My definition of spirituality is belief in and respect for a Higher Power, respect and dignity for others, appreciation for environment and property of others, acceptance of differences in people, and fair and just treatment of all. Work diligently to insure that these messages are being transmitted in your home.
Don’t be afraid to hug and kiss your children no matter what age. Your children need this attention even though they may pull away from you when you reach out to them. Don’t be discouraged by this. There’s nothing like a warm embrace from a loving human being. It sends a loud message of love.
It is important to verbally tell your children that you love them. You’d be surprised at how many parents have trouble telling their children this. Remember, you need to do this often.
As a parent, you must keep an open mind and encourage discussions on all subjects, including those that you deem sensitive in nature. If you don’t address sensitive topics with your child, then who will? I tell my son, “I don’t care what’s on your mind, I would like to discuss it with you.” All subjects are open for discussion.
Children need to be guided and directed. The rules should not be rigid or authoritative, but instead, “Guidelines For Living.” An example is:
- All members of this family will treat each other with dignity and respect.
- Expression of feelings and emotions is encouraged, however, vulgar expressions and language will not be tolerated.
- It is against the law and against the rules of this house for children to use drugs and alcohol.
- Daily chores will be performed by all members of the household and will be assigned equally.
- You are expected to identify peer groups which are healthy since choice of one’s friends is critically important.
Help your child establish short- and long-term goals in their life and define objectives in which to achieve these goals. These lessons will be invaluable. Please don’t assume that your child will automatically know how to do this.
Ask your child to tell you the process he/she uses to make decisions and they will look at you funny. We need to explain the art of decision-making utilizing assets vs. liabilities. Children need to understand that decisions must be made from a standpoint of logic and sound reasoning and you can help. Additionally, they must be guided to learn the appreciation of establishing priorities in their life and the importance of insuring that they don’t deviate from them.
Values are expectations of behavior that are determined by principles and standards. You need to help your child gain an appreciation of developing a value system.
Helping your child to identify options and alternatives when faced with a difficult situation is important. Children are impulsive human beings who are prone to think spontaneously. It is important to equip our young with valuable lessons by assisting them in identifying options when faced with difficult choices.
You must articulate clear rules about using drugs and alcohol. They cannot be implied, you must state them clearly and uphold your beliefs. It is important to note that children will emulate our behaviors so you have a responsibility to live your life with this in mind.
Whether you believe it or not, your child will mimic or copy your behavior more than any other person. What you do, how you express yourself, your personal conduct, etc. must be that of a role model since, most assuredly, your children will copy it.