Parenting with power

Photo courtesy: Anthony M. Slatton
Photo courtesy: Anthony M. Slatton

Our children are growing up in a challenging world. Parents have a powerful role in helping their children navigate today’s complex world. Sometimes, it seems we have lost our way. In our quest to give our children more than what we had, we forget to give them the things that matter most. We give them everything they want but neglect to give them what they need. We abdicate our power and turn it over to outside influences. Well, it’s time to take ouR power back. Here’s how.
– Parenting begins at birth. It’s never too early to begin lovingly instilling respect, discipline and structure into your child. They are going to need these traits to lead successful lives.
– Spend your money on things that matter. The latest gym shoe or music lessons? Really think about which is going to have a more lasting value on your child’s development.
– Know your child’s friends and their parents. How can you protect your child if you don’t know what they are doing or with whom they are doing it?
– Monitor cell phone and computer usage. Install free parent monitoring software or an app so you know what sites your child is visiting, who they are contacting and who is contacting them.
– Limit TV and video games. There is too much inappropriate content, even on shows geared toward children. Instead choose a board game and play together with your child at least once a week. Even better, get outdoors and do some physical activity with your child.

– Let your child see you having fun.
– Kids want, need and crave boundaries and rules. Don’t be afraid to give them limitations. Be consistent. And, if you’re starting now for the first time, don’t go from zero to one hundred, all at once.
– Kids learn by example. Be an example that you want them to follow. Are there things you do or people you hang out with that you wouldn’t want your kids to emulate? Then don’t do it!
– Ask your child at least one question a day that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll learn over time and what your kid will tell you if you just ask.
– If you find yourself or your child headed in the wrong direction, you can turn things around no matter what age the child is, but you (the parent) has to climb out of a deeper hole, work harder and be more flexible. Get professional help if you can’t figure out how to do it alone.

We no longer can afford to let outside influences be the most powerful forces in our children’s lives. Our ancestors gave us the strength and skills to get to this point but we need our children to develop into the new leaders of our movement. We need to parent them so they have the power to do so.

tanya a. royster, MD

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