Motivate your child. Encourage your child to ask you questions about any subject, and do your best to answer them honestly. Help your child discover passions and develop talents in order to contribute to the world. Affirm your child to give him or her confidence to continue thinking creatively. Urge your child to take risks to pursue dreams.

Be a good role model for your child. Ask God to help you live with integrity so your child respects you. Know that your child is constantly watching you to see if you’re living up to the core values you’re trying to teach him or her.

Pray for – and with – your child. Daily ask God for patience, wisdom, guidance, and blessings for your child. Help your child see his or her significance in God’s eyes. Encourage your child to connect with God often through prayer.

Envision your desired destination. Ask God to show you the vision He has for your child’s future, and what specific and measurable goals you and your spouse should set to help your child get there. Don’t share your parenting strategy with your child, but celebrate with your spouse when you achieve successes along the way. Help your child seek God’s plans for his or her life and set his or her own goals. Teach your child to come to conclusions about what actions will be the most beneficial as he or she moves closer to those goals.

Previously posted May 26, 2006

Adapted from Aaron’s Way: The Journey of a Strong-Willed Child, copyright 2004 by Kendra Smiley. Published by Moody Publishers, Chicago, Ill.,

Kendra Smiley is a popular conference speaker, and hosts a daily radio show called Live Life Intentionally. She is a regular contributor to Christian Parenting Today and Hearts at Home magazines. Kendra is the author of five books, including High Wire Mom, and Empowering Choices. She and her husband live on their family farm in Illinois.