Sometimes we inherit something from our parents, like the same colour of eyes or hair or maybe the same shaped nose. But were you aware that we can also inherit their character traits and tendencies?
Children are born with their own personalities but these can be influenced greatly by the behaviour and actions of their parents.
- If we are angry, bitter or negative people, our children can also become angry, bitter or negative.
- If we are self-centered and focus on ourselves more than others, our children will become selfish and lack generosity.
- If we have an addiction to cigarettes, alcohol or drugs, our children are more likely to develop an addiction.
- If we don’t have solid moral values, our children will not learn to respect themselves and others.
As parents, we have a profound affect on our children and we should ensure that we are influencing them in a positive way. This isn’t an easy task and we will make mistakes. However, we should carefully look at our own lives and try to make any necessary changes so we can become to be the best possible role model.
What are you passing on to your kids?
Have you ever wondered why some people who seem to have everything in life are unhappy, yet other people who have little or nothing seem to be bursting with joy?
People who have lots of money and possessions feel that something is missing. People who have good looks have trouble making good relationships. People who have power feel powerless. People who are surrounded by friends feel alone. There are so many people in the world who appear to have great lives but they are extremely unhappy and unfulfilled. On the other hand, people who live in poverty and struggle each day with hunger and sickness are often the happiest people you will meet.
Why does this happen? Because things of this world are temporary and can only give temporary satisfaction. Reaching for material things to bring happiness will never give you what you are looking for. You can have the perfect life, the perfect house, the perfect job, the perfect family and you still won’t be happy. Of course, it really isn’t possible to have perfection in a world that is far from perfect. When you look for happiness in objects, they will never be enough. You have to look inside you and around you.
Happiness comes from being confident in who you are, not who you want to be or what you have. It is:
- knowing that you have great abilities and qualities that make you different from anyone else
- being thankful for what you have and not desiring things you don’t need
- understanding that you were created to be special and unique
- wanting to help other people and guide them towards a better way of life
- being a positive role model
- having faith in someone bigger than yourself
We all can choose everyday to be happy or not to be happy. It is all how we look at the world around us and what we do with the gifts we have been given. When you get up tomorrow, choose to be happy and have a wonderful day!
Everyone wants to have friends. Friendships are important. Good friends help us learn and grow, they help us build confidence, they help us enjoy life. When we are surrounded by people who care about us, we are able to navigate through life’s ups and downs and feel their love and support.
Children especially need friends to help them grow emotionally, socially and morally. They need mainly people their own age, although children can become friends with those who are older or younger. Many parents try to be a friend to their child, thinking they are being loving, but this will only stop a child from becoming independent and responsible. Parents should be a parent, a mentor, a teacher, someone who is there to guide them, support them, discipline them and mostly love them. Parents should be a good example to their children, helping them learn how to become a good friend to others and encouraging them to find positive friendships. Without friendships, children may easily become depressed, lonely and lack ambition which can result in poor health, poor performance in school or work, failed marriages and difficulty coping as an adult.
What does it take to be a good friend? It comes from a combination of teaching and experience. Good friends are able to :
- communicate their feelings in a positive way
- understand the feelings of others
- show empathy
- be trustworthy
- not gossip or spread false rumours
- take responsibility for their own actions
- solve problems and resolve conflicts
- forgive easily and not hold grudges
- distinguish right from wrong
- make good choices
- stand up for what they believe
- withstand bullying and understand that bullies have their own issues to deal with
- be loyal even when a friend is hurting physically or emotionally
- get along with others even during difficult times
- accept differences in people
- own up to their mistakes and not blame others
- have fun and enjoy life
If you want to have good friends, you have to be a good friend. Be a good example to your children and teach them to be a good example to others. Discourage them from having friends who continually hurt them through gossiping, excluding them, ignoring them or trying to get them to do things they know is wrong. Even having 1 good friend is better than having 20 bad friends. You are the biggest influence in your child’s life so make sure you are influencing them in a positive way.
Let’s face it – life IS difficult and there are so many things that we can worry about – our families, our jobs, our friends, our finances, our future. However, what value does worrying have? The answer is – absolutely none!! Worry doesn’t make anything better and it won’t resolve any problems. Worry is just a major cause of stress and we know that stress can kill us.
So if we are worrying about everything in our lives, then we are impacting everyone around us, especially our children. Think about it – our children are watching everything we say and do and will likely pick up any bad habits we have, like worrying! We are giving them a terrible gift, one that will harm their health and possibly destroy any close parent/child relationship.
Are you teaching your children to worry? If you are a worrier, take some steps to change this bad habit. Write down your worries and try to change your perspective on them. Ask yourself why you are worrying so much. Try to focus on a positive solution and have faith that things will usually turn out okay. The fact is, about 95% of the things we worry about never happen!
Unless we are completely alone, everything we say and do has an effect on other people. We can be a good example or we can be a bad example depending on what kind of words and actions we are using. The best thing we can do is to lead by example and have a positive impact on everyone around us, especially our children.
- If you want your children to show respect to others, you can’t call people names and run them down.
- If you want your children to tell the truth, you can’t call in sick to work and then go and play golf
- If you want your children to be kind to others, you can’t ignore that homeless person lying on the ground
- If you want your children to be healthy, you can’t eat unhealthy foods or abuse substances yourself
If you want your children to grow up to become responsible adults, you have to show them what a responsible adult looks like. You can’t just tell them or try to force them into a mold. They will learn best from your positive example.
This doesn’t mean that you should try to be a perfect parent. There is no such thing! Do the best you can and aim for excellence not perfection. You will make mistakes. Don’t try to cover them up and pretend you are perfect. Show your child that you do fail but that you learn from your mistakes and keep trying to do better.
What kind of example are you?
