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The J Spotter

Personal insights from the J Spot author J. Angelo Racoma
( this site has moved to http://jangelo.racoma.net )

The J Spotter » Advice from Experienced Parent Leaders

Advice from Experienced Parent Leaders

Got this browsing around the web. I guess being a new parent (of a one year and two-month old girl), I should consider these tips.


Points of the Compass: Advice from Experienced Parent Leaders If you asked successful parent-leaders what standards they've tried to live by, and what they'd pass on as helpful advice to younger parents, this is what they would say....

(1) Don't look for recipes or formulas for raising children; there are none. And don't expect perfection from your spouse, your children, or yourself. Instead, set a realistic ideal for your children as adults, and then strive to work with your spouse in unified parental leadership. Ask each other from time to time: "What do you need from me to be more effective, to feel more lovingly supported, and to have greater peace of mind?"

(2) Be confident of your rightful authority, and insist that your children respect it.

(3) Remind yourself often: you're raising adults, not children.

(4) Give your children time, not money.

(5) When you think of your children's futures, picture their character, not just their careers.

(6) Teach the great character strengths as the points of your compass: sound judgment, a sense of responsibility, courageous perseverance, self-mastery, faith, hope, and charity.

(7) Teach your children the four great pillars of civilized dealings with others: "please," "thank you," "I'm sorry," and "I give my word...."

(8) Remember, the whole of moral development means moving from self to others. Your c hildren will not grow up when they can take care of themselves; they will grow up only when they can take care of others, and want to.

(9) Teach them what real love means: sacrifice--including risk-taking--for the welfare of others.

(10) Raise your children to be producers, not just consumers. Let them put their powers up against problems to solve them, and thus grow in self-confidence. We humans are born to serve, not to shop. Show them that real happiness comes from doing good, not feeling good.

(11) Direct, but don't manage, your older children's work; don't do their work for them unless and until they've tried their best. Push for personal best effort, not just results.

(12) Make your children wait for something they want, and if possible make them earn it.

(13) Make your kids feel needed and appreciated; make praise as specific as blame.

(14) Teach your children the meaning of the word "integrity." Integrity means unity of intention, word, and action--that we mean what we say, we say what we mean, and we keep our word.

(15) Trust their integrity, even if you must sometimes mistrust their judgment.

(16) Show them how to recognize materialism when they see it, and to shun it. Materialism is not merely the pursuit of things. It means putting things ahead of people. It leads to seeing and treating other people as things.

(17) Keep the media--your rivals--under your discerning control. Permit nothing in your home that offends God, undermines your lessons of right and wrong, and treats other people as mere objects.

(18) Lead them to practice charity. Charity does not mean giving away old clothes; it means mostly compassionate understanding. In family life, insist on apologies and forgiveness. Make your kids let others off the hook, forgive and forget.

(19) When you comment about people outside the family, especially in public life (in government or the media), give example of charity. Distinguish between the individuals and their faults, even grievous m oral flaws. We strive to "hate the sin but love the sinner." That is, we deplore people's wrongdoing but bear them no personal ill will.

(20) Lead kids to learn from their own mistakes and the mistakes of others.

(21) Lead them to be savvy about people's values--that is, people's priorities in life.

(22) Use literature, t.v., and movies to teach about people's ideals, achievements, and mistakes.

(23) Teach your children to manage time--that is, to control themselves.

(24) Teach them courtesy and "class": to have eyes for the needs of those around them.

(25) Cultivate family honor, the spirit of "We..."

(26) Let your kids know what's expected of them. Make standards and consequences clear.

(27) Listen to your children. That's listen, not obey. Let kids contribute "input" to family life--but in weighty issues, you make the decisions.

(28) Where appropriate, give your children "loving denial"--for "no" is as much a loving word as "yes." If kids don't hear "no" from their parents, they cannot say "no" to themselves. The power of self-control is built from the outside in.

(29) Practice "affectionate assertiveness" in disciplining your children. Correct the fault, not the person; hate the sin, love the sinner. Show your children you love them too much to let them grow up with their faults uncorrected.

(30) Treat punishment as "memorable correction"--action needed now to avert later troubles and sorrow.

(31) Take corrective action without showing disrespect. Respect your children's rights as people.

(32) Explain, but don't argue.

(33) Don't let your ego come ahead of truth or justice; when you've done wrong or gone too far, apologize.

( 34) Don't let them infringe on the rights of others. Remember, the way they treat their s iblings is an apprenticeship for the way they'll treat spouse, children, colleagues, and others in their lives.

(35) Appeal to the children's sense of fairness and capacity to forgive. Make them apologize, and accept apologies.

(36) Make dinner a sacred time: no arguing or squabbling. Start dinner with a prayer.

(37) Encourage a reasonable level of athletic involvement; use athletics to teach sportsmanship and exerting best effort as well as staying in shape. But put first things first. Don't let organized
sports and outside activities conflict with dinnertime or otherwise wreak havoc in family life. Frantic running around steals time and peace of mind. Sports should energize family members, not exhaust them. If you sense that things are getting out of hand, cut back.

(38) Remind yourself: Busyness is not a virtue. Kids (like adults) occasionally need silence and time to think. They need stretches of time to chat and play and daydream together with brothers and sisters--to know and love each other better as they grow up together.

(39) Don't let them drive a car until they've really grown up. See maturity as growth in responsibility--that is, active concern for the rights and feelings of others.

(40) Teach them indifference to being "different."

(41) Teach them that beer is not a kind of soft drink with a buzz. Alcohol is a drug, drunkenness is a grave sin, and intemperance often leads to other grave sins, even tragedies.

(42) Teach kids to cope with reasonable adversity, not to escape.

(43) Lead your children to treat the opposite sex with respect.

(44) Have faith in later results; see your sacrifices as investment.

(45) Keep your priorities straight: when you're vexed with a problem, ask yourself: "How important will this be a year from now, five years from now, or even next month?"

(46) Beware the temptation to fret overmuch about your children's flaws and shortcomings. Since children's defects and backsliding are so annoying, they cause us to exaggerate and overreact, that is, to stress the negative. So, take time occasionally to appreciate what's good in your children, the qualities they were born with and the virtues you see growing inside them. Remember, people's greatest need, at all ages, is to be appreciated.

( 47) Be affectionate with your children. Do this frequently and on p urpose. Listen with your eyes. Make the time to have fun with them; let them see how much you enjoy just being with them. When they're teens, actively seek out chances to talk and laugh with them as "best friends"--late-night talk sessions, lingering over dinner, swapping jokes and reminiscences, going to games and shows with them. All their lives, your children's hearts will return home, to the place where they knew affection.

(48) Remember that your children may forget most of the details of what you teach them, but they will remember what was important to you. For most of us, the lifelong voice of conscience is the voice of our parents--God speaking to us through the memory of what our parents lovingly taught us.

(49) When your children leave home for college or work, tell them: Don't forget that God is watching over you with love, as He has since your childhood. Do not offend Him, and do nothing that would betray what you learned in our family. We will pray for you every day. Remember that God commands all of us, "Honor your father and mother." And the way we honor our parents is this: we adopt their values as our own, live by them all our lives, and then pass them on to our own children as our family's sacred heritage.

(50) Treat your children the way God treats all of us: with high standards, loving protection, great hopes for the future, affectionate understanding, readiness to forgive, and never-failing

Permission is hereby granted to reproduce this material for private use. It is taken from the Website of James B. Stenson, educational consultant: ParentLeadership.com.
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