Friday Four: Smart Tips From Mama (part 3)

banner momAs we close out our week long celebration honoring moms remember that moms come in many forms: some are assigned to us by birth and some we claim simply through heart felt connection. To have the honor or be one is a blessing. If you missed the previous post, see here: 1st and 2nd.

Take a look at these last 4 strategies for raising smart, well rounded, confident, healthy children. If you haven’t already, surround yourself with powerful, generous women that want to pour goodness into you.Childhood goes by too fast. You must have support to enjoy it all.  

7. Push “Unable” off the Table

I gave my children an attitude—a “don’t quit” attitude. Although I made it clear that it’s OK to fail—if you learn from it—or even stop for awhile, it is not OK to give up at the first hint of difficulty. They need to know that life is hard, and struggles are always there, bt at the heart of any success is the ability to keep going no matter how tough it is, how rough it might get, or how long it takes.

  • You Have to See a Real Man/Woman to Be a Real Man/Woman. When sacrifice is in your home, let them know. Julius and I let our kids know matter-of-factly when we sacrificed our time and effort for something our family wanted or needed. This gave the children a chance to appreciate what each parent should do for the family. They get the reality lesson they are not entitled and everything does not magically come to them. They see that hard work is what makes it all happen.
  • Build a House of Praise. Listen, anytime a child’s parents think he is wonderful, the child is going to fight to prove them right. Some kids do the wrong thing because they rationalize: my parents think I’m a loser, so, why fight it? Be careful what you say—do your best to think of another way to convey your thoughts if you are disappointed in your child.
  • Embrace the “H” Word. Homework—that big, bad “H” word—is inevitable. It is also one of the flash points toward a child’s ultimate success or failure. It is definitely the most important thing you can help your child to master. The kids knew I was available to help—but I wouldn’t do their homework for them (besides, most teachers know exactly what’s going on).
  • Beware of Turning Out Cookie-Cutter Children. Even in the same family, kids can have completely different skills.. I cannot expect him to “be” them—and I don’t.
  • Everyone Can’t Be a Ballerina. Some parents have unrealistic expectations. Parents who were always good in math or sports for some reason think their kids will automatically be the same way. If your daughter would rather jump rope than become a ballerina—let her do it, because not everybody can be a ballerina.

8. Don’t Lie Down with Anything You Don’t Want to Live with Forever

Kids don’t want to hear parents talk about sex—they don’t even think we have sex. But we can set them straight about those birds and those bees.super god

Be open and honest with your kids about sex.

  • Don’t Just Talk About Sex, Talk About Responsibility and Relationships. I never talk about sex without talking about responsibility and relationships. Sex is serious business with lifetime consequences.
  • Hold Out for Moonlight and Reality. It’s important that your kids know the difference between soap opera romance and the real thing. Teach them the tricks to keeping romance strong while they work, raise children, and clean their house. Hey, couples can still make out in the kitchen while the kids are busy, or flirt until they go to sleep.
  • Don’t Stand for a One-Night Stand. I impressed on my daughter Andi to believe in true love so she wouldn’t let down her guard or jeopardize her life for someone who might never call her back. I told her to set standards so she wouldn’t turn into a statistic.
  • Because I Said So and Did So. Role models do matter. In our Rock household, there was a world of love and laughs. Even though Julius and I were the parents, we had a separate, deep relationship with each other. Our children were blessed to be able to watch us have good times together. I was a model for them to follow when the time came for them to settle down with one person. If you are separated or divorced, point out healthy relationships around you.

OK, fast pep-talk review: sex education is not a backstage pass to have sex. Take charge by having The Talk and answering questions honestly—don’t leave it to your child’s friends or siblings to get to them first. Help your kids to wise up so they don’t end up living with something or someone that could cramp their style, health, and reputation for a lifetime.

And, of course, don’t talk about sex without talking about responsibility and relationships—it’s too beautiful, personal, and blessed to simply be a recreational sport. Sex is meant to be between people who love and care about each other and for the children they create.

