My husband and I are now swarming amidst the Terrible Twos. Our sweet little Julia has a newfound love of whining, crying, telling us “No” and throwing mini storms our way if she doesn’t get what she wants. The days and nights are often trying and we have found ourselves looking at each other wondering what we should do. Or rather, what did we do?
This question is one that [I’m guessing] just about every parent asks themselves at some point. I went into this gig imagining perfect cherubs pleasing parents all day long, didn’t you? And now we’re looking at them seeing the opposite. They are little sour patch kids–so sweet and angelic and helpful and smart and laughing one minute, and then sour and whining and screaming and crying and throwing tantrums the next. But here’s the catch. Being a sour patch kid is good. They have the ability to show two sides, and now it’s my job to foster the sweet side. So what can we do as parents to help mold these little ones into awesome human beings later in life?
Just like everything, there’s no one perfect answer to this question. And with the plethora of information available online to try and answer it, is hard to sift through. I am not a fan of reading things that say “Don’t do this” or “Don’t do that” but rather, here’s a compilation of a ton of different things to consider and keep in your wheelhouse. Here’s advice from other Mamas and parents who are through the thick of it and have positive thoughts to share. We all share a common goal: to raise children to grow up to be good people. To help them learn to work hard, be respectful, and be productive. To be loving, kind, and responsible. Sounds like a long list, but our parents had the same wishes for us, and now here we are holding up the highest expectations for our children as well.
I reached out to Mamas within my network and asked this burning question: “What would you tell your younger Mama self to do in the future to ensure you raise well-rounded kids?” There were so many wonderfully thoughtful responses, and these are just a few of the commonalities that Mamas shared.
- Above all things, love your children as much as humanly possible. The Bible says in I Corinthians 13:13 “And now these three remain: Faith, Hope and Love. But the greatest of these is love.” This verse is recited by many and for good reason. Love has unbounded capabilities and should not be underestimated. Our children learn from us by watching us. When they see that they are angry and emotional and having a fit, but Mama and Daddy love them anyway, they will remember that. Furthermore, this comes with boundaries. One great piece of advice was that we should praise the good more often than criticizing the bad. The power of positivity is incredible and our children can feed off of the love we project on to them. We can continually remind them that we all make mistakes, have bad days, and make bad decisions, but these things don’t define who we are, but rather, give us something to learn from. To love your kids also means to discipline your kids. This looks differently for each family, and may also look differently for children within the same family. Common ground: Mama & Daddy are the boss. We are not our children’s friends. They need structure, rules, and boundaries. They need this and will thrive on it.
- Give kids responsibility. Almost every Mama gave some form of advice in the way of giving kids things that they are responsible for and starting it at a young age. Some suggestions were: morning routines, small house chores, helping with baby, cleaning up their playroom, helping Mama or Daddy put away groceries, etc. As they get older, their chores and responsibilities should match their age. They can begin to do more around the home to help out. There will come a time when they are going to have to do these things on their own, so the sooner they learn that they have responsibilities, the better! Encouraging children to save money for different reasons also fosters a responsibility with money which is an important life skill that will be helpful later on.
- Help your children learn to be thankful for what they have. They will see things other kids or their siblings have and they will want them. However, there’s nothing wrong with explaining to them and teaching them that what they don’t know and don’t have won’t hurt them. We have a very small window of opportunity to help them see what they have in front of them is all they need. We, as parents, know what’s best for them. Many Mamas my age are starting to see the pendulum swing the opposite direction and are fearful of our kids acting entitled. Life is hard. Life is often unfair. Life throws curves. We all know this. Nonetheless, let’s teach our children at a young age that this is a part of life. As my mother in law Judy said, “The Fair only comes once a year in August; and if you’re good enough, we just might take you :)”
- Limit technology. It takes a long time for young people to truly develop positive and well-thought out decision-making skills; until they can do that might be the appropriate time for cell phones, social media accounts, and gaming systems. Let our kids be kids. Let them play, let them be bored, let their imaginations propel their minds, rather than a screen. There will be a time and place for technology usage and until that time comes, keep them engaged in activities of different kinds. Get them involved in sports, theater, church groups, and playing with other kids, even when they think they are too old to “play.”
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Spend your time concentrating on the real life values you want your kids to maintain. There’s never a time too young to start practicing these big life skills we want our kids to have, but with the thought in mind that it will take many years to shape. Start and end the day with prayer and love, and remember that “this too shall pass.”
One of the reasons I started this blog was to have the platform to reach out and hear what other Mamas have to say about raising kids, maintaining relationships, and being a good Mama (or like me, “Work in Progress Mama”). Those who have been there before, thank you for sharing your words of wisdom. And to those of us who are here in it now, let’s continue to be good role models, share successes, and love our little ones fiercely. So many things go into molding good human beings; this list is just a small step in the direction to get us started. Sending love to you all as we journey together!
This post contains advertisements and by clicking the link, I may receive a commission but at no cost to you. See my full disclosure form HERE