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You can raise kids who are cooperative, fun, respectful and obedient without fear of turning them into repressed robots.
1. Respect them Respect their God-given individuality, their interests, their gifts. They may not be like you. They may not perform the way you want them to. They may not like the things you like. They are not meant to be mini-me’s.
2. Affirm their worth and dignity. They need to know they are valued. Listen to what they have to say, give them your full and undivided attention. Ask questions about what is important to them. This is a sure way to build a stronger, more respectful and cooperative relationship.
3. Give them a say in things As much as is appropriate for their age, let them have choices within the parameters you set. This builds confidence, they learn they have choices and autonomy so as an adult they will know how to make good choices and how to stand up for their rights.
4. Take time to understand their personality and their unique gifts. Each child is endowed with their own personality, strengths, weaknesses and gifts. They may not match yours but that doesn’t make them wrong. Take the time to understand personality types, spiritual gifts and the different types of intelligence God placed in your child for His purposes. Then nurture and appreciate those gifts. This one is really on my heart because I’ve seen parents who so want little Jenny to be a straight A student like Mom was or they want Jacob to be the athlete Dad was so the kids get pushed to excel in those areas. Meanwhile Jenny and Jacob have God-given gifts and interests that are ignored or dismissed as unimportant.
5. Require chores. Sometimes it takes longer to train your child to do a task than it does to just do it yourself. In the long run a few minutes invested now will pay off as your child grows to take on more and more duties. The more they mature, the faster they will learn new skills. A child who shares in the family duties feels a sense of belonging, of importance, and they grow in confidence as they learn just how many things they can do.
6. Discipline, don’t punish. Discipline is about teaching children self-control. Punishment is about dominating them. Set rules and boundaries, explain the consequences for breaking rules and then enforce them. First time. Consistently. No counting to three or second chances. Counting to three only teaches the child to wait until mom gets really, really angry before they have to obey instead of fostering first-time obedience.
7. Pray for them. Pray with them. Every day. Let them see you in prayer for them. Teach them to rely upon the Lord for all their needs. Model your own dependance on God.
8. Acknowledge good behaviors. Look for reasons to applaud their good attitudes and actions. Make it a habit to speak words of encouragement to them daily. It’s easy to get angry, or impatient, or to criticize. That is lazy parenting. It takes intentional focus to recognizing something positive about your children every day. But it gets easier with practice and if done with genuine love and attention, it will give your children rock solid belief in their true worth, belief that the cruelties of the world can’t diminish.
9. Last but probably most important for homeschoolers – Let them be kids! Just because your little one is showing an aptitude for reading at 3 or is following along in an older siblings math book does not mean they are a genius. Here’s the truth about “advanced” abilities…… more