I recently came across the following 10 Commandments of Parenting. They were written by Michael Grose, the founder of Parenting Ideas and a leading parent educator in Australia. Parenting is one of the most important jobs that we will ever do, but it is sometimes hard. Well, a lot of the time it is hard. Some things that seem like common sense parenting to you is a completely foreign thought to other parents. And sometimes watching other parents interact with their kids will give you an ‘aha!’ moment to try something new with your kids.
As you read through the following list, take a moment and think through each statement — try to think of a way that you already implement the idea, or a way you could implement the idea.
10 Commandments of Parenting Wisdom
Thou shalt be consistent
Do as you say you will. Children know where they stand when you are consistent, follow through and mean what you say.
Thou shalt expect children to contribute (without being paid).
Expect children to help at home but don’t expect them to do so graciously all the time. Here is a question to ask yourself from time to time: What do your children do that someone else relies on?
Helping around the house is a great way to cultivate responsibility in your children.
Thou shalt encourage regularly and persistently
Remember that encouragement and praise will get children a lot further than criticism and punishment so be your child’s best encourager rather than his fiercest critic. Encouragement helps a child link his or her self-esteem to the process, rather than the results of what they do.
According to the Harvard Business Review, the ideal positive to negative statement ratio is 5:1 That means for every negative statement your child hears, they need to hear 5 positive statements. Who better to hear the positive encouragement from than their parents!
Thou shalt put responsibility where it belongs
Treat children and young people as you want them to be. If you want responsible, capable children then treat them as if they are responsible. The best way to develop responsibility is to give it to children.
Thou shalt know that children and young people only see one side of any issue.
Thou shalt take everything they say with a large grain of salt. Not that children and young people lie, but they have been known to exaggerate or see facts only from their side.
I once had a child tell me they were locked in a bathroom without food or water for hours until their homework was finished. While I am sure that was not the case, this was the scenario that was explained from her perspective.
Thou shalt show love and affection to your children.
Thou shalt say you love each of your children at least once a day. Knowing they are loveable is the basis of self worth, regardless of their age. A child’s self worth is closely tied to the words that are spoken to them, and it starts at a very young age. By telling your child every day “I love you” you are building that foundation in them that they are loved, valued, and special.
Thou shalt catch children and young people behaving well.
Pay attention to your children’s positive behaviour more than their negative behaviour. What you focus on expands so if you focus on the positive behaviour that is what you generally get. Give descriptive feedback so that your children know what they did well. E.g. “That was great the way you two worked out the TV-watching problem without arguing. You both compromised a little which is smart.”
Rather than try to discourage behavior you don’t want, it is often more effective to draw attention to, encourage and reward behavior you would like to see again. This keeps the conversation positive- “I like the way you ________”, “I appreciate when you __________” . These kinds of statements are much more positive than “Stop doing that,” or “Don’t _________”.
Thou shalt develop independence in children from the earliest possible age
Never regularly do for a child the things he or she can do for him or herself. Remember, you want to encourage responsibility, and it can be done from an early age.
Thou shalt set limits and boundaries for children and expect that they will push against them
Children and young people need limits and boundaries as they make them feel secure.
Kids will test the boundries for a number of reasons. They want to see if you will be consistant. If they can get you to cave in now, they will continue to push when they don’t like something with the expectation you will cave in again.
Testing the limits is also a way for them to see if you are paying attention. Kids like to be the center of attention, and they want to know you are watching and interested. Pushing the boundries will let them know that you are paying attention to what they are doing.
Thou shalt keep a sense of humor when dealing with children
This will help you keep things in perspective. It may seem improbable some days but they will soon grow up and be out of your hair and be a living, breathing reflection of YOU.
A joyful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
There are a lot of medical benefits to laughing. Be sure to have fun with your kids— it will make positive memories for you and for them.
Thou shalt be a good role model for your children
Show rather than tell children and young people how you want them to communicate, behave and live. Children learn what they live and, as parents, your actions speak louder than your words.
So what do you think? Is there anything you would choose to add to this list of 10 Commandments for Parenting if you could? Some bit of parenting wisdom that works for you that you would like to share with other parents? Post a comment below and let us know!
For information about Michael Grose or more resources for parents, visit www.parentingideas.com.au