I am the proud mother of the beautiful kids pictured above. My daughter will graduate from high school in May and my son will be driving in August. Where did the time go? Everyone cautioned me to savor every moment for it will be over before you blink. Wow, they were right.
During the past 18 years I have learned a few things about parenting. I am not an expert by any means, however I have learned a few lessons the hard way. When your first bundle of joy comes into the world it is difficult to comprehend what a big job lies ahead of you. A job that you must be available for 24/7.
So without further ado, here are the top 5 lessons I have learned.
1. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
On my son’s first day of Preschool, my son dumped a bucket of sand on top of another child’s head. His teacher told me after school and I nearly had cardiac arrest. I spent the next few days thinking that my son would end up in prison someday. He is almost 16 now and he has developed into a wonderful young man. During the childhood years there are many peaks and valleys. At the end of the day, all that matters is that your child is safe and knows how much you love him.
2. Embrace the Child God Created
Often times we confuse our own expectations with what is best for our children. My daughter is very head strong and does not like being told what to do. When she was little I often dreamed of having a passive child who took direction easily. My son is very creative and loves staying at home and building models, making movies etc. I love that he is so artistic but I worried he would never have any friends. Now, at almost 16, he has a lot of friends and is very social. What I have learned is that you have to embrace your child’s personality and nurture God’s unique gifts he has given them. I now understand that my daughter’s strong will is one of her greatest strengths. I never worry about anyone taking advantage of her and know she can handle herself in any situation.
3. Don’t Compare Your Children to Other Children
Nothing can rob the joy of parenting quicker than comparison. There will always be smarter, more athletic children than your own. So what! God gave your children special gifts and talents so that they can fulfill God’s specific purpose he had laid out for them. My mother has always reminded me that God had planned my children’s lives before they were born. It was my job to love, nurture and guide my children.
4. Praise More, Criticize Less
It is so easy to fall into the pattern of always criticizing our children. As parents, we are always trying to teach our children. Sometimes the easiest way to teach is to tell them what not to do. How happy are your children going to be when all they hear are negative words? After 18 years I still find myself falling into this trap. Whenever I choose to praise rather than be negative, I find my children behave better.
5. Manners are Important
I think an education and manners are the two greatest gifts you can give your children. The compliment I receive the most about my children is how mannerly they are. Nothing makes me more proud or gives me greater joy. Granted, my kids aren’t perfect and I am certain they slip up on occasions. What I love most is that beautiful, gracious manners will set your children apart from all the others and prepare them for a world where manners will open many doors for them throughout their lives. A simple please or thank you can be the difference between excellence and mediocrity.
If you are starting a family, I hope you can use some of this information. It has taken me 18 years to decipher what really matters and I am still learning. For those of you who have raised your children, I would love to hear your top lessons learned from parenting. There is no doubt that there is no job more demanding or more rewarding.
Leslie Hendrix Wood
Thank you very much, I appreciate your time ~
~ Have a blessed weekend ~
Gracious Living. Timeless Design. Family Traditions.