When we became first time parents we all tried so hard to be perfect. Quite frankly, do you even know WHAT a perfect parent is? I mean show me the book that tells me how to parent my children. Yes I know there are so many great books out there that give usable advice, but perfect advice?!?!?! How in the world can there be one article out there to show you how to raise a child. I have 4 children, 3 boys and 1 girl. Sure you may tell me to raise boys this way and girls the other way. My boys are similar in sex, but very different in personality!!
1. Listen to Your Kids
Like I said I have 3 boys, but they are very different. So telling me that all boys are tough, like to wrestle around and cause chaos during the day, I might agree with you. BUT I have a very emotional son, a mommas boy and a tough exterior with a soft center son. So how can I possibly set one standard on raising a son by labeling them all the same?!?! YOU CAN’T! Thats why you have to listen. What do I mean by that? For example, my son with the tough exterior and soft center, he wants everyone to see how I just described him as. I want him to be confident, but with no arrogance. My emotional son is very timid and can be shy. I need him to do somewhat of the opposite of my other son. He doesn’t stick up for himself and I’m trying to show him to be confident and more proud of his accomplishments. This is why listening to your children is so important! They all have different needs, regardless of what sex they are. We need each one of them to let their unique personalities shine. Our uniqueness is what makes us all so great!
2. Let it go
This by far is my hardest task. Did you ever hear the saying, “a messy home is a happy family?” NO! I didn’t either. If you look at the meaning it is correct on some levels, but not all. With my OCD tendencies, I cannot stand a room filled with toys all over the floor for me to step on! But the meaning does have a point and I am trying to abide by it. It’s simply stating the fact that we should spend as much time together as we can. The laundry can wait and so can the dishes. Seriously though, who am I kidding? I know these are things that need to get done. So why not have your kids help you? Sure its not fun, but make it fun. Have a race on who can fold the most clothes (OMG they didn’t fold it the right way!). Load the dishwasher and give them a special treat for helping out. I know this might not go well for them, but the important thing is being with them not away from them! They don’t care what they are doing. Just as long as they are doing it with you! I have slowly learned this in the past 10 years.
3. Don’t Compare Yourself
I see my friends go to Disney with their family and dream of taking mine. I would be the coolest parent EVER!! I wish I were them and could do that. Do I really? No I don’t. You see my friends are great with their kids and are very fortunate to have these great vacations with their families. I mean, good for you! My kids would love to go to Disney, but for now we may go camping and fishing. With a family of 6, Disney just isn’t feasible for us at this time. Isn’t it all about being with family, anyway? Don’t worry that the mom at the bus stop is taking their family to Hawaii or your cousins are going on a cruise. Your kids want your time. Whatever you can or cannot afford does not matter to them! Whether you are able to see Mickey Mouse or sleep in a tent. What matters is that you are together.
4. Be a Parent
I get it! I want to be the cool mom that everyone loves to be around. The one who you can just hang out with and lets you do whatever you want. It’s almost as if I’m trying to stay young and be a kid again myself. Let me be honest, I act like a kid a lot!! I love to joke around and get crazy once in awhile………ok very often! let’s face it, we can have fun, but we need to parent.
What does that mean?
Still set rules, do chores, teach whats right and wrong, grow respectful individuals! These little people look up to you for advice and guidance. We need to be the adult in many situations. Sure I will admit, like above, I love/hope to be the cool mom. We can! We can have fun and get crazy, but know your role. I have seen parents fall into that trap of more friend than parent, that it sometimes bites them in the A#%! Parents letting their kids do whatever they want, will not teach self-discipline. Make sure you are there for your kids, let them know they can trust you. Just know your boundaries. Trust is huge in any relationship. I tell my kids that they can come to me with any problems they may be facing at that moment. When and if they want to share that with me, is their choice. It’s difficult to see them upset and you really want to know why? Giving them just a little space and time will allow them to open up to you, when ready. I will admit that this is very difficult for me to do!! It tears me up to keep quiet. I have learned from my experiences, they began to trust me more. It’s a different level of respect we have for one another. One that we will always cherish, as a Parent with a touch of friendship!
5. Stop the “Perfection!”
As I stated in the beginning, we fail at times because we try too hard to be “perfect.” No one is perfect! Sure I wish I could have the perfect car, perfect hair, but what is perfect? Our main goal as parents is to try and raise respectful and responsible individuals. We will not be “perfect” at this, but we are making a solid effort. Have a little faith in yourself. Being confident with our choices and lessons sets great examples to our children. When we make these solid efforts, it will show our kids how much we love them and want nothing but the best for them. The love that we provide will help them become more compassionate little humans. Wow! Compassionate children who love and respect one another?! Doesn’t that sound like a great idea for their future?!