Back-to-school is just around the corner, and with that comes back-to-after-school-activities.
Yep, not only do you need to think about new school hats, backpacks and shoes, but also swim gear, netball shoes and other paraphernalia insert as appropriate. Joining a sport is great for the physical and mental well being of a child, and parents exert a huge influence over how much they get out of it. You know the one. Swearing at the ref for supposed bad calls. Berating their kid for missed goals.
At the extreme level, you get parents like these :. Team sports encourage cooperation and respect for others, important skills that will apply in all areas of life.
They may also make life long friends. To raise children in righteousness, to help them become men and women of God, and to teach them love and respect for their parents is an enormous responsibility requiring faith, work, patience, example, skill, and love. I have never seen more need for love than the time I sat in a counseling session with a fifteen-year-old boy and his parents.
The boy appeared ashamed as his father critically exposed his problems: theft at age eight, trouble with teachers at age eleven, problems with police at age thirteen. Now he was failing in school, was in trouble again for stealing, and was having problems with alcohol. The boy hung his head, tears flowing from his eyes.
While his mother wept, torn by her loyalties for two people she loved, his father continued berating and belittling him. Why do you do these things? Unfortunately, although most parents love their children very much, their love may not show in their parental skills. Caught up in the mechanics of daily living, parents sometimes fail to treat their children as unique human individuals.
Our approach to children should be tailored and constantly adapted to their changing personalities and circumstances. The process is like buying a coat for a child.
Even if we find a perfect fit, eventually the child outgrows the coat. In rearing children, we do the best we can, aligning our approach with our highest ideals and standards. First, we should learn to listen to our children, to observe them, and to understand them.
What do they say? What do they do? How do they see things? What is on their minds? How do they feel? I remember a young man who came to my office for counseling. One of his most vivid memories was of a father who listened.
Second, we should not abuse, criticize, or put down our children. Positive words and encouragement are more effective than sarcasm, criticism, or abuse, which can have long-lasting impact on self-esteem. I know a year-old man who was considered a successful professional and prominent Church leader.
However, he did not feel good about himself. In the face of concrete evidence to the contrary, he denied his own self-worth. A system of rewards and consequences is important, but an unconditional compliment or gift can be very effective in teaching and guiding. Approval of children should not depend entirely on behavior and performance. We all make mistakes. In my family, we deal with the business and teaching aspects of our lives in a Sunday family council, which is different from family home evening on Monday. We plan well in advance, and the children always look forward to home evening.
No matter how tough the rest of the week might be, we all know that Monday night will be fun and meaningful. Fourth, we need to make time for our children and spend that time wisely. Relationships should not be sacrificed for trivia like television. Time spent on trivia could be better spent participating in great family experiences as we work and worship together, study the scriptures, and serve others.
Parenting probably outweighs genes, money and school — and it may matter most before the child turns three. The middle classes sense this. They read parenting books, do pregnancy yoga, and quarrel on chat sites about whether eating sushi harms the foetus. Some poor parents do this.
Several graduated from university. However, few poor people study parenting in the obsessive middle-class way. Anyway, they usually lack time and resources. Raising children even in a two-parent middle-class family is exhausting. Early-childhood advocates aim to help parents like these.
Yet many have no idea how to do it. There are a few simple things new parents could be told: speak to your child a lot. Read to it, sing to it, sit on the floor when you play with it, feed it healthy stuff. This advice could be delivered through health services, which typically deal with new mothers anyway.
She admitted that previously she had been significantly more involved in the lives of television characters than in the lives of her children. For a father, custody proceedings in a courtroom may be difficult to handle, so he may prefer the smaller, friendlier setting associated with mediation or arbitration. I know a year-old man who was considered a successful professional and prominent Church leader. You may find it helpful to track your actual time so you know how to prepare your custody plan and to make sure the plan is followed. A court will rely on this attendance as evidence of a meaningful relationship. When I started doing that, there was more wiggle room in my budget to buy my son the basketball shoes he really wanted or take our family to a kid-friendly vacation.
And society can make bigger interventions: for instance, ensuring that mother and baby eat properly. Society can also send kids to preschool — not in order to study flashcards, but to learn life skills like concentration and dealing with others. James Heckman, the Nobel-winning Chicago economist, says these skills will help the child learn, and tend to translate into everything from larger incomes to avoiding jail.