The Parent-Teacher-Child Connection: 10 regrets you shouldn't say thirty years from now!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

10 regrets you shouldn't say thirty years from now!

When you look back in 30 years to when your children were little, make sure you don't say, "I wish I had..."
  1. "...spent more time playing."  Think about what you do with your kids. You eat, ride in the car, do homework, perhaps lecture them, and get them ready for bed.  How often do you simply throw a ball around the yard with them, play Candyland, or color the picture on the opposite page?  Those activities are sometimes more memorable than any in the previous list of things you do with your kids. 
  2. "...listened to them more."  Yes, parents hear their kids when they talk.  They hear them ask for  money, for rides to a friend's house, and for a later bed time.  But when parents truly listen, they'll hear the request for money as a need for independence, the ride to a friend's house as the need for companionship, and the later bed time as a cry for more time with Mom or Dad.  Think about your child's motivation when they talk to you.
  3. "...let them make their own decisions."  When children reach their twenties, you'll realize the fruits of this regret.  So often, I've seen young adults make very bad choices in jobs, mates, and other life-threatening decisions because they weren't allowed to think for themselves as children.  Yep, that will cause them to make a few mistakes, but with those mistakes come lessons they will remember long after your hour-long lecture.
  4. "...hugged my kids more."  It's a fact - when kids grow up, they don't sit on your laps anymore.  They don't call as often as you would like.  And they are so busy with their own lives that you may see each other once a month, or maybe even less frequently.  Enjoy the daily affection while you can!
  5. "...taught my children to manage money."  I don't mean you should give a child an allowance, because that's the last advice you'd get from me - free money for doing nothing.  I mean that you should help your children to value the money they get through hard work.  If they earn $5 for raking your leaves, or the neighbor's leaves, your son will be more likely to spend the money wisely than if you had handed him the money as an allowance.
  6. "...helped my children appreciate those less fortunate."  I think one of the best things we can do for our children is to help them appreciate how good they have it.  That doesn't mean lecturing about how their lives are better than yours when you were a kid.  It means volunteering with them for a variety of causes: homeless people, senior citizens, wounded veterans, neighborhood cleanliness, homeless animals, etc. etc. etc. What are you doing right now to help your kids understand this important life lesson?
  7. "...shown my children that not all toys need batteries."  Send your kids outside to "find" fun!  The more creative they become with their play, the more creative they'll become with their problem solving. 
  8. "...read to my children more."  When children associate books with parental care, they learn that reading is fun.  When the only time they read is when you order them to finish their book reports, they won't consider reading to be fun. 
  9. "...helped my children to try new and nutritious food."  If you're in a food rut, your children will also turn their noses up at new food.  Later in life with a strong nutritional basis, they'll be more likely to try sushi or Thai food, and experiment with thier own new cooking expriences. Remember, McDonald's is not a food group!
  10. "...taught my children to respect a higher being."  You don't need to be Christian, Jewish, or Muslim to understand that we were created by a higher power who deserves our love and respect.  Children need to learn the power of prayer in their lives for those times when they think that everyone else has abandonded them.  Religion is a powerful anchor.
Thankfully, I have none of those regrets!  How are you doing so far?

Happy Parenting!

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