Rules for Parents

Here are some simple rules I thought of recently that I think all parents should follow. After reading them, you may think they would be obvious to anyone. Unfortunately, they are definitely not obvious, at least to some parents. If you disagree with me, write your own rules. This should at least give you something to think about.

Be a good role model.
Basically, do not do anything you would not want your children to be doing. Your children learn a lot more from your actions than from your words. If you have special rules that you want them to follow (going to bed early or whatever), then explain your reasons. Do not rely only on your parental authority to enforce your rules. Also remember that nobody is perfect; sometimes you will do something wrong and your kid will catch you. Admit your mistakes! If your children know that even their parents screw up sometimes, they will be less afraid to come forward and admit their own mistakes.
Communicate with your children.
Nothing is more important to a relationship, including the relationship between parent and child, than communication. Communication means more than telling your kids what you want them to do. It means listening to what they have to say. Talk with your kids regularly, and respect their opinions. Often communication includes listening to what your children are not saying. You should know your children better than anyone else, and be able to detect when they have a problem. Respect your child's privacy, however. In most cases, it is better to let them know that you are always ready to listen than it is to force them to tell you something.
Let your children make their own decisions.
This is probably the hardest guideline for parents to follow. They instinctively want to protect their children and keep them from making "wrong" choices. Children have their own thoughts and opinions; they are not just smaller copies of their parents. Of course if a child is doing something seriously wrong (i.e. illegal) then a parent should intervene. However, if the parent is truly a positive role model, then hopefully this would never be necessary.
Support your childrens' decisions.
The previous rule should not be interpreted to say children should not be supervised. One of the best things a parent can do is give their child encouragement to succeed in whatever activity they choose. Children will make better decisions if they know they can always count on their parents' love and support.

Disclaimer: I am not a psychologist or family therapist, and I have no training in this field. I'm just this guy, you know, who happens to have parents. These are just my opinions, so don't sue me.


This document created using Notepad for Windows NT. ^_^
Maintained by David Park.
Last updated: Apr. 5, 1996 2:15PM EST