In today’s post I would like to give a few quick tips for parenting. Now, let me be clear, I AM NOT A PERFECT PARENT. I can be selfish with my time, I don’t like doing the bedtime story every night, I have yelled at my kids, I am not perfect when it comes to parenting (or anything really). But I have noticed that when I apply these tips that parenting becomes easier. So, here are a few quick tips to add value to your family time.
Eat Together and Talk
At our house we try to eat as a family four to five times a week. Breakfast and lunch is hit or miss (especially during the school year). Over the past several weeks my son and I have been eating breakfast together outside on the picnic table – this has become a special time for us (usually talking about superheroes). Nevertheless, we make it a priority to have dinner together multiple times a week and we engage in conversation during the dinner (i.e. no smart devices at the table).
Take a Family Tech Sabbatical
We have not implemented this on a regular basis, but this summer I think we will start having alternating Saturday and Sunday sabbaticals for our tech (e.g. one week we will take Saturday off and the next week we will take Sunday off and continue weekly through the summer months). This will be difficult for EVERYONE in our house but I think it will help us to be more connected to each other IN REAL LIFE.
Do Your Job
I talk about this a lot with my coaching clients; and that is, when you are doing what you are suppose to do with your physical, mental, relational and spiritual health you will have more energy to do the things around the house that need to get done. What’s more you will have a better mental attitude about it. Dads, do your job at the office, factory or business and then be sure to do your job at the house. Kids are not indentured servants, we need to model family responsibilities. Also, don’t be the parent who doesn’t let their kids help out with the house-hold jobs “because they cannot do them as good as me.” Teach your kids HOW TO do the jobs around the house – this is HARD parenting but it will teach your kids discipline/responsibility!
Teach and Model Delayed Gratification
Similar to the last point, as parents we need to teach our kids the meaning of responsible living. Right now, in our household, our finances are tight as we are launching a new business. We would like to have TV cable or music streaming services; however, we are modeling Delayed Gratification in our spending to teach the kids we cannot have EVERYTHING NOW.
Read Great Book to Them and Discuss
My wife is much better with this than I am. But I have challenged my kids to read books, discuss them with me and I will reward them. In fact, as soon as the school year is over I told my oldest that if she reads a book with a friend and can then tell me about the book I will take them both out to a nice dinner (i.e. Outback or Olive Garden). They will be reading the book Search For Significance (for teens)
Travel With Them
Last summer I had the opportunity to take one of my kids to Africa on a Mission trip. It was a blast, not only to have them experience a different culture, but to see them serve and help others. Now, it doesn’t have to be Africa, you can travel anywhere and take the kids with you. Make it fun, plan the trip and make some stops along the way. Make the trip memorable for the right reasons (spending time together and engaging in conversation) and not because you were grumpy the entire time.
Let Them Fail
It’s okay to let your kids fail. It’s what will help them learn valuable life lessons (here are several quotes on success and failure). Last Christmas, one of our kids got a smart tablet as a gift. They took it to school, it got broken in a day and BestBuy would not replace it. Okay, shame on us for not getting the warranty plan; but shame on my child for not listening to advise about how to care for the device. I felt really bad for them but I had to fight with myself to not “go out and replace it for them.” Our child learned a good lesson, that they have to take care of their stuff.
Help Them Discover Who God Created Them To Be
I want my son to be the quarterback at Notre Dame. I want my daughter to be the starting Point Guard for the ND women’s basketball team. But is that what they want to do? Is that even what God designed them to do? My son, probably not. My daughter, maybe, or maybe not (she does like basketball). My job as a parent is to help them to discover Who They Are and How God has Gifted them. I cannot live my life vicariously through them. They need to become their own person. They need their own identity. I remember one conversation that my wife had with me a few years ago; My oldest child had confided in her a fear she had. “Mom, what if I don’t like Mt Biking as much as dad?” I had to go to her and let her know it was okay if she doesn’t like Mt Biking, and I have to MAKE TIME to do things with her that she likes.
Anything to Add?
It’s your turn. Did I miss anyting? In 100 words or less please give me other quick parenting tips or share how one of the tips I gave helped you become a better parent. Send your reply to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, please remember to share this post with your friends.