For Shakespeare: Parenting Guidelines Part 1

>> Sunday, May 3, 2009

Shakespeare asked: How do many parents go wrong in making their children responsible adults (even from a young age), and what specific things can I do as a parent to help my two kids learn to make that transition to adulthood (trust their own opinions, make their own decisions, think of others, admit when they are wrong, learn the value of money, etc.)?

Wow! Tough question. Let me remind you all that I'm not omniscient. Let me add that I'm big on not advocating "the" answers since I don't think there are primers that work for all children, all situations.

However, there are guidelines I try to follow myself because I believe that they will help me raise my children most effectively with the goal to make them the best adults they can be (not make it easier on myself or control them, by the way). But I could not put them in a single post so I'll put them up in pieces.

First and foremost: Be the sort of adult you want your children to become
Of course, this seems obvious and it is but it's not as easy as it seems. It means more than telling them what to do, it means living in a way that is true to your words.

What does that mean? That means that the rules apply to you. That means that you pick up after yourself (and I mean both parents, not one picking up after the other). That means you handle drugs and vices in a manner that you would like to see them follow. If you think smoking is a bad habit you don't want them to take up - stop smoking. Don't drink and drive. Use your seatbelt. Follow the laws. That means you play fair and treat people with respect. That means you admit when you've made a mistake, apologize, make amends. That means you are polite, use please and thank you. If that's what you want your children to be.

That means you refrain from saying unkind things to them, about them about others, even when you're angry. That means you speak of others in a respectful and considerate way, rather than demeaning or belittling groups or individuals, not just when you know your children are listening, but all the time. That means you make an effort to be consistent, be fair, be understanding with your children, with others, with yourself.

That means you listen to your children. They are, after all, people and individuals. You can't understand where they're coming from if you don't listen to what they have to say. And, they will not listen to you either. Nor will they listen to others. You can't tell your children to be sensitive to the needs of others; you'll have to show them or the lesson will be meaningless.

But it also means taking the time for yourself, treating yourself with respect. If you stay with an abusive partner, they will take the wrong lesson. If you ignore your own wants, refrain from pursuing your own dreams, let fears and responsibilities keep you from meeting your own needs, they can learn the same. If you want more for your children, want more for their future, you're going to have to show them that following your dreams is worth the effort, that everyone deserves the chance to pursue them. Even you.

Being a good parent is more than hoping for more for your children. It's living it.

At least, that's what I think.

To be continued...


  • Lola

    I look forward to more posts on this topic.

    I have a couple of questions and perhaps you're tech savvy enough to answer without a ton of research. I just purchased a new laptop. Are laptop cooling chill mats a good investment?

    The more important questions is, I purchased a 500gb external drive for back-ups. I have 3 computers I want to use this with. Any thoughts on how to back-up all 3 and then set up a system to back them up on a regular basis? I haven't really used done this before. I did use an Iomega drive for work once, but that was ages ago.

  • My Wish

    ..."Stand up for what you believe in-even if it means standing alone."


  • flit

    Lola, I use my external hard drive with about 5 computers - it is pretty easy to have multiple backups... but since they presumably won't all be directly attached to it, scheduling automatic backups probably isn't worth doing... with mine, I just DO backups when I have time and energy to be bothered moving the hard drive from one to the next

  • Stephanie B

    Lola, it depends on the laptop. I have had laptops that tend to overheat and, for one of those, chilling mats are a fine idea. But I would wait until you see if you have a problem before investing.

    If you have your external drive setup on a network, you can find software readily to set up backing up regularly. I actually leave that in Lee's hands, so I don't know what to get specifically, but I often look for potential programs at (downloads).

    Let me know if you'd like more info.

  • Shakespeare

    I agree about the laptop cooling pad. My hubby's laptop is excruciatingly hot, but mine doesn't even get warm enough to kick on its fan until I've been using it for about three hours straight... and its heat never even gets noticeable.

    Thanks for the posting on parenting. Once you're done with this round of posting about my question, I'd like a general Tarot reading done for my two kids. I can have them tell me what they'd like to know... would that be okay?

  • Stephanie B

    Of course, Shakespeare. I have several more on this topic to come, though.

  • ettarose

    Great advice, but most importantly is actually doing all this as a parent. Sometimes life is overwhelming and like a lot of parents we forget the lessons we need to teach.

  • Stephanie B

    And I'd LOVE to say I'm ALWAYS the person I want to be, the example I want to set. I'm not. I make mistakes or lose my temper or say things I regret and your kids will, too. No one is perfect.

    But, if you strive to be the example you want to set that sends its own message. If you admit to your failings and take steps address them, to do better, to learn, that's an example of its own.

  • Stephanie B

    BUT you can't say one thing and do another and expect it to work. Your kids know that if you keep smoking or coming home drunk, that your words mean nothing when you deliver a homily on drug abuse.

    If you want your kids to be honest, you'd best not lie to them. If you want your kids to trust you, you're going to have to pass some trust back.

    A double standard will send an ugly message to your kids.

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