Not all of us had a great childhood. Not all of us enjoyed growing up. Yet many of us did. A lot of the ill in the world is the result of poor parenting. Poor parenting as the result of a poor education and/or an unclear understanding of how the world actually works, which, again, is the result of poor parenting.
This is not to say that we can blame our mom and dad for our current crappy situation, if that is the situation we feel we are in, because, as human beings, we have a choice. We always have a choice. Parents are supposed to teach you which choices you are supposed to make and which ones you should avoid making. That's what parenting comes down to; yet, not only do those who make poor choices continuously opt to make them, the bad choice-making also becomes hereditary.
We teach our children the choices that need to be made by showing them the choices we make while they are still young. Even when those decisions end in a poor result, we learn that making such decisions is what people do. This sounds ludicrous, as logic clearly tells us that we should not repeat mistakes regardless of whether or not they are our own, but it is the way it is.
These are eight things every parent should be capable of doing, things we should all be thankful for being lucky enough to have experienced:
1. A Great Childhood.
Great childhoods are not hard to create. Kids can have fun in almost any household, no matter how well off or financially troubled the parents are. Kids don't need a toy chest full of toys or to travel all over the world. Kids have their imaginations and it's usually enough. What they do need is a household that encourages curiosity and parents who spend time helping their children develop.
2. Just Enough Attention.
I'm not a parent myself, but I worked with a lot of children in the past and also spent some time with their parents. Not to mention all that I've seen over the years simply being my curious, observing self. Some parents smother their children, making their children reliant upon them and not the smallest bit independent.
Then you have the parents who are either too busy or too careless to give their children attention; failing to guide them and to be parents. Parenting seems to be a balancing act. You balance your personal time with the time needed to maintain a healthy mother/father/son/daughter relationship.
3. Financial Support.
Parents should support their children until they can support themselves. Not even until the can barely support themselves, but until they can comfortably support themselves. A parent does need to keep his or her kids stay motivated and focused, but there are other ways of motivating them other than by starving them.
If the most important step in your child's life is to find a well-paying job, then maybe cutting him or her off will give them the push they need. But it could also hurt him or her more than do good. Sometimes people seem lazy when, in fact, they are simply unlucky. Some things you do need to wait for. Push your kids out of the nest too early, and they may just fall on their face.
Children need love growing up. It's not about making them feel special or coddling them. It's about teaching them the importance of love, teaching them how interpersonal relationships are supposed to work.
I don't know why people think knowing how to love is innate in all of us. It's not. It may be a natural thing, but it's still something we need to learn how to do properly. If parents don't have strong relationships with their children, it may be harder for them to have any strong relationships throughout life.
Respect is not only for your elders; it's also the other way around. In fact, it's every way around. Each individual should have respect for every other individual. Demanding respect because you are a parent tells your child that you ought to be respected because you are his or her parent, meaning that those who aren't parents don't necessarily need to be respected.
The only way to teach respect is to be respectful. That goes for the way you speak to your kids and the way you treat them, to respecting their privacy, or at least not letting them find out you went through their things. Sometimes you have to snoop to make sure they aren't doing something dangerous.
6. Clear Guidance And Good Advice.
If your parents didn't guide you or give you good advice growing up, then they didn't do the best job they could. There is no excuse for not talking to your children and having a trusting relationship. If you have a clear, open line of communication, just don't give your child bad advice. There's really nothing more to it.
7. All The Things They Taught You.
Parents were the teachers before teachers were teachers. Once we invented schools, it seems that parents decided to wipe their hands clean of being their child's instructor. There are always things you can teach your child. Even if he or she is already studying in school, help your child learn more. In fact, you may be your child's only hope.
The American school system is horrid. I wish I would have been studying physics in third grade. Teach your children early on and they'll learn to love learning. If they love to learn, they can't fail in life. Mission accomplished.
8. Be There For You When You Needed Them.
Having parents who support you, listen to you and who are there for you when the going gets tough in every form of the meaning, is something that is truly priceless. The family bond can be extremely powerful if worked on from the beginning and continuously nurtured. It's the ideal support team for when life becomes too much for you.
Parents should be friends. We should be able to talk with them and share. The idea that parents and children can't understand each other, let alone speak to each other, seems insane to me. Having loving parents who care for you and continue to care for you your entire life is truly something to be thankful for.
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