9. Good Memories Are the Best Things You Can Give Your Children (Besides Good Manners)D art

I never understood the true importance of good memories until Julius died. I was grief-stricken and didn’t want to do anything. My sister-in-law, Elaine, urged me to remember the fun times Julius and I had together—she said to be grateful for the wonderful memories I did have. She was right, it was the memories of our life together that kept me going.

I continue to be supported by the memories of our family life together. When I listen to my children tell the stories of their lives, I’m often moved to tears when I realize Julius and I helped make some of those good memories possible. My fondest hope is that our children will always try to give their children positive, inspirational, and often hilarious things to remember.

  • Know Your Family by Your Traditions. I know our family continues to stay strong when traditions and memories are handed down—it is our own personal history, from what we serve at holidays to always giving the children new books at Christmas to helping others in the neighborhood. There are also, though, smaller, everyday traditions you may not think about that can create a part of your family’s identity and be a great source of memories. For instance, the way my kids waited for their chance to go call Daddy for dinner; or what about when you go to that certain place for a treat every time you shop nearby; or the indoor picnics you have when the weather turns bleak.
  • Narrow the Generation Gap with Holiday Traditions. Holiday preparation time offers an opportunity to include all the generations. Even the youngest can help with cookies, candies, breads, or cakes. The little ones can stir the bowl, pour in the milk—and even a baby can lick the frosting! Get everyone involved.
  • Good Memories Don’t Have to Cost Good Money. You don’t need to go all over the place or spend a fortune to find family activities that create great memories. Have a “Board Game Dinner Night”—we still do that. Pick out a board game and play it with your children or ask another family to join you.
  • Talk Up Your Memories Through an Oral History. During the holidays when families get together is a great time to have your family members record those tales (especially the older relatives) on tape or in a journal memory book. So many families leave all the storytelling to “Aunt Edna,” and then when she is gone, no one knows the stories. This way you can protect those memories and they will be a treasure forever, and I do mean forever.
  • It’s Never Too Late for Traditions. Maybe you say you don’t have any traditions—or not enough to keep your family connected. In order to start or add a tradition, try to figure out what you enjoyed the most as a family. Ask your kids what they remember from the last holiday and see if that could become part of your holiday each time. The most important requirement of any tradition is the ability for it to reconnect the generations with the fond memories that matter this year and every year.

10. Spirituality Is Not Just for Sundaysyes

Those who delve into any spiritual life always come up with same core of truth—that it is all about connecting with a higher power than us. When you help your child develop a spiritual foundation, you give him a guide to a moral and ethical life, a guide to treating people right, and a deep, abiding sense of confidence that he will pass on to his children.

  • The Church Is Not a Convenience Store. In the same way we cannot expect the schools to teach our children everything, neither can we expect any church to do it all. Parents, you have the ability to teach your children the importance of faith by your example—not only in religious doctrine, but by what goes on in your home (for example, the love between parents, and their shared commitment to a home where values such as respect, helping others, forgiveness, patience, and loyalty are as important as anything they simply “hear” or “read” in church).
  • Honor Your Children. Why honor your child? Because your child is God’s gift to you. One way to honor a child is to take the time to be aware of his differences within your family. You honor his gifts, creativity, and good qualities. Another important way to honor your children    is for you to spend time with each child individually.
  • Honor Your Parents. In many ways, the respect for authority that is learned  at home is the key to a child’s success. I don’t think honoring a parent means fearing parent. Instead, it implies regard and compliance with parents’ word and rules of the household, which the parents have created.

BONUS- Don’t forget—it is you, the parent, who plants the seeds of spiritual values in your children, not only by what you teach them about your God, but by the way in which you live your life. Treat each other with love, respect, and forgiveness—help your children understand the importance of this. When all else fails, your child’s spiritual background will sustain him.

From the book Mama Rock’s Rules by Rose Rock with Valerie Graham. Copyright © 2009 . Summarized by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.




Hope you have a great Mother’s Day Weekend,


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