I am sure that no parent would refute the fact that parenting can be a hard and seemingly thankless task sometimes! Parents are learning how to successfully parent as they go along. Whenever we run seminars we hear lots of examples where parents feel inadequate and many questions are asked about what should be done to help them. It is easy to become despondent and think that life, as we once knew it without children, was a far, distant and unsalvageable dream. NOT!
WHEN IT IS 'SINK OR SWIM'For us, when we were down in the engine room of early parenting, there were times we felt that we were barely making it from day to day. There were just so many things to manage. Not only were we raising our children, but we were balancing the check book, working in our careers, singing on the side, studying for degrees, while maintaining friends and family relationships as well as our own. Staying sane was a bonus! We tried to pick our battles. Let’s face it, there were times when all we really wanted was to retreat to the trenches and give ourselves a rest. Sometimes we did just that! So why do we sit back now and feel satisfied with our efforts at parenting our children? We realize now, and our kids have confirmed this numerous times, that we created a positive home environment with plenty of love and consistent discipline. We must have done enough right to see our now adult children doing so well.
THE BALANCE BETWEEN POSITIVES AND NEGATIVESPart of the struggle in attaining a peaceful, positive home environment is finding the balance required between negatives and positives. The more positive comments and praise we can give, and the more positive activities we can arrange for our children, the more our homes will be the place where our children and their friends will want to be. If you find yourself constantly nagging, then stop. Change tactics. Start recognizing the positive things they do and concentrate on those things. To monitor progress, set goals for yourself as well as for each child. Meeting those goals is fulfilling, contagious and worthy of praise.
ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHERSome time ago my husband decided to encourage parents when we saw well-behaved children in restaurants. He had a business card made up and handed it to all those he felt were doing a good job with their children when they were out in public. The card said, “You are a great parent.” Brian would explain to the parents why he thought that family deserved the card. You wouldn’t believe the faces of those parents when they were complimented in this way. Some even had tears well up. A simple gesture, yet I bet those parents never throw away the card. We all need encouragement, even when we feel we are only half way there with our children. They love encouragement. They want to please their parents. They will know you appreciate them when you tell them so. ‘Attaboy!’ and “attagirl!’ should be heard in your home frequently. Be liberal in your compliments to other parents. If you love affirmation, then they will, also.
ENJOY THE PRAISEI think that when we are in the middle of raising our kids, we don’t see the great things that we have achieved with them. When someone compliments you on your child's good manners, or their accomplishments, stop and enjoy it. Pat yourself on the head. Give yourselves some credit and thank the Lord. It is too easy to say things like, “You should see Suzy at home!”
We all need as much encouragement as we can get. It is one thing to be a great parent and another to have it confirmed by others. Enjoy greatness and share it.
HERE IS A FABULOUS FAMILYThe pictures I have included are of a very lovely couple who live in Tenessee, USA. Nancy and Colin are in their 70's now and have raised 6 children, most of whom live on adjacent properties to them. They also adopted 4 teens from Liberia and now have over 30 grandchildren. Although this couple still go all over the USA, and sometimes other countries, speaking about the importance of family love and care, they are an absolute example of what they advocate. The whole family support one another, have lots of gatherings together and we often get invited. I am giving a huge thumbs up to this creative close-knit family. Well done, lovely people. You honor one another and we want to honor you!
Written by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families