- Be clear on the desired outcome
The truth is, you—as the parent—teach your child how they can and can’t treat you and others, and what is acceptable behavior. Although you can’t control them like a puppet, your goal is to train and help them grow into a mature, responsible adult with strong character traits.
- Be kind
Being kind to your child will model for them how to treat others in a way that is loving, not demanding or demeaning. There will be plenty of frustrating and trying times as you are raising your child. When you feel like you are at your wits end, give yourself a time out. Ask for help in the struggle.
- Stop enabling
Do you finish school projects or assignments for your child because they struggle with procrastination? You may think rescuing your son or daughter from a problem is going to help them. But in doing so, you’re hurting them. Instead, teach them responsibility. Don’t do anything for them that they can do for themselves-including homework. You are helping them grow into an adult, and they will definitely have responsibilities then!
- Establish limits
Kids will always push the boundaries, and many times they rebel against the limits. Parenting isn’t a popularity contest, and your kids won’t always like your limits. You are helping them learn invaluable lessons in order for them to mature into adulthood. Good boundaries can make for great relationships.
- Don’t overpraise
We all want our kids to feel confident. But kids often doubt when adults give them praise-they perceive it as false. In fact, kids often view false praise as a sign they’ve failed. Don’t say, “You’re the smartest kid in class.” A better way to put it is to respond: “You got 100 percent on your math test—way to go!”
- Model financial responsibility
Let’s face it: Our children model what they see. Set an example by living within your means and being grateful for what you do have. Perhaps, give your child an allowance for doing age-appropriate chores. Teach them to do all of their chores and with excellence. Teach them to save some of their money, as well as give some to a church or charity.
- Promote independence
Don’t interfere with problems your child can work out on his or her own. Does your son think he’s received the wrong grade for a project at school? If so, let him talk to the teacher about it. Did your daughter order a hamburger at a restaurant but they brought her chicken tenders instead? Have her politely explain to the waiter what was wrong with her order. By teaching your child how to deal with their own problems, and asking for help when it is more than they can handle, you are encouraging them in their independence and character building.
- Don’t accept excuses
Without a doubt, kids make excuses. A lot. For example, you might ask: “Why didn’t you do your homework?” He or she may say, “I forgot my book at school and my teacher wouldn’t let me go back to get it.” A good way to respond would be: “We’re not talking about whose fault it is. We’re talking about whose responsibility it is.” But avoid getting into an argument with them. Focus on them accepting responsibility for their actions. Ask them how the situation could have worked better. This is also character building and has lifelong impact.
- Reinforce consequences
Kids will make poor choices-it’s called growing up. Allow natural consequences to occur. If they make a poor choice, the consequences will help teach them more than you lecturing them. Many times it is painful as parents to watch our kids face consequences. Recognize the temporary consequence could prevent a lifetime of misery for both you and your child.
- Value Commitments
When we keep our commitments we become trustworthy. Help your kids understand that when they sign up for a team or tell a friend, or you, they will do something, they need to keep the commitment. It will help them develop good decision making skills, good relationship building skills, and overall character.