My children are adults now, most with children of their own, so I can say that my daily parenting days are over. I can also tell you that of everything I’ve ever accomplished, raising and watching my four children grow into stable, content, fulfilled, responsible adults has been my greatest joy.
Parenting is not for wimps and it’s easy to make mistakes. I’m not saying I was a perfect parent but there are some things I did right that assisted in my children’s emotional health, security, and growth.
-Give your children your time. There is nothing more important to them than YOU. Children grow up fast and there’s nothing you can do to get time back. It’s important to show up at their musicals, their athletic events, and their Open House. The little things matter. I used to drive my children to elementary school and then go to work. That was my time alone to pray with them.
-Your children need to feel like they are loved unconditionally and without reservation. If you are too strict or put too many conditions on your love, they will feel like they are never good enough.
-Never give them the impression that their performance in school or in life is what causes you to love them more or less. If they think you love them only when they get A’s then they will feel threatened and abandoned if they blow-it and bring home a C.
-Discipline, but with love. Disciple means “teach.” Set boundaries then allow them to push through, in compromise, when it’s not that important. Of course, there are also rules of decency and family respect that are immovable.
The decisions you make today will help you leave a legacy of love, long after you are gone.