It is often said that this generation of youth is the lost generation. But if youth today are the lost generation, then what does that say about the generation that raised them? All of us could use some perspective or points of advice.

What does it take to be a better parent? Here are 11 points of perspective as we raise our children:
1. Time

  • Children spell love T-I-M-E
  • Be deliberate…intentional about how you are going to spend time with them
    • This may be any number of things like reading to or attending their school functions. Time is not just a one week vacation to the beach.
    • Work is not more of a priority than your family…it is merely an excuse. Remember that if you succeed at work and fail at home, your failure in one will always impact the success in the other.
  • Take time to see what they see and hear. Not where you want to go and what you want to see. Parenting forces us to lose a lot of “self.”

2. Set an example

  • Be genuine…how you live, how you act, what you do…it matters. Children hear and observe far more than we imagine. They are patterning their lives after something, what pattern are you setting?

3. Let them express how they feel

  • It is okay for your child to be scared. They can be scared of ghosts, school, a new environment, people, getting older, dying, relationships, and any number of things. It is not what you know, but it is what they know. Let them respectfully and freely express those feelings with you.

4. Express how you feel

  • About them
  • How their actions made you feel
    • Remember when you correct your child, that it is their actions you are correcting, not they themselves that you are correcting

5. Listen

  • Respect is earned so earn the right to be heard

6. Stability is safety which comes from

  • Protection and consistency

7. Praise and encourage

  • Offer more positives than negatives. And be optimistic…it’s contagious.

8. Don’t make idle promises or threats:

  • No one can truly ground their child for long periods of time so do not say something you do not or cannot practically keep.

9. Control your own emotions

  • While it may feel this way, it is not about you!

10. Be aware of their age not yours

  • Remember, it is not what you know; it is what they know
    • Don’t expect a 9 year old to act like a 15 year old in their maturity…they simply cannot

11. Appreciate that they are different from you:

  • It is not your goal to create a mini-me. Embrace and encourage your child’s skill sets, even if they do not match up with your own.
  • Sit back and watch them
    • Most of us learn by watching. Watch your child as it will better help you understand their temperament and abilities.

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