ABCs of parenting
There are so many words that we associate with parenting.
But just one word doesn’t cover it all. We are all about being a better dad here. To help you become a better dad (or mom) I have come up with my ABCs of parenting.
I had so many A words that could have gone here. But active is the one I always come back to. Your kids are going to be active. They will keep you on your toes and always be on the move. And that means that you have to be active.
I am lazy by nature, but my kids keep me up and going. And I don’t mind that at all. I know I have to be active and in shape so I can be around longer for my kids. So stay active, stay healthy, eat right, and go out and play with your kids.
Your kids are blessed to have you. Whether you think you are worth it or not, if you are involved in their life then they are blessed. Too many kids go through life without knowing one or both of their parents.
And the blessing doesn’t have to stop at your biological kids. If you can I highly suggest people foster or adopt. The love we should have for our kids will always be there, but we also need to have a love for others.
Try not to stifle the curiosity in your kids. I always have to remind myself of this, but when kids are little, curiosity is how they learn. They touch things, they get into things, and they want to taste things. A lot of time we tell them not to touch it. But sometimes let their curiosity go free and let them touch it.
It may be hard but we must keep our kids in line. Can they touch things? Yes. But there are times when they need to keep their hands to themselves. Teaching kids discipline helps them to understand boundaries. Because a child with no boundaries will struggle to have healthy relationships when they get older.
You should also teach discipline in a loving way. Explain why they were punished and help them understand the decision you made.
This word has a double meaning for parenting. The first meaning is things will get better with experience. You will learn as every kid gets older and you will learn your own parenting hacks as you have more kids.
The second meaning is to give your kids experiences over presents. Take them out and do stuff with them. Don’t just buy them something and expect them to play independently. Take them to the zoo, go on a hike, or ride a roller coaster with them. They will remember those experiences more than any present you can buy them.
Know when to be a friend and when to be a parent. There will be times in your kid’s life when they just need a friend and not a dad or a mom. But you absolutely cannot be their friend 100% of the time. When they are in trouble you need to be the parent, when they are struggling you can be their friend.
Show grace to your kids. We are offered forgiveness by God through his grace. We should always remember this and show that same grace to our kids.
They are going to make mistakes. They are going to betray you. It’s the grace and forgiveness that they will remember and cherish.
Children bring out a sense of happiness that is hard to match. Their smiles and giggles are contagious and their goofy antics can turn a frown upside down. You almost have to work to make kids unhappy. It happens but most of the time your kids are in a happy state of mind.
Use this in your own journey. Remember that child within you and put a smile on your face. Make your kids smile as much as you can, it doesn’t take much. Maybe a joke, a tickle, or a funny face. The more they smile the more you will smile.
Independence is one thing I see a lot of young parents struggle with these days. They don’t want to see their babies grow up and do things on their own or go out without them. But let it happen. In fact, I would say encourage it as much as possible.
Your kids will grow up and leave at some point. Enjoy it while you can but also let them grow into free thinkers and be able to do things for themselves. Because if you don’t, they may come back as adults and be dependent on you at a time you want for yourself.
Have plenty of jokes on hand. There are some great places to get dad jokes. I like Twitter because there are a few accounts that post one or two bad dad jokes a day.
Laugh with your kids also. If they tell you a joke make sure and give them a little laugh.
Teach your kids to be kind to everyone. Regardless of race, abilities, or whether they have money or not, let them know that everyone deserves love.
And make sure you are an example for your kids. They pick up really quickly if you dismiss someone because maybe they are poor or you treat someone differently because they have a handicap. Be the model of how you want your kids to treat others.
I would hope that if you are here reading the ABCs of parenting that you love your kids. But have you told them lately?
Tell your kids that you love them constantly. Every time they leave you for school or a trip tell them you love them. Too many times I have heard stories of people who lost their kids and they regretted that they didn’t tell them they loved them before they left.
