Recently, I wrote a blog about how my son gave me the best little Mother's Day gift. A cute little glass jar with all these little papers inside. On each paper was something I've done (or do) for him. It made me think about how kids equate love from their parents- often it's not the materialistic items, but the time and treatment they remember the most, and which makes the biggest impact.
I knew for sure my son would include in his jar of papers: computer time, a football, wii time, Legos and the like. While he did mention the Lego's (only because it was a very expensive birthday gift last year and he knew it and was grateful to have it) he did not mention the wii or many other material items.
Kids might want, but our job as parents is to give them what they need. I came across this list of 'How to Love' and think it's spot on… Some might be hard to do (especially if you have teenagers) but they are imperative in showing your children you care.
Keep your eyes open about what your kids are doing, but have faith in them that they will make good choices and/or grow out of the situations they might be in currently. Regarding the 'punishing'- this to me is about not ridiculing or shaming. You should discipline, but do it in a way that teaches (make the punishment fit the crime).
One of the biggest ones on my heart in this list is Promise-without forgetting. My father was notorious for promising and quite often did not deliver. Don't make this mistake, because it devalues you in your children's eyes and often makes them wonder if they can trust you. If you can't give it to them, don't even go there and say 'maybe'. While things do come up, to the point that you cannot do something for your kids you said you would, make it as infrequent as possible. And that's done by not promising in the first place. I can count on one hand the times I have let my kids down…and I still have fingers left on that hand…
Parenting is no easy task…it takes brave, strong people to raise kids.
You are courageous and you can do it!
If you would like the faith version of this list, which shares bible passages for each, click here.