Do you want to improve your relationship with your children? Do you wish for more closeness, honesty, laughter, and affection? Good parenting strikes a balance between authority and attachment. Sometimes, though, it isn’t always clear how to achieve this. This article will give you 14 inspiring ways to love your children and help them develop their unique selves.
1. Allow them to express their individuality.
As a parent, it’s natural to want to impose certain ways of behavior and preferences on your children. You want them to be successful in the world, and your experiences have given you some ideas of what your children should be like in order to achieve success. However, your guidance should take your children’s characteristics into account. With love and creativity, you can help them adapt their uniqueness to the requirements of their lives.
Also read: 18 Simple Ways to Love Your Family
2. Allow them to experience loss and failure.
Letting your children experience pain is one of the hardest tasks of being a parent. You want to shield them from everything that could hurt them, and make sure that they always win and succeed at everything they try. But doing so would keep them from learning who they are and what they are capable of. Your role as a parent is to be there for them, and let them know that it’s okay to fail, and they can always try again.
3. Teach your children to nurture others.
Even young children can be taught how to care for plants or pets. Older children can take care of younger siblings. When you’ve considered your children’s capacity and given them tasks that are appropriate for their age, the practice of nurturing others will foster a sense of value in your children. They will learn that they have the power to help others grow and thrive.
4. Allow them to earn material things.
Giving your children everything that they ask for not only leads to an attitude of entitlement but also deprives them of the chance to experience the satisfaction from working for the things they want. Whether it’s books, clothes, toys, or gadgets, your children will cherish and enjoy their possessions much more with the certainty that they truly earned them.
5. Teach them to take responsibility for themselves.
This seems like an obvious concept, but it’s not so easy to maintain this lesson when you’re watching your child struggle with a simple task that you could easily do for them. Loving your children means providing guidance and instruction while allowing them to develop their skills and resilience. This will give your children the self-assurance that they can stand alone and take care of themselves in the years to come.
6. Don’t make excuses for them.
When your child has done something wrong, especially in front of others, the urge to defend them immediately is instinctual. You want to protect them, and you also want to assert that you are a good parent and that there are good reasons for your child’s behavior. However, your child will not benefit from being shielded from the consequences of their mistakes. Let your child know when they’ve done something wrong, and what they can do to make amends.
7. Praise in public, and criticize in private.
Although it’s important to demand accountability from your children, you need to do so in a way that remains respectful and loving. Save the discussion for when you can be alone with your child. On the other hand, praising your child in front of others is a wonderful way to make them feel loved and valued.
8. Forgive them for their mistakes.
Sometimes, parents think that they’ve forgiven their children for past mistakes, yet they keep bringing them up in future conversations. This tendency is something that you have to be aware of. When your child has apologized for a mistake and made the necessary reparations, it is unfair to keep holding it against them.
9. Admit when you’re wrong, and ask for their forgiveness.
Parents also make mistakes. It may seem unnecessary to ask for your children’s forgiveness – after all, you’re the parent. It’s actually rare to find parents who make it a point to seriously ask their children’s forgiveness when they’ve made a mistake. It feels like showing weakness and allowing your children the opportunity to question your authority. But admitting your mistakes shows your children that you do not pretend to be perfect and that their feelings are important enough for you to apologize when you’ve hurt them.
10. Be open about your feelings – when it’s appropriate.
Although it’s important to be honest, not everything should be shared with your children. When they’re very young, issues like financial problems or difficulties in your marriage are too complex for them to understand and will give them anxiety because of their inability to help the situation. Part of loving your children is discerning which burdens they are capable of bearing, and which ones you have to bear for them.
11. Say no when you have to.
For some parents, asserting authority is difficult because it feels like they’re denying their children’s happiness. It’s easier to do this when you keep in mind that you want to assure your children’s long-term happiness by helping them make the right choices now, even if it denies their short-term pleasure.
12. Maintain your separateness from your children.
You were a whole, self-sufficient person before you had your children, and you still are. Your children are so much a part of you that it can feel like they are your whole world. You may have neglected many of your interests and relationships in order to take care of your children. For most parents, this is necessary in order to fulfill their obligations. However, as your children become more independent, you will have more opportunities to return to the things that were important to you before you had your children. Even before then, you can take time for yourself whenever possible to rest and recharge.
13. Have a realistic view of the world.
Many parents tend to have an overly optimistic view of the world – raising their children as if circumstances will always be favorable to them, and people will always be nice to them. On the other hand, many also have an overly pessimistic view of the world. They seek to control and protect their children, and their approach to parenting is defined by fear. A realistic view sees the world as it is: with pain and cruelty present, but also the God-given virtues of kindness and love. Teach your children to be aware of the evil that is in the world, so that they can learn to rise above it.
14. Remember that you are never alone.
Bringing life into the world and continuing to love and care for it is a truly virtuous calling. Loving parents have God by their side every day, guiding their choices and giving them strength. There will be moments of parenthood that are dark and painful, but trust and faith in God will carry you through them and help you love your children in the best way that you can.
A good parent isn’t perfect – a good parent is loving. Your children will inspire you, make you angry, make you laugh, make you cry, and everything in between. Through it all, your love will keep them close to you.
Also read: 20 Great Ways to Love Your Parents