It is quite natural to be anxious about your children. Your children are God’s gift to you. So they are precious. And they are the future.
At their young age, it is as if God has entrusted you with the awesome responsibility to raise them up as God-fearing citizens. It is up to you that they look not for words of advice but for a model and an example which they can emulate and put to practice as well.
Here are a few tips that might prove useful.
#1. Celebrate the uniqueness of your child.
It is quite understandable that you want your child to excel and win the first rank if possible every time. At the same time, it is more important to realize that your child is very unique and different in his talent, temperament, attitudes and passion from even his or her brother or sister. Therefore do not fall into the trap of comparing your child with anyone else. That is playing with fire. Remember, a dog is not a lion and a lion is not an eagle nor is an eagle a dolphin. Each has its own unique role to play.
So the first responsibility you have is to simply cherish your child as a unique person.
#2. Appreciate your child even for small things he or she does well.
Often we shout at our children; don’t we? Even though we know we should not vent our frustration or anger resulting from a bad day at our work on our children, we do that. And often we feel sorry later. But the best thing you can do for your child is to praise him and appreciate him for any small thing he does well. The more you do it, genuinely, the more confident your child will become. He will have a greater sense of worth and dignity. Children who lack appreciation at home and feel rejected seek acceptance somewhere else and in teenage years can land up in bad company quickly. Why? Simply because there he or she is accepted.
So shower you children with praise and appreciation at every opportunity you get.
#3. Spend time with your children.
It is a wrong thinking that your child is satisfied with the best electronic gadgets that you buy for him. Honestly, this is absolutely wrong. Buying the most expensive and trendy things for your child might advertise your money power; but it does not satisfy your child’s basic and most important need. That is quality time you spend with them. Remember time flies. And before you know it, and because you were busy building your status in society and empires of your own, your child would have grown up into adulthood. And then it is useless to cry that you could spend much time with them in their young age.
Remember the greatest gift you can give your child is the quality time you spend with him or her.
#4. Listen to your children.
If you don’t listen to your children, even if what they talk is silly and even plain nonsense, the day will come when they will totally shut up. And then you will never know what they think, who their friends are, what are their difficulties at school or college or the mental pressures they undergo because of their studies or a wrong relationship. God has given you two ears so that you will listen more than you talk. It is not bravado to tell your children that you are busy and yell at them to stop talking. Encourage them to speak. Let them open up. Give them the freedom to talk to you about matters that trouble their heart. In this way you show respect to them as well.
If you listen to your children today, tomorrow you will not to have to regret that they are not listening to you.
#5. Take time to understand your child’s passion, talent and ambition.
As parents, we like our children to fit into the society’s mould. So we pressurize them to become doctors when they want to be engineers, we compel them to do civil services when they want to be journalists and so on. Of course, there are times when the wisdom of parents should overrule the wrong choices children make. But know that children excel in what they are passionate about. So as parents try to understand what their skill sets are. Help them to have good hobbies which are creative, involves physical activity and involves teaming up with others if possible. This is far better than giving them a tablet or laptop or expensive mobile and allowing them to chat or play video games on it for hours. And it is often equally dangerous to try to make children do what we were good at or try to realize our unfulfilled dreams through them (there are occasions when it works but mostly it is not worth the try).
If you can help your child realize what his passion and talent is, you have succeeded in putting him on the right track that leads to success.
#6. Do not label your children negatively.
I have often quarreled with parents because they often label their children negatively in front of others. One of their favourite labels is this: “Oh, my child is an introvert.” This is shocking because most of the time this has nothing to do with reality. May be the child is a bit shy. So what? Given the right environment like a change of school or given more time to play team games with friends, he or she will come up fantastically well. The more parents repeat this kind of negative labelling in front of others the child starts believing a lie about himself. The child goes on to become an introvert.
Never label your children. Put a guard over your mouth so that you resist the temptation to label your child negatively especially in front of others.
#7. Never forget to pray for your children daily.
So many children who went to wayward living during their teenage years have come to back to their parents and to the forgiving love of God because of the prayers of their parents–especially the heartfelt, tearful, prayers of their mothers! When your children go to school or college commit them and especially that day into God’s care. Pray that they will be given wisdom and discernment to face life’s challenges and also study well. Pray that they will not be drawn to evil things, and bad company; for the Bible warns, “”Bad company corrupts good character.”*
Knowing that parents are praying for them is a great encouragement for children and a surety of your love and care for them.
“See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven” – Jesus Christ.
*1 Corinthians 15:33, Bible.
Quote on angels, Matthew 18:10, Bible.