Kids are a valuable gift that parents receive from the universe. Having an overwhelming sense of responsibility when holding that tiny human being in your hands for the very first time, is something every parent feels. Like most people in your shoes, worrying every step of the way is a part of the process. You’re afraid of making mistakes and messing up the future of this little being. Responsible parenting is recognizing the significance of the duty and doing your best to do a great job. If you’re concerned about where to begin, rely on the guidance of the elders of the community. And, most of all, like the pastors at Grace Church Houston advise, believe in the will of the Almighty presence who watches over us all.
Here are some of the most important lessons that lay the foundation of responsible parenting. Use these guidelines as a good starting point and leave the rest to nature. After all, you HAVE been programmed to love and protect your kids.
Teach by Example Not Directions
One of the first things that all parents learn early on is that the best way to teach kids how to do anything is to do it yourself just as this article explains on The Medium. Mom and Dad are the superheroes in kids’ lives and they will emulate you closely. Telling children how to speak, act, and behave is not as effective as showing them. Be polite to one another at home, use words like, “Please” and “Thank You” and that’s exactly what the kids will do. Each time you pick up trash or segregate recycling is a lesson in how it’s done. Similarly, children learn to show appreciation for the meals they receive when you pray with them at dinner time. And, they learn compassion when you help a sick neighbor in the community.
Ingrain Principles and Values
Principles, good values, hard work, and honest, upright living are the cornerstones of a civilized world. Responsible parenting is all about ingraining these qualities in your kids. Each time you own up to a mistake, pay for everything you buy at the grocery store, and work hard, it’s an example of what life is all about. Children slip up all the time, but the trick is to talk about where they went wrong and encourage them to do what is right. Saying “I’m sorry” and regretting errors is an important part of following the right path. You’ll teach kids the importance of taking responsibility and striving to be a better person.
Encourage Open Conversations
Kids are naturally curious about the world around them. And, they learn about their surroundings by asking questions. Your job is to answer those questions with the most accurate answers possible. You may also find that responsible parenting is not exactly easy and often times, it’s hard to come up with reasonable explanations for every little thing kids come across. Use every opportunity to encourage learning and widen their thought processes. You don’t have to know answers for everything, but a simple response like, “You know what? Let’s find out!” stimulates the child’s imagination. This is also a good time to talk about faith, religion, where we come from, and being accountable for our actions. Like this article on KidsHealth explains, when you welcome opinions, you help develop the confidence to talk about thoughts and doubts.
Applaud, Not Criticize
Telling kids that they went wrong is essential, but how you go about it and the words used can make a huge difference. Responsible parenting is identifying good behavior in a positive way. At the same time, you’ll talk about how bad behavior can be modified. Choose words like, “I love that you tried to score a goal in soccer today. But, you know, buddy, pushing Aaron was not nice. We do not do anything that can hurt our friends. That is not what good people do. Could you please try to help him score a goal also?” Be very serious about reprimands and when needed, issue punishments. Take care not to kill the child’s self-esteem and instead, focus on how the children can understand what they did was not right. Useful tools include time-outs so kids have the time to think about their actions. You can also use restricting TV time or taking away a favorite toy for a few hours.
Create a Secure Environment with Discipline
Check out this article on the VeryWell magazine that talks about four different responsible parenting styles. While laying down rules and enforcing them is important, you may also want to discuss your decisions with the children. For instance, tell them why curfews, homework times, and bedtimes must be followed. Enforcing discipline gives kids stability and security. At the same time, let your kids make decisions on their own. Be open to ideas on how kids can accomplish goals and when you make rules, be kind and considerate of the child’s feelings.
Be There for Your Children
Of all the different rules about being a responsible parent, supporting your kids is by far, the most important. Being a child and growing up is a process full of challenges. You can help your children navigate their journey by laying a strong foundation. Stand beside every achievement by recognizing and celebrating it. And, each time your child faces disappointment, be there to listen and create confidence for the next time. Offer directions or simply, a sympathetic ear. Possibly, the best thing you can do is just – show up.
To sum up the role of responsible parenting – love your kids unconditionally. The rest will simply follow through. Trust in your instincts as a parent, the power of prayer and righteous living. Always do what is best for the future of your kids even if that means being the bad guy. Someday, your children will be thankful for the lessons they learned all through their childhood. Years down the line, when you see the successful adults you raised, it will be worth every minute.