You can always make more money. But you can’t make more time. Take that day off, put a deal on hold, and put your kids first. Even if it means you don’t get a few extra dollars, spend time with your kids.
I promise that your job would not miss you if you left. But your kids will miss you if you don’t show up for a big game or for a big dance recital. Use those vacation days, personal days, or sick days. That is why you have them.
Learn to say no. Say no to things in your life that put a wedge between you and your kids. If you volunteer it’s okay to say no once in a while if you put in your time for six months straight. If your kid is doing too many activities that it feels like you don’t even see them then tell them they have to stop a few of them so you can get more family time.
Also, learn to say no to your kids. Make sure they understand that life is full of disappointment and that you can’t say yes to everything.
Make sure your door is always open. Be an active listener and empathize when your children come to you with issues. The more open you are the more they will share and the better your relationship will be.
Try to stay positive in all things. Being negative towards everything will make your kids not want to come to you. Even if they tell you something bad look for the positive that can be pulled from the situation.
This doesn’t stop with your kids either. Be positive toward your spouse or the other parent to your children if you are separated. Keeping things in a positive light will make your life a much brighter place.
Encourage questions. The more questions your kids are asking the more they are learning. And don’t shy away from the hard questions. If it makes you uncomfortable that is actually a good thing. Because it is better for you to answer those uncomfortable questions than for a stranger to answer them.
Start reading to your kids at a very young age. Then push them to read as much as possible. Reading is fundamental for your kids to not only learn but to be able to speak at a higher level. The more words they are exposed to the better they should do in school.
Also, read for yourself. Always be learning. Whether it is to improve your own skills with your job or to learn new skills to pursue your dreams, continue to read and learn as much as you can.
Be silly. Dads should be funny. And if you find yourself to be lacking a funny bone, find some good bad dad jokes to tell your kids. Make funny faces with them. Make them laugh, make them giggle.
Teach your kids all the things you wish your dad (or mom) would have taught you. Was your dad not very good at soccer but maybe you want your kids to try soccer? Then teach them how to play soccer.
This goes back the learning. If there is a skill you never learned as a kid, learn it, then teach your kids how to do it.
Be united with your spouse or the if not married the parent of your child. Work together to make sure you are on the same page with how you want to raise your kids. Make goals as to where you want to see your kids get when they reach certain milestones.
Get out of your comfort zone. Take your kids out and venture into the unknown. Go check out a new museum and teach them about something new. Take them on a hike and explore a new area that you have never been to. Eat something new. Just venture out.
Take walks with your family. No phones, no distractions, just take a walk and talk about life. It’s amazing how much you find out about your kids when you get away from the distractions in life.
It doesn’t have to be a trail or somewhere specific. It can just be in your backyard or down your road. Just enjoy the time with your family and get the bonus of everyone getting some exercise.
X was a hard letter to find a word to fit. But I feel xerox does that. It means to copy something. You will find that eventually, your kids will become copies of you. Make sure that copy is something that will make you proud.
But other times your kids will be in direct opposition to you. And that is ok too. Just love them anyways and always show them that you love them.
Now, this doesn’t mean you need to go out and buy cowboy boots and a big cowboy hat. But it’s to live the redneck creed. Usually, they shout yee-haw before doing something stupid.
Do something stupid.
Be safe first and foremost.
But have fun and be silly.
Ride a roller coaster, jump off that rock, and play in the dirt. Have fun and don’t hold back.
Go to zoos. I don’t know what it is about seeing animals that you don’t usually get to see. But every one of my kids, no matter if they are 2 or 25, loves to go to the zoo. And this usually is accompanied by laughter, talking, and walking.
Your ABCs of parenting might be different than my ABCs of parenting. But I encourage you to make your own list. What are your priorities for your kids? What are your priorities for your family?
I feel every parent loves their children but are you showing that love?
I feel every parent wants to have a happy and fun life. But are you actively making fun in your kid’s life?
If you have anything to add to the ABCs of parenting let us know on our Facebook page.