Spring brings many joys, Mother’s Day is one of them. Monday, I shared Best MotherHood Advice EVER! It was the first in a 3 part series on impressive tips for mothering. These strategies should be given to each mother at birth, but hey, I’m impartial to the author. Enjoy!
3. Wipe Your Mouth Out Before You Come into the House
My children were not allowed to curse inside our home—lies were not welcome either. Words that hurt others were also not permitted. All of that negative talk should be cleaned up before anyone comes into my house, or yours.
- Don’t Pay the Profanity Price. Anyone who knows how to communicate well is more likely to be taken seriously. If your child’s conversation is a cascade of cussing, respectable people will give him the brush-off. Even if he’s not ignored, he will leave a bad impression. You can stop your children from being a disrespected person if you stress this fact of life.
- Buy Your Kid Some Battle Armor. Your biggest job is to build up your children—let them know how great they are. This helps equip them to deal with whatever comes at them, especially if there are bullies or people who try to humiliate them. You put some invisible “armor” on your kids every time your validate how important they are to you. Do it enough and nothing can penetrate that “armor” away from home.
- Dispel the Lie: Names Do Hurt. Of course, being called a name won’t admit you to a hospital, but words that shame wound deeply and can still hurt years later. After all, broken bones can be fixed, but hurtful words and taunts can cause pain for a lifetime. Insults, like name-calling, can create self-doubt that doesn’t go away. It’s even worse if a parent hurls verbal abuse.
- Tell the Truth and Nothing but the Truth. The expectation in my house was simple: we expected our children to tell the truth. No matter what a child did, we parents were there to help—as long as they came to us with the truth. We did not accept lies. Be sure to give positive support for honesty, even if you must deliver consequences for the actual bad deed
Remember, to make it plainly understood: your children must tell you the truth. It is so important to instill respectful and honest communications inside your home—leave the cuss words, lies, and shameful behavior outside the front door.
Even with all the commotion and busy work involved, there are moments when I’d give anything to have all my children back as they were, ready for me to serve up dinner. It was great to sit back with Julius and watch the kids laugh and talk. Nobody had to run upstairs or do homework. It was a special family time.
We made the time to connect. We used it as a chance to listen and to learn about the kids. We were surprised at what we found—even when we didn’t look too hard.
- Stop the Distractions Before You Sit Down. Turn off iPods and computers—lose the cell phones. Don’t allow toys or games, either. Parents—as tempting as it is—don’t bring the mail to the table. Make it an island of calm for your day.
- Make Every Meal an Occasion. You don’t need to prepare a four-course dinner from scratch to have the benefits of a family meal. It doesn’t matter what you serve. Even if it’s fast food or takeout, you must have everyone sit down together at the table. We’ve eaten sub-sandwiches from the corner deli and had the best evening by just relaxing and sharing.
- Dinner Is a Fact-Finding Mission.At dinner, we talked about whatever happened in the neighborhood and the world, and we made it funny. We talked about what was on TV and we got around to smoking, drinking, and other kids’ problems. If someone talked about future party plans, we got a heads-up about it. Listen closely, you’ll hear the name of the friend who is having the party, where it is being held, and what other friends might come along.
5. You Are Whatever You Answer To
A goal for parents is to help our children believe in themselves and their unlimited potential. And, help them not to think or talk badly about themselves.
- Bust the Media’s Myth. Whether they understand it or not, young people want to be part of the glamorous world they see paraded in front of their faces. You need to bring it out in the open and discuss these issues. Discuss how they don’t need to compare to the small percentage of models or movie, TV, and MTV stars who set these “standards.” They don’t have to answer to that.
- Quit Talking Bad About Yourself. As you teach your children not to answer to anyone else’s “putdowns” or unrealistic media expectations, make sure your kids don’t put themselves down either.
- Catch Your Kid Doing Something Good. Don’t ever forget to show your kids what they did right every chance you get. Emphasize positive intentions—and praise, praise, praise whenever you can.
- Don’t Bow to the Power of the Peers. Find out what kind of advice your child’s peers give him. No matter what he tells you don’t “diss” that friend, ever. Simply suggest another alternative—after all, kids are easily swayed.
Help your children learn to answer to their own authority—not what others label them—and to the greater authority of what is right in this world. Teach them to be self-reliant by reinforcing the value of being true to one’s self—of having the courage of their own convictions.
6. Reading is Righteous
Listen, I don’t care what motivates a child to read—I just want to see it happen because I know what reading can do. I know the positive and important things it did for my children and what it can do for yours. if your child can read well, he will do better in school. Reading always equals doing better in everything because a reader can understand more and has a broader perspective.
- Be Proud to Read Out Loud. Just because your kids have learned how to read on their own doesn’t mean you should stop reading aloud. That’s a great time to ask the kids to read a section of a book to you. It will also make them feel important.
- Have a Family Affair with Reading. Try to schedule a special reading time for your children. Fit it into your family schedule just like a baseball practice.
- Don’t Forget Library Power. I have such good memories of the library—it is such a great resource. The local library can be a meaningful place for your kids—especially if you get to know the children’s librarian.
- Join the Clipper Club for Readers. I have a bad habit of clipping articles, quotes and sending them to my son in college. If I see inspirational or interesting stuff, I send it. Most times he like to see it too. Especially the little boys. I paste things on water bottles and all.
Bottom line, we need our kids to read! Reading is the great imagination and visualization tool. When a child hears the words or reads to himself, he has to visualize.
Reading opens the world to travel, to be up on what’s happening in the world, and to discover the world’s knowledge and ideas from some of its finest thinkers. It is the ultimate freedom.
Get busy, (this is part 2.)