The 5 Simple "Do's" of Parenting:
1. Have fun with your kids. Get crazy. Relax. Giggle. Enjoy time together. If you are such a rigid, unyielding, disciplinarian, your kids probably hate to see you coming! Enjoy your kiddos.
2. Mean what you say. Don't be fickle. Kids crave stability. Give it to them. If they know you can be easily manipulated into changing your mind, they will definitely pursue it!
3. Have expectations for your children. Even toddlers can put away toys. Teens can clean their room, vacuum, take out trash, etc. Chores are only part of your expectations. Line out what you expect from them in their academics. Push them to achieve their very best -- whatever that may be. Challenge them. Stretch them.
4. Hug them. This is such an easy one, when we have precious toddlers. They are cute and cuddly. But what about when our toddlers turn into sassy-mouthed teens? How often do we hug them? How often do we tell them that we love them, that we're proud of them? Your kids need no less "atta boys" when they become pre-teens and teens. They need words of affirmation.
5. Write them letters. Whether you choose to give them to your kids now or simply store them for later in life, document their growing pains, accomplishments, and your thoughts. My kids have thoroughly enjoyed going back and reading some of my thoughts of their early years. It tells them you care enough to take the time to do it. Sometimes, it is just easier to write those special thoughts on paper.
Jennifer Maggio is considered one of the nation's leading authorities on single parents' issues. She is founder of Overwhelmed: The Single Moms Magazine and The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. For more information, visit http://www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.
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