Monday, September 05, 2011

The Art of Parenting, an Introduction to the Fundamentals

I was reading a blog post from a friend of mine that I met in the Army. He's about to become a father and he's writing about things he has to do from now on, it reminded me of the days right before Anthony came to the world. I was so scared, I knew that I didn't know what was coming, I was worried about being a good parent, about doing it right, it was exciting times, stressful, so many uncertainties...I know exactly what you are going trough Eddy, you want to do it right.

So do I. I don't want to say that I got it all figured out. It has been six years, (well, it will be six at the end of September) and I must confess I still worry about whether I am doing it right. But I got a few principles that I think will help.

The #1 thing is your kid has to know that he/she is loved.

That's it. That should be easy for most people, but somehow that point gets mixed up or forgotten. If you love your kids unconditionally, no strings attached, if you can do that, that's half the battle. Be there, give em lots of love.

There has been a bunch of psychological studies

Teach the kids how to think for themselves

Critical thinking is tough, it's easier to just tell your kid what to do, but not why he's supposed to do it. Why be polite? Why wash your hands? Why go to bed early? Why pick up after yourself? It can get tiring, but a person who is used to reasoning will be able to make wise decisions later.

Instill a sense of wonder in your kids

That one is easy, kids are naturally curious creatures. I love it when they asked me questions like, how did the earth get here? How come we have eyes? (they have seriously asked me that) In many ways, reality is so much stranger than fiction. I love to tell them that there are many things that we don't know yet, and maybe when you get old enough you can get the answer for the rest of us. It would be a crime to kill their curiosity with a bunch of easy answers to stuff we honestly don't know.

Show good character

This is a tough one, I would like my kids to show integrity, courage, compassion and all of that, but the only way to do that without lecturing, is for them to see it in yourself. Kids are acutely aware of what you parents are doing. They may not get everything yet, but they can pick up when there are discrepancies between what you say and what you do. Make sure that you practice what you preach, or else you will be teaching hypocrisy.

That's it. Not a lot of rules to remember. It's not easy, but if you keep those in mind, you'll be ok.


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