4 Cardinal Rules of Parenting

  Having only a teenaged daughter at home causes me to forget the basics of child rearing until I am confronted with someone who either does it all wrong or does it very well.
  Sadly, it was doing things the wrong way that got me to thinking.  I observed a mother, who has essentially abandoned her son, whisper in his ear, "I'll be home for Christmas, I promise."
  Even if she hadn't said, "I promise", the promise had been made.  In fact, if we're not careful, we can offhandedly say something that our children receive as a promise and we were only thinking out loud.
  This same mother had told her son she would be at his birthday party.  She wasn't.  And though she may come home for Christmas, the truth is, she very well may not, either.
  When we tell our children we are going to get them something, take them someplace special, or do something with them, we had better do it.  When we don't, we discourage them and build mistrust.  In a situation where it happens frequently, the child may become bitter, resentful, and rebellious.
   Secondly, if we are trying to produce character qualities in our children, our actions better proceed our words.  Don't lecture them about being lazy if you are going to sit in front of the tv all day and eat bon bons.
   Don't tell them not to lie and then when the phone rings say, "Tell them I'm not home."  Realize that if you are going to call into work and say you are sick when you aren't, you are teaching your children to lie, no matter how many times you may rebuke them when you catch them in a lie.
   Thirdly, if you want something to be important to your children, it has to be important to you.  Is going to church important?  Then go, and take your children.  Don't make them tag along with the next door neighbor.
   Is it important to obey authority?  Then buckle your seat belt and drive the speed limit.  Don't fool yourself into thinking the "little things" are unimportant.
   Is it important to read?  Then read to your children as well as read to yourself. Buy books.  Make trips to the library.
   Is it important to have hobbies?  What are yours?
   Is it important to have friends?  Then be a friend.
   The list is endless and challenging, but well worth investing time and effort.  Besides making you a better parent, living in this manner will make you a better person.
   Lastly, don't burden your children by living vicariously through them.  It is unfair and can produce disastrous results.  They may very well end up hating you for it.
   This is Parenting 101.  Get these basics down and you have won half the battle.


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