“Children from families with high expectations and values tend to find each other, have good marriages and continue to produce quality children despite what the environmental influences may be.”
This is a statement made by Dr. Val Farmer before he outlines his ideas behind what it takes to be a good parent in today’s culture.
While I question Dr. Farmer’s definition of “quality children” (vs. non-quality children?), I do agree with many of his suggested ingredients for successful parenting. Below is my edited version of his list:
1. Be a good example.
2. Be attentive to each child’s needs.
3. Accept and respect each child as individuals. Help them become responsible in their decision making. Respect their basic dignity as developing human beings with minds and lives of their own.
4. Know your values and pass on those values while children are young.
5. Bond your children to those who share similar values and beliefs. Involvement in community will be of great support to family life.
6. Be consistent, firm and fair in your discipline. Teach responsibility and the work ethic through family duties.
7. Minimize conflict and criticism within the family.
8. Accept and tolerate individual preferences while focusing attention on important values and principles.
9. Teach them to respect your authority as well as outside authority.
10. Teach them to show kindness, appreciation and tolerance for others from different races, religions and in all walks of life. Help them learn to give service to others and the community.
11. Help them develop a joy of reading and learning.
12. Have fun in the family. Create memories. Do things together that are special and different. Celebrate birthdays, holidays and special days with gusto and enthusiasm. Work and play together. Use those moments to love, teach and cherish them.
13. Provide gentle guidance and opportunities for your children to meet and develop friendships. Friendships are laboratories for learning about morality and the give-and-take in relationships.
14. Help them develop their talents and abilities. Their sense of self will grow as they explore their likes and dislikes and take pleasure in their accomplishments. Attend and support their activities. School success and extra-curricular activities build self-worth.
15. Have family meals together – it is important. The food and family interaction nurtures more than the body. It is a time of sharing and bonding.
16. Love them and encourage them.
Tyler from Building Camelot put together many amazing lists of blogs and specific posts that might appeal to men, whether they are married, have children or otherwise.
Since I’m into reading blogs by dads and appreciate the male perspective on relationships, I’m including a link back to Tyler’s posts where the lists can be found:
What am I missing? Comment here if you think I’m missing out on a great discussion or blog written from the male point-of-view.
David, over at Dad’s House, inspired this post since his statements – and the comments that followed – really struck a chord with me.
Calling a marriage a failure is damaging to our society. Imagine what it is like to be a child of divorced parents and hearing that statement (a failed marriage) throughout one’s life. No wonder they are more likely to experience divorce themselves.
Before I go into my own experience and thoughts on this, let me begin by explaining that my parents are married and have been together for over 35 years. They’ve had their difficult years and there was a time in my life where I actually wanted them to get a divorce. I felt (because I was 16 and knew so much about the world) that my mom should leave my dad and life would be peachy keen for everyone (a.k.a. me).
Obviously, I thank my lucky stars that they are still together since I see them now and realize how much I have learned from them and their relationship. No one walks into marriage without baggage and no one walks away from one without regret.
Two people come together, fall in love, make each other complete. They try to get along and lead a happy life, but over time something changes and they can’t. They split and move on.
Is that failure? If they grew from the experience, it’s evolution. If being married forced that change, then maybe the marriage served its purpose and it’s a success.
Yep, I think growth and change is definitely an evolution and our society is not one to embrace such change, unfortunately. Change and growth are scary things to many people and it’s that fear that leads to talking about marriage as either a success or failure that is damaging.
If we succeed at something, doesn’t that typically mean we no longer have goals we are trying to reach? We’ve exceeded our expectations and we no longer have to put forth any effort? Um, no.
If one chooses to remain single (and never marries) does that mean they have failed as well? NO! Marriage should not be seen as something that we need to win or lose at (success vs. fail) but rather, an experience and a relationship that changes us (hopefully, for the better). There are certainly many experiences and relationships in one’s lifetime that also produce change and we would never label them as a failure or a success. Why do we put so much pressure on marriage?
My marriage ended over two years ago. My son was a result of that relationship and I would – if only because of him – have to say that our marriage was a success. I have no regrets (although I had plenty of guilt) and I have no doubt in my mind that my son will grow up to have a healthy self-esteem, parents that love him unconditionally, and an equal and fair chance at finding that one person to spend the rest of his life with as the rest of us.