I constantly preach consistency when raising children, from the time your kids are very little. Though each child has her own personality and a sense of her own beliefs, she will be molded by the lessons you teach her. If you consistently follow through, and demonstrate your beliefs through your own actions, your children will incorporate these values into their own personalities.
The hard part for a parent is recognizing that you’ve done your job and you must trust that you did it well. That means trusting your children.
According to well-known family therapist Daniel Gottlieb, best known for his award-winning radio talk show Voices in the Family on WHYY, and his most recent book, Learning from the Heart, the most important thing parents can do is have faith in their children. “Have faith in your children’s resilience, their capacity to heal, their creativity to solve problems, their intellect, kindness and their ability to grow into the adult they were meant to be,” Dr. Dan explains.
How do you that? Dr. Gottlieb says that to have faith means to take less action. “I think most harm done to our children is due to parental anxiety,” he insists. “For example, we hear phrases like ‘stranger danger.’ What’s the message there? I’m worried about you, my child, and you have to worry about the world. The fact of the matter is there are no more kidnappings and child abductions than there were in 1960 and 95% of them are done by family members. That’s what I mean by parental anxiety. By and large, our kids are fine, yet parents feel stress about everything their children do, and they pass that stress down to the kids.”
Parenting isn’t easy and many of us wish we could just live our kids’ lives for them in order to keep them safe. With our experiences, we know what’s best. Yet, we must give them our faith and trust to do the right thing. Of course they will make mistakes along the way – that’s how we all learn. We make a mistake, figure out where things went wrong, and are able to do better the next time. Give your children the opportunities to make a few mistakes along the way, and remember that you taught them well. They are likely to follow the example you set.