I was far from a perfect parent but I know the secret to raising good kids. I’ve almost finished raising four daughters who have all have or are turning out great. I have made huge mistakes. I have failed on many occasions, but the truth is, baring a mental illness, or other developmental issue these tips work and it’s not even hard to do.
I am happy to say that my last two children have experienced it first hand and yes, they are better behaved than the first two. Sorry girls, but it is true and you know it. I write this in the first person because I want you all to know that I have experience, that I have been there, and I want you to learn from my mistakes over almost 24 years of raising my four daughters.
There are only three things you must do. The details are truly up to you. You have to ignore all the well meaning friends and family to do it. Next, you have to realize that you’re not going to be perfect at it, the point is you strive for it and the kids know it.
The three tips to raising good kids:
1) Behave – You can’t behave poorly and expect your children to do anything more than you do. If you touch things in the store, if you have “moods”, if you hit, if you yell, if you can’t admit you’re wrong, if you don’t say, “I am sorry”, if you aren’t kind, if you do not share, if you break things, (I could go on and on) — guess what, your kids will be just like you!
The old “do as I say, not as I do” model just does not work. Remember that every person in prison claims to have been spanked, obviously it does not work. And we all know the definition of continuing to do things that do not work, right? Yes, insanity! So, if you’re not insane, try something new. Be an example.
2) Praise – If you want good kids you have to catch them being good and give them a lot of praise. Nothing over the top, but notice that they shared, notice that they are clean, notice that they are smart, notice any behavior you want to encourage and they will do more of it.
The opposite of this is to ignore bad behavior, but that is not what the above says. It says to catch the child being good, and praise him or her. Do this as often as possible. As to bad behavior, determine the severity of the crime and act accordingly without doing any of the “bad behavior” listed in number one.
3) Consistency – Try to be as consistent as you can in whatever methods you choose. The children should know what to expect. If you are wishy-washy you can’t blame them, because we all bend the system to meet our needs and desires, why would they be any different?
You can be consistent without being cruel. If you decide consequences in advance and let the children know what those consequences are, or allow the child to work with you on consequences you’ll find that you rarely have to implement them. But if you make a consequence, stick to it, so think them through before announcing them. Knowing what to expect is half the solution in any problem.
That’s it, there, you have it. The three tips or secrets to raising good kids. They work. If you are lucky enough to have read this prior to having children share the article with your significant other because it is imperative that both parents are on the same page.
No matter what, remember, this time of child raising is fleeting. It is a very small part of your life and you really do only get one chance with each child to do it right. One other thing that I heard once, and do not know where I heard it, but I have been saying it for 20 years.
Remember: “You are raising adults, not children, act accordingly.”