Teaching our children to have manners is important but teaching them to be thankful can benefit them in more ways than just saying ‘please and thank-you’. Being thankful helps us live a better life because we are looking for the positives in life instead of the negatives.
Studies have shown that people who are thankful tend to be happier and more confident. They are able to deal with difficult situations in a positive way and make better decisions. They have better relationships and treat others with respect. They are less likely to be depressed or anxious.
When children are taught to appreciate what they have and are able to understand that everything in life doesn’t come easily, they are less apt to be selfish, self-centered individuals.
So how can we teach our kids to be thankful? Here are 10 suggestions:
- Be a thankful role model. Children learn best from our example. They are always watching us and will often imitate what they see. Show them that you are thankful for all the wonderful things in your life. Be polite to others people and show courtesy and respect. “Thank-you for listening to me.” “I’m so thankful for my nice warm bed.” “Thanks for cleaning up your room.”
- Expect your children to show good manners. Children should say please and thank-you. They should sit at the table until everyone has finished their meal. They should be quiet when an elderly family member is sleeping. They should write thank-you letters when they receive a gift. Gently remind your children when they forget to be polite.
- Have a special ‘thankful’ meal every week. Start the meal with a simple grace and then ask everyone to share something that they are thankful for.
- Keep a gratitude journal. Encourage your children to write down things they are thankful for and then have a gratitude day where everyone can share their thoughts.
- Make a gratitude jar. Write down things you are thankful for on slips of paper and put them in the jar. Pick a special time to pull them out and read them.
- Play gratitude charades. Have everyone think of something they are thankful for and act it out. If you are thankful for having a puppy, walk on all fours. If you are thankful for having good food to eat, pretend you are cooking. Be creative.
- Tell your children how thankful you are that they are in your family. Tell them how thankful you are for their smile, their hugs, their special way of doing (something).
- Refrain from giving your children too many material things and encourage them to save their allowance or get a job to pay for any special items they may want. This teaches them to appreciate the value of money and hard work.
- Encourage them to donate their time or money to help a worthy cause. Help them understand that many people are struggling and need someone to help them. Allow them to feel the positive energy of helping others.
- Catch them complaining and try to help them find something to be grateful for. If they are complaining about not getting a new toy or the latest technology, have them make a list about the great things they already have.
- Read stories and watch movies about gratitude. This will reinforce what you are teaching them and help them see things from a different perspective.
- Bake cookies for your neighbours, your school or place of work and attach a note telling them how thankful you are for knowing them.
It doesn’t matter if your children are 2 years old or 42 years old, you can still help them become more thankful by being a positive role model.
We should never measure ourselves against other people because we are all unique individuals. We can’t possibly be the same as somebody else and we are not supposed to be. Many of the people we are comparing ourselves to, are often very insecure about themselves.
Teens need to develop confidence and increase their self-esteem so they will be able to stand up to negative peer pressures and make good choices in life. As parents, we can help our own children and any teens we are connected to. Here are some ways that we can help them build esteem:
- Show love – Take very opportunity to show how much you love your children. No, they don’t just know!!! You have to tell them and show them. A child who feels loved at home won’t go looking for love in all the wrong places.
- Be encouraging – Life will always have problems and teens are very sensitive when they fail or do something wrong. They need to be encouraged to keep going and know that you will support them.
- Have an open mind – Teens need to know that you that you are listening to them and that you are not going to judge everything they say. You may not always agree with what they are saying, but they aren’t you and they will think differently. Be honest and open. Teens will talk to whoever with listen, so make sure that person is you.
- Be a positive role model – Teens always watch the people around them to see how they speak and act, so we need to make sure we are presenting a positive example for them to follow. Be the person you want your teen to be.
- Choose your words carefully – Your words have the power to impact your teen in a positive or negative way. Once your words are spoken, they can’t be taken back, so be very careful you don’t say something that is damaging. Say things that remind them of their great abilities and strengths.
- Spend time with them – Teens do like to spend time with their parents as it makes them feel valued. Plan some special times as a family and also one-on-one, to build a closer relationship. Make sure you aren’t spending time criticizing them or they will prefer to spend time with someone else.
The teen years are very difficult and your teen really needs your love and support. Be there for them and help them navigate through all the challenges they face. You will face obstacles and often feel like nothing is working, but if you keep the lines of communication open and keep trying to maintain a good relationship, your teen will feel your support and know how much you care.
Society tries to make us believe that having more of everything is a good thing. If we have more money, more possessions and more power then we will have a better life. If we have more friends, more intimate relationships, eat more and fill our lives with more activity, we will find happiness. Really?
What is the result of having MORE of everything? It leads to more depression, more sickness, more loneliness, more stress, more debt, more broken marriages and families, more unwanted pregnancies, more sexual diseases, more addictions and more teens having serious problems that carry on into their adult years.
Money, possessions and power can’t bring us happiness and it can’t mend all the brokenness in the world. What we need is MORE love, MORE compassion, MORE kindness. These are things that money can’t buy yet they have a much higher value.
More CAN be better if we put our priorities in the right place and stop listening to the voice of the world telling us how we should live. We don’t have to follow the crowd and go in the wrong direction. We need to learn how to listen to our own inner voice and always do what we know is right. It isn’t easy being a person of integrity in this fallen world, but we can start being a positive example to other people.
I just watched a video that was very upsetting but didn’t really surprise me. 3 generations were asked the question, ‘When you were a kid, what did you do for fun?” Of course, when they asked the younger generation, it applied to what they did for fun right now. The answers cut right into my heart. Watch the video and then ask yourself these questions:
- How does this make me feel?
- Am I personally allowing my children to develop these behaviours?
- What can I do to be a better role model?
- How can I help make positive changes in my children, grandchildren and other children around me?