Parenting is not complicated.
Challenging, at times? Certainly.
But ultimately, your role is rather simple:
To care for your child, just as you would care for yourself.
To model the kind of behavior that you want your child to adopt.
To teach your child right from wrong.
To keep your child safe from harm.
To love your child unconditionally.
That essentially covers it.
In the spirit of simplicity, here are 10 simple (but vital) life lessons to teach your kids before they turn 10.
1. Being kind is one of the most important “achievements.” Accomplishing other things — like getting high marks on an exam — is great. But what truly matters is how you treat people — including how you treat yourself. What truly matters is being loving and kind.
2. There’s more than enough love for everyone. (For an only child: “I can love you and your mom / dad.” For a child with siblings: “I can love you and your brothers / sisters. There’s enough love for all of you — and I love all of you equally.”)
3. Your body — and everything about it — is beautiful. Period.
4. Take good care of your body. Keep it clean. Feed it enough, but not too much. Keep it healthy and strong. Your body is so good to you. Think of all the amazing things it allows you to do — like run, skip, snuggle, hug, even eat dessert!
5. We are all unique. We all have different gifts and talents. You don’t have to be the best at anything. Just do your best.
Make warm memories. Your children will probably not remember anything that you say to them, but they will recall the family rituals - like bedtimes and game night - that you do together.
6. You are never alone. Even when you’re by yourself, like in your room, I’m always thinking of you and loving you.
7. It’s important to share with others. It’s good to share toys, to share ideas, and to teach other kids how to do things that you already know how to do — like how to tie your shoe laces, or how to throw a ball farther across the field. (To teach this particular lesson to your child, model generosity & service, yourself.)
8. It’s also OK to say “No,” sometimes. If there’s a particular toy that you don’t want to share — because it’s special to you, like a gift from grandma — it’s OK to say, “No, I would rather not share.” You don’t have to say “Yes” to everyone, every time. But be kind when you say “No.”
9. It’s important to respect your parents. Everything we do, we are doing because we love you, we want you to keep you safe, and we want you to grow up and have the best life you can possibly have. (To inspire your child to respect you, lead by example. Treat yourself and others with respect.)
Although counselors are committed to confidentiality, all mental health professionals are considered "mandated reporters," which means that they are required by law to report suspected child abuse or neglect to appropriate state authorities, such as the Department of Children and Families or Child Protective Services.
10. You are loved, no matter what.
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Suzanne Gelb, PhD, JD, is a psychologist and author. She believes that it is never too late to become the person you want to be: Strong. Confident. Calm. Creative.
Her insights on personal growth have been featured on more than 200 radio programs, 260 TV interviews and online on Time, Forbes, Newsweek, The Huffington Post, NBC's Today, The Daily Love, Positively Positive, and much more.
To learn more, visit DrSuzanneGelb.com .
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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always contact your qualified health provider before implementing or modifying any personal growth or wellness program or technique, and with any questions about your well-being.
Make your own family media use plan. Media should work for you and within your family values and parenting style. When used thoughtfully and appropriately, media can enhance daily life. But when used inappropriately or without thought, media can displace many important activities such as face-to-face interaction, family-time, outdoor-play, exercise, unplugged downtime and sleep.