Provide Opportunities for Failure

Every Wednesday I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on marriage, parenting, or life.

The natural instinct for loving parents is to protect their child from pain and failures.  Certainly, success is really enjoyable, while failure is not as much fun and even somewhat painful.  Yet, it is true that your child and all of us learn more from setbacks than successes.

During your child’s formative years, you want your child to have failures and experience some anguish. So many activities throughout their life are competitive in nature, passing classes in school, getting into a trade school, being accepted to a college, or finding the right job.

Hence, allow your child to join sports teams like golf, volleyball, soccer, etc. as well as tryout for other school activities or programs.  Through participating in various pursuits, your child will hopefully experience a few successes along with some beneficial failures that thankfully may help your child become successful in life.  Childhood failures usually assist in building resiliency and strengthening character, and most important, make your child even more determined to never give up in life.

TODAY:  Begin finding a variety of activities where your child can compete in order to experience both successes and failures. 

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Create A Positive Attitude Within Your Child

Every Wednesday I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on marriage, parenting, or life.

A Positive Attitude is an extremely important quality for everyone to possess, including children.  Daily life will have ups and downs because life is simply not fair.  If we expect life to be fair we may have a negative attitude and be somewhat miserable.

Creating a Positive Attitude within your child is a primary, essential goal.  As a parent, be a positive role model, encourage your child to give a good consistent effort in every area of life, and help your child identify two or three positives from their day.  Regarding the positives, ask your child to identify what happened that created those positives.

TODAY:  And every day, find the positives in your life as well as encourage your child to be optimistic, confident, and a good finder with people and situations. 

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Eat Meals At The Table

Every Wednesday I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on marriage, parenting, or life.

With every couple, child, parent, and/or family I counsel, I always ask about how mealtimes are handled by everyone.  Unfortunately, when a child, marriage, or family is struggling, I am often told that rarely are meals happening at the table.  Instead, individuals are eating in the bedroom, living room, or just standing at the counter in the kitchen.  Marriage or family meals at the table allow for positive conversation, excellent eye contact, and a strengthening of family ties.

I have found that a happy marriage is a major challenge when couples are not eating together.  In addition, one research study found that children learned a majority of their life and faith values during mealtime discussions at the table.  So if family members are not sitting together at the table for meals, there is often a disengaged family and a significant lost opportunity for discussing life and faith values with a child.

It makes no difference if only two family members are home or if you are only having sandwiches and chips, a major goal is to have meals at the table as often as possible.  Always avoid discussing any problems so your meals together will be positive times.  Turn off the TV, remove all technology gadgets, have light-hearted conversation, and perhaps share one or two positives from the day.

TODAY:  Begin having marriage/family meals at the table and enjoy making an eye-to-eye heart connection with your spouse or other family members.

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Seek Successful Models For Your Son and/or Daughter

Every Wednesday I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on life, marriage, or parenting.

All of us are imperfect and flawed, including your child, but it is important to have goals in mind for how you want to develop responsible, healthy thoughts, words and behaviors within your child.  The cliché’ is true, “We are what we think.”  Likewise, a child will become what a parent “thinks” or envisions a successful adult man or woman looks like.  Please visualize what you “think” your child will look like as an “idealman or woman at age twenty-five, thirty-five, forty-five, etc.

Next, write down the names of two men and two women you admire because of how they live their personal lives and enhance their marriage and family relationships.  Then, make a written list of the beliefs, virtues, moral values, positive habits, attitude, interests, and hobbies found in the men and women you admire. These men and women are the examples for what you desire within your child and provide a “template” for you as a parent.

TODAY:  Please aim for your child to be their own individual person but as a parent, keep the “model” of those men and women in your mind as you lead and guide your child into adulthood.  Please also use your written list to evaluate how you are influencing your child in all those positive aspects of life. 

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Date Your Child Monthly

Every Wednesday I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on life, marriage, or parenting.

One of the best ways to influence your child’s heart is a monthly date at an ice cream store, donut shop, fast food outlet, or restaurant.  Children seem to share more thoughts and feelings while eating food and that can make a significant difference in your parent-child relationship.   Your parent-child date will hopefully be 30 minutes or more allowing you to make an eye-to-eye heart connection.

I suggest three guidelines for your date.  First, within your budget, let your child select the place to eat.  Second, from the time you leave your house until you return home, avoid three “Cs” – DON’T Correct, Complain, or Criticize your child anytime during the date.  Third, look into your child’s eyes, ask How and What questions, and let your child do the majority of the talking.

TODAY:  Sit down with your child and plan for a date during the month of October.  Then, remember to have a date each month until the time your child leaves home to be on their own. 

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Influence Your Child’s Heart

Every Wednesday I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on marriage, parenting, or life.

 The Bible states that words and actions come from the heart (Proverbs 4:23, Matthew 15:18).  So as a parent, one of your major goals is to influence your child’s heart leading to responsible decision-making.  Sadly, I estimate that 90% of parents, even the most loving ones, often hold the false belief that a significant objective is to control a child’s behavior, imposing many unnecessary rules. Some negatives associated with attempting to control a child’s behaviors are constant tension within the home and rebellion, poor decision-making, fears, anxiety, depression, and eating disorders in the child.

A healthy parent wants to be a leader, not a boss. A boss parent creates an atmosphere of rules and regulations over nearly everything.  A leadership parent supervises and provides continual growth opportunities so a child develops good decision-making skills in the home.

Now or in the future, your child will have to make choices with cigarettes, alcohol, illegal drugs, and sexual contact.  Your Godly influence and leadership parenting will influence your child’s heart for a positive outcome in most situations.

Thus, your number one goal is to daily work hard at strengthening your parent-child relationship in order to influence your child’s heart.  Through a nurturing, encouraging relationship and loving guidelines, you can help create a healthy, responsible decision-making child.

TODAY:  In order to influence your child’s heart, what words or actions will help you build a stronger bond with your child in order to lead them toward becoming a wonderful decision-maker?

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Only Positive Labels For A Child

Every Wednesday I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on marriage, parenting, or life.

An absolutely essential goal for every parent or adult is to “Positive Label” a child.  And the second significant goal is to NEVER, NEVER, NEVER share a negative label with a child. A child will usually fulfill the positive or negative label that is given and sadly become that “label” as an adult.  Hence, when a child is told, “You are shy,” often the child will be shy rather than outgoing and confident.  When a child is told, “You are lazy,” the child will usually be lazy rather than hard-working.

Always remember when giving a child a positive label to be sincere.  One way to strengthen and build healthy attributes within a child is to identify one or two weaknesses like “shy” and “lazy.”  Then, find the positive and catch the child “confidently speaking to someone” or giving a “really good effort” and say, “I appreciate that you were being outgoing” or “I appreciate that you are a hard worker.”

Bottom line, whatever label or reputation a child is given, in all likelihood that is what the child will become as an adult.  Let’s make all our labels for children positive!

TODAY:  Build a child’s self-worth and share one or two positive labels with an “I appreciate . . .”

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