I have been a parent for over 18 years so I have a few thoughts on being a parent.
1. Discipline your children often when they are small. It is ok to spank them. It won’t kill them. The boundaries you set on them early in life will impact them when they are older.
2. Tell them “no” when they are small. It is a mistake to say “yes” just because you can or to give them something you didn’t have as a child. Kids should learn to go without every new toy or game.
3. Don’t try to catch your child doing something wrong. Some parents get into a mode of trying to catch their child in a bad situation. You will catch them if they are doing something wrong. You don’t want to think constant negativity about your child’s intentions.
4. Keep your communication open. I take my kids out around the block all the time. I have done this since each of them were young. We just walk around the block. I intentionally don’t speak. I only listen. I think of it as an amnesty period. I never discipline them for anything they say while we are walking around the block. I sometimes ask questions and I do very little correcting. You would be surprised what my kids share simply because I listen.
5. Never leave a doubt that you love them. I tell my kids I love them every day. When they fail, I tell them I love them. If I die tomorrow, my kids will know that I love them. You don’t need to save up “I love you” for special occasions. Say it often to your children.
6. It is ok for your children to fail. Don’t take it offensively. Don’t even try to prevent failure. Don’t warn them about failure at every turn. Teach them that failure is the path to success.
7. Never yell at your children. There is no reason to yell at your children. You will be heard with a soft voice. I have never cursed in front of my children. Cursing takes away from our effectiveness and credibility.
8. Explain everything about sex to your children. Tell them about intercourse, oral sex, anal sex and masturbation. Everything should be on the table. You don’t want their friends to tell them so tell them first. They should be able to communicate all of their failures and experiences with sex to you as their parent.
9. Do not undermine authority. Don’t teach your child to only obey you. Teach them to obey every authority. I have watched as parents trashed teachers. I have watched at ball games as parents yell at referees. If you blame referees their team losing, you are teaching them to lose. A referee might make one or two mistakes. but chances are the players in the game made more mistakes so let them correct the mistakes.
10. Do not control what your child is going to be in life. Shape their thinking without shaping their destiny. There are thousands of good jobs. Let your child pick their path.
11. Whatever you want your child to become, be it yourself. A lecture is not as effective as a consistent example.