A child's mind develops and learns many things as he or she grows. And what that child learns will affect him or her for the rest of their lives! I would like to talk to you about a thing called "patterns". But first, I want to give you some very important points on how to help them grow to be the best that they can be.
- The first is love. Your love for your children should be unconditional and shown to them everyday. Praise them every time you can. If they bring home a paper from school that they colored, and it is all scribbles, let them know that it is the most beautiful picture in the world! Not only tell them, but show them, too, by hanging it up somewhere important. Anytime your child comes to you with a kiss or hug, always take the time to give one back. When you take the time to give love to your children, that is how you teach them to love!
- The second is respect. Teach your children to have respect for themselves and others. Teach them to be polite and they will grow up to be polite. Teach them to respect the elderly. Teach them to say, "I'm sorry" if they do something that they shouldn't have. This will teach them to have respect for others. You need to set an example for your children. If you don't have and show respect and politeness to your children, they won't have respect or politeness for you or anyone else.
- The third is fun. Parents and children should have fun times together. It is important to take time out to go and have fun with them. It doesn't cost a lot to please a child. Going to a park, swimming in summer, sitting down to color a picture with them, or reading them a book will always make them happy. On holidays, let them help color eggs on Easter, and help decorate the tree and cookies on Christmas. Spending time having fun with your children will let them grow up to want to spend time with their children, and they will learn how to have fun in life.
- The fourth is responsibility. There are many ways to teach your children responsibility. For younger children, you can start by having them help you pick up their toys. For older children, they can have chores of cleaning their room weekly, or feeding a pet everyday. And when the chores are done, always make sure to praise them for doing a good job, and say, "Thank you". When you teach a child responsibility, he or she will learn to be responsible in his or her life, and will be a responsible person in the working field someday.
- The fifth is self-worth and morals. Always teach your children to care about themselves physically and emotionally. Physically, teach them to keep their teeth brushed, their hair combed, and to keep clean. When you are clean, you feel better about yourself and they will, too. Let them know how nice they look. Emotionally, always let your child know that he or she is a great, special, little person! Never degrade them for any reason, even if they do something you consider wrong. Degrading your children will only hurt their feelings, and lessen their self-worth. Terms such as dummy, stupid, crazy, and ugly will never teach them self-worth. Teach them to have good morals, too. Teach them the good reasoning behind not doing drugs, not drinking, and not smoking. Teach them that their body is their body and no one should touch them in a bad way. And let them know that if someone does, to never be afraid to tell Mom and Dad.
- The sixth is communication. Besides love, communication is one of the most important things to have with your children. The tone of your voice, and the words that you use in talking to your child is important. Always do your best in communicating with your child even when they do something wrong. A parent who only yells when a child does wrong, will never be able to teach a child anything beneficial. Keep the communication open, honest, and let them know they can always come to you to talk about anything. Good communication teaches children to communicate well when they get older with other people and with their own children.
Now, no matter how much you do to raise your children, children are children, and we can't expect them to behave well all the time. They will have their good days and bad. And when they have their bad days, there are wrong punishments and productive punishments. First, you always want to explain to any child what he or she did wrong and why it was wrong. Depending on the age of the child, a small child does well being sat in a time-out chair for a few minutes. For an older child, not letting them watch television for an hour will work. For even older children, grounding them from something they like or from going somewhere they want to works.
Punishments that are never productive are calling your children degrading names, screaming for hours, punching them, hitting them, slapping them in inappropriate places, or any other kind of abuse. These kinds of punishment and abuse only hurt children emotionally and physically, and will never teach your children anything. As a matter of fact, they will deter their learning! If you want to raise your children to be well-adjusted adults when they get older, don't ever abuse them in any way.
Now, I would like to talk to you about the "patterns" I mentioned earlier in this article. What are patterns? Patterns are inherited from parents to children in the way they raise their children. For an example, if a father is an alcoholic and raises a son, in 90% of cases, the son will pick up that drinking pattern and will be an alcoholic, too. Only 10% will not. It has been discovered awhile back that alcoholism may be inherited through the blood in a family's genes also.
If a father abuses his children physically and mentally, then in 90% of cases, his son will abuse his own children that way. Ten percent may not. If a husband abuses his wife mentally and physically, there will be a 90% chance that the son will also abuse his girlfriend or wife in that manner. Ten percent may not. If a mother abuses her daughter physically and mentally, or is an alcoholic, then 90% of female children will, too. Ten percent may not. If a son grows up hating his mother, in some cases he will grow up hating women. It has been found that some rapists and murderers who hurt or murdered women were done by men who hate women. If a daughter grows up with an abusive dad, then she could grow up to date and marry a guy who abuses her. If children grow up being molested by one of their parents, in many cases, they grow up to molest their own children or others someday. Some have been known to become rapists. We have seen these situations in the news, and in non-fiction books. You probably have known of families that this has happened to and maybe never understood why. It is because of these "patterns".
In the families who live in these cycles of patterns, it only takes one person to stop the patterns. It only takes one person to say, "Hey, this isn't right! This is stopping now!" And when the cycle stops, children and adults alike can live very productive lives. That is why it is so very important that these cycles get stopped!
The greatest gift you can ever give your children is the gift of love, the gift of teaching them and raising them to have a good life in this world, and the chance to be able to live well-adjusted, productive lives.