PARENTHOOD comes with a never-ending “to do” list. In fact, I could probably keep this Parenting column running indefinitely, just discussing the obligations and duties that come with the job.
But this week I’d like to keep it light. So I’ve used the word “PARENTHOOD” as an acronym for ten simple tips.
PRAY for your children.
Remembering to pray for your children is probably the most powerful tip of all. Allah is our Sustainer and we should turn to HIM for all things. Pray for their health, their happiness, their safety, their peace…I could go on indefinitely. Possibly the most profound is to be thankful in prayer for the privilege of having them.
ACCEPT them for who they are.
Your child is not a mini-you. They have their own personality, experiences, thoughts, and desires. You cannot live your own unfulfilled goals and dreams through them. Value and accept them for who they are and remember, too, that they are growing up in a different era than you.
RAISE them in a loving environment.
Within a loving home there is peace and tranquillity. Stable surroundings make for confident and successful people. Show your child kindness and love; for a child who is raised with these in the home is less vulnerable to the evils of the street.
Each of us has a unique set of skill and talent. Like us, our children also have their own interests and desires. Support your child with love and encouragement to fine tune their gifts and follow their dreams.
NOTICE their achievements.
Each day is full of achievements, big and small. An important step to positive parenting is focusing on the good things your child does along the way. Parents foster good behaviours by taking notice of them. In this way, they reinforce what is desirable of the child and that which is undesirable naturally diminishes as they seek your praise.
Perhaps a parents biggest responsibility is to educate their children. This includes providing a venue for their academic studies, be it formal school or lessons at home. But don’t forget to also teach by example. Some of the best lessons are those of love, mercy, and forgiveness.
HEAR them speak.
Truly stop and listen when your child speaks. Multitasking may be a great way to get things done, but it doesn’t apply to validating your children’s importance in your life. When a child feels heard at home, he feels respected, important, and loved. This can equally apply to your spouse!
OPEN your arms to them.
A child should feel welcomed and loved. Physical contact is an important aspect of intimate human relations. Babies and young children are especially in need of physical affection, such as cuddling and hugs. But don’t discount this need as the child grows. The amount of physical closeness will naturally wane as they mature, but even a teenager benefits from a parent’s embrace.
OFFER the world to them.
Don’t allow your personal experiences to limit your child. Many great people have come out of homes of ignorance and poverty. The future should be wide open for them and they should be offered the opportunity to explore their world and allowed to reach for the sky.
DISCIPLINE for the future.
Discipline should be aimed at training for the future. It is not about punishment or scolding. The ultimate goal should be self-discipline, with which the child can be trusted to make the right decisions for himself.
Each of these tips could be the focus of an entire post. In fact, some of them have been topics of previous articles in this Parenting column. Remember that parenting is unique to each child. There are no templates that can be universally applied to the task. But these ten tips surely apply to all.