Here are 30 of the most important lessons I have learnt as a parent.
They are not in any particular order & they are not an immediate recipe for success.
They are from the lessons I’ve learned, in my situation, through making plenty of mistakes & learning along the winding road that is parenthood. It’s hard work requiring time & commitment; none of us are really prepared for what we take on when we start our parent journey.
And if you’re not a parent, many of these are also a good foundation for any relationship we develop 🙂
- There is no single instruction manual for being a parent in your particular situation
- Listen to & learn from others about their experience but don’t slavishly do the same as them; your situation is not the same
- Quality Time is a myth created by adults. Children want time, time, time with their parents
- Tell your children how much YOU love THEM; they can’t osmose this information & rarely assume it
- Tell your children how valued they are as individuals & not just because they’re good at maths, sport or whatever
- Set your children an example. Easier said than done but very powerful; most want to be ‘like you’
- Realise children are a gift; you don’t deserve them & they didn’t ask to be here
- Recognise that you make mistakes & apologise to your children when they are victims of your ignorance or stupidity 🙂
- Set yourself reasonable targets that can be achieved
- Never underestimate the power & value of friends to whom you can talk & with whom you can share concerns, experiences etc
- You will make mistakes
- Avoid undermining the confidence of your children: be careful with what you say & HOW you say it. Words can be killers
- Demonstrate physical affection: hugs & kisses work wonders in children of all ages (& I include adults here too)
- If your child has taken the time to make something, or do something for you, or to tell you about their achievement, listen, respect & praise them. Too many of us grow up missing the value & liberation of praising others. They also feel valued
- Remember, when the shit hits the fan, there is a way through; it’s just not always immediately visible or evident
- Always show gratitude when receiving presents from your children, no matter how small they are
- The amount of love & attention you show your children is far more valuable than the price tag on a gift you buy them
- Always leave the door open for them to come to you, even when the going is tough
- Sometimes saying nothing is far more valuable than giving your opinion
- Children are for life, not just whilst they’re babies or toddlers. As a parent we have a massive influence on the adults they grow into, even if we go through the fires & hard times to get there
- You don’t know everything
- Love is spelt T-I-M-E
- Be yourself & be comfortable with that. We cannot be anyone else, no matter how much we may wish. But as such, we are ideally equipped for our own situation 🙂
- Learn the art of being a good listener: We have two ears & 1 mouth; use them in that proportion.
- We can learn as much from our children as they can learn from us
- Sorry is often the glue that bonds you to your children
- Take time to make your children feel special: as they get older, take them out for a meal or a walk or a ride
- Take an interest in your child’s activities: you may not be able to do the same or fully understand it, but you can add to their sense of achievement
- Our children do make mistakes, even if that comes as a surprise 🙂
- You will always be their mum or dad but value that, don’t abuse it. As children grow older they also start making their own decisions & it can be so much harder to help if you have no close relationship with them.
Be encouraged; we all carry L-Plates for our time as a parent & I believe, as friends!
Until next time …