Is there a secret to raising happy, well-adjusted children?
It's no secret but, yes, there is a key: love--your love and God's love! It would be impossible to cover the topic of parental love thoroughly in this short article, but here is a brief list of some of the most important ways that parents can show their children love--and they're all within your easy reach, with the Lord's help.
- Give them Jesus. Jesus wants to guide your children through life. Receiving Him is so simple that even a two-year-old can do it. As soon as you have taught your children who Jesus is, you can explain: "Jesus wants to come and live in your heart. He loves you, and He wants to be your best Friend."
- Give them God's Word. Teach your children to love God's Word and how to apply it personally, and they'll know where to find the answers, faith, and conviction they'll need to not only make it through childhood, but also to become happy, productive adults.
- Give them your time. As much as your children may need and appreciate the material things you provide, they'd rather have you.
- Teach them by your own example. Don't try to be perfect, but be someone your children can look up to and trust. Try to be what you want your children to be.
- Give them discipline and training--a clear standard of right and wrong. Children are happiest and feel most secure and confident when they know what's expected of them. Set clear boundaries and rules as to what your children are allowed to do, and set reasonable punishments for crossing the bounds or breaking the rules.
- Promote honest, open communication. Give them your undivided attention when they're trying to communicate. Be a good listener. Show sincere interest. Try to see things from their point of view.
- Give them praise and encouragement. All children thrive on praise. It's more important to praise children for good behavior than it is to scold them for bad behavior. Always try to accentuate the positive.
- Have faith in them for what they can become. Ask the Lord to help you see their potential as He does.
- Express your love. Children need reassurance. Put your love into words and actions.