As much as we might wish for a parenting manual, with exact instructions based on proven scientific methodology, the truth is that parenting is more art than science. Below are 10 basic “art tools” to help children thrive:
1. Safety. They don’t need over-protecting, but for you to be carefully aware of situations, surroundings and people that could potentially bring them harm.
2. Nourishment. Educate yourself as to what is truly nourishing and provide that to your children. Everything can be made yummy! And if you need help providing food, seek assistance from government and community services.
3. Time to play. This is critical for healthy children. It’s where they process all they see and experience. Unfortunately, many schools across the nation are cutting playtime, and adults are doing the same thing at home.
4. Love. You never have to be perfect as a parent. Show your love, speak your love and its beam will shine through any and all parenting missteps.
5. Opportunities to struggle. If we protect our children from struggle, from failure, we are handicapping them for the adult world. Oftentimes the biggest, most profound life learning comes from facing challenges.
6. Honesty. Our kids usually know when we’re lying. They just do. They may not know the specifics of the deception, but they know by the feelings they pick up that we are not being truthful. It’s deeply confusing to them. They need our truth (in age-appropriate ways).
7. Support. Kids who have to fend for themselves all the time, or practically raise themselves, may learn they can never depend on or trust another. That’s a sad way to live.
8. Positive modeling. They’re looking to US to see how to be. One of the best things you can do for your children is to work on your own personal growth so that you can be the best model for your kid(s).
9. Your belief in them. Knowing that you believe in them, in their innate goodness and abilities, helps create strong self-esteem.
10. Time together. Being in your presence is like balm for children. Focus on them some of the time and on your activities some of time. They soak up a lot of sustenance just from being around you.
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