In my last post, I wrote about some of my feelings and fears in my early years of parenting.
Even though my children are grown and on their own, I have 5 grandchildren and still spend a lot of time thinking about and reading about parenting. Here are some additional thoughts about some things to consider in your parenting:
1. It is important to be clear about your own beliefs about parenting and life in general. Without knowing these things about yourself, it is difficult, if not impossible, to pass these values on to your children. If helping others is an important value to you, take your children along to clean up a park, pass out food at a homeless kitchen, help them to look and see what is wanted and needed in the world around them. Are there children in their class who need a friend?
If self-sufficiency is something you would like to pass on to your children, why not open an allowance account for them, at a bank if they are old enough and, at home, if they are not. You can also use this as a way of teaching about money and goal setting. Children are never too young to learn that they can save for something they want instead of always assuming Mom or Dad or grandparents will buy it for them.
If staying fit and healthy is one of your priorities, have the children join you in physical activities or meal planning. I have found the following books to be fun and full of great ideas: 101 Things for Kids to Do Outside by Dawn Isaac; Muddy Boots – Outdoor Activities for Children by Liza Gardner Walsh (I particularly love this book); and The Kid’s Nature Book: 365 Indoor/Outdoor Activities and Experiences by Susan Milford. Older children might be interested in scouting. There are also great children’s cookbooks.
children feel safer if there are some parameters within which to operate…
2. Setting boundaries (do NOT read “rules”) is an important part of parenting. It has been widely written that children feel safer if there are some parameters within which to operate. They do not want to be in charge as that is often scary. Obviously, it is also a child’s job to progressively stretch those boundaries, so boundaries should be revisited often and as the children get older, they should be involved in creating these boundaries. They are much more likely to abide by boundaries they had a part in creating. Still, the parent must always maintain the veto power.
3. Giving children age-appropriate chores teaches them both independence and inter-dependence. They can learn how valuable their actions are to the family unit and the self-satisfaction of a job well done. Being responsible and performing their chores with integrity is invaluable in learning who they are.
They may even wonder when you will stop loving them…
4. Keep in mind that your children see themselves as half you and half the other parent. All children also want to know that they came from love. Speaking badly of the other parent or that parent’s family or friends may cause your child to wonder if you feel the same about them, even sometimes. After all, they are one half of that person and when you say you dislike this or that in the other parent, just imagine how far they can take that thread and what judgments they may make about themselves and your opinion of them. They may even wonder when you will stop loving them as you appear to have done with the other parent. Regardless of whether or not you are still with the other parent, you should assist your child in remembering important events for the other parent, like birthdays, Father’s day or Mother’s day.
For more Co-parenting Into The Future
Jolene Wilson-Glah is a now retired lawyer licensed in Texas, Pennsylvania, the US Virgin Islands and in the US Supreme Court. She is also a trained mediator and an arbitrator trained by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Her more than 30 years of practice has been concentrated in family law, most particularly issues of parenting and custody. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Jolene was an elementary school teacher and a mediator, both of which speak to her commitment to children and their families.
In her practice, Jolene represented both mothers and fathers and also children, tried hundreds of cases and mediated and settled even more. She has been involved with clients and children in custody cases in Holland, Norway, Kenya, Pakistan, China, Venezuela, Columbia, Israel and Greece. Her commitment to finding creative and effective solutions to parenting issues following divorce led her to her involvement in “Co-parenting into the Future”.