Spoiled, unruly, undisciplined, rude, intolerant, impatient, disrespectful, lazy, incompetent, irresponsible, crappy kids become spoiled, unruly, undisciplined, rude, intolerant, impatient, disrespectful, lazy, incompetent, irresponsible, crappy adults. Is that what you want as a parent?
If you live a default, mundane life without intent and focused direction – as a parent – that is exactly what you will reap.
My wife and I have two incredible kids! They are . . . Educated. Intelligent. Competent. Responsible. Socially adept. Respectful. Successful. Prosperous.
So, what does it take to raise incredible kids? Probably the most effective way to convey this is through a list of key points:
- You’re not your kid’s friend. Don’t try to be. Don’t buy them anything they want. Don’t cater to their every whim. Don’t fold under pressure of guilt because you have to work and can’t be with them 24-7.
- Have fun with them. Participate in some quality time together. But remember you’re their parent – not their 24-7 buddy.
- Teach and demand respect for other people and their property.
- Set your expectations bar high for them (behavior, schooling, family, social) – but not TOO far out of reach,
- Celebrate and reward their real victories and solid results (no participation trophies). Compliment and praise. Show love, pride and approval when they display positive attributes.
- Make sure they fully understand the words NO and STOP – and state those words with a stern, strongly-projected voice.
- Actively teach & educate them as they grow and develop. Make it fun and competitive. Get them ahead of the curve for their upcoming grade-level in school.
- Hold them accountable. Continually push for individual self-responsibility
- Set and demand limits. Teach them to follow the rules, but as they get older (high school and beyond) teach them to question cultural and social norms – to be independent thinkers.
- Provide stern, firm, unwavering discipline. Ensure they understand there is an immediate penalty for improper behavior and actions. No empty threats and negotiations with zero follow-through. No silly, meaningless “time-outs.” Speak sternly and forcefully to them when needed. A soft, whiny, push-over tone of voice will not work. Don’t cave . . . Don’t waffle . . . Don’t ask . . . Don’t negotiate . . . Don’t request . . . Don’t plead . . . DEMAND. Actions have consequences.
- Teach them self-reliance, not co-dependence. Teach them to do tasks for themselves.
- Do NOT embrace a victim mentality. Teach and expect results – not excuses.
- Grow their potential. Encourage them to attempt stretch projects periodically. Be positive and empowering towards them with respect to their future potential.
- Give them tasks do do as they grow, particularly in adolescence: help with cooking, cleanup and the dishes; do their own laundry; iron their own clothes; help with yard work. Pay them when appropriate so they learn that labor produces income.
Kids want and need structure and discipline. They thrive on it. Your kids may hate you when they’re young, but believe me they will come to love and respect you as they reach adulthood and are fully equipped to live in the world (as opposed to many of their friends who find themselves utterly incapable).
Carpe diem my friends!
Featured Image by the Aaron James Patterson (full copyrights apply)