents we are literally mini-therapists and a convoy to help our children’s emotion come out, be interpreted the right way and to teach them how to cope with them.
6. Tell them your love for them
Remind your children how much you love them. Remind them how much you care. Remind them how much you are willing to sacrifice fro them. Remind them why you wake up everyday for them. Remind them that you will forever love them and be there. Remind them that even though sometimes you are mad at each other your love never goes away.
7. Remember their brain isn’t developed
I learned in college during my child development class that our children’s brain won’t be developed until they are in their 20’s. So if your kid acts like their brain isn’t there, it’s because it fully really isn’t quite yet. Knowing this remind me that we can cut them some slack and be a bit more understanding when they don’t make choices as well as we do.
8. Don’t be afraid to give them responsibilities
Some day, your children will be gone. You want them to learn what life will be like. By helping you and learning all you do they will also learn a greater appreciation for all the work you do. I sometimes ask my kids to do things such as taking out the trash, or put the dishes in the dishwasher. As children, they loved it. They were little so it was a game. once they found out it had to be done. Oh my goodness!!!
The first time I spent 1 hour doing dishes with my son, He cried the whole way through. But we stuck with it. and we consistently started doing it until he got the hang of it. He also started using a lot less cups and dishes. He knew what it took to do it, so we started to help us out be easing up everyone’s burden.
9. Invest in your kids now and they will do better later
The biggest thing I learned from “Child Wise” (check it out below), is that between the age of 4 and 7 are the most crucial times for your children. Take the time now to teach them how to be good people. And you will set the perfect foundation for their life time.
Remember to take the time when you are both calm to have teaching moments. Take note of what your child needs to improve on and find calm time for both of you to have those conversations.
10. Enjoy every stage
Every stage of parenting has it’s own challenge. New borns are beautiful but physically exhausting. Toddlers are a power struggle since they figured out they have a mind of their own. Between 2 AND 4 they start acting like teenagers. Literally. At 8 they hit another hard stage where they start thinking a lot more logically.
And then there is the teenage years. It only gets harder a lot people say. But don’t focus on that. And focus on why each stage is wonderful. New borns smell good and are perfect to snuggle. Toddlers laugh just so much. They are such a joy. 4 Year olds say the funniest things and are the best little friends. They are sweet at 6. They are smart at 8. And then they get older and are able to talk with you more, play with you, do more and more things with you that you even enjoy as an adult. Do you like snowboarding, boating, hiking, building? The older they get the more they can do those things with you.
Remember to enjoy each stage because ti will always be just that, a stage. And they will grow out of every part.Love the present wherever tour children may be right now. Because there is good in any stage. The biggest thing i have learned is that it doesn’t matter what age they are or how many you have. You can love parenthood no matter what if you learn to enjoy each and every stage you will go through.