After an incident of physical abuse by my brother, my son entered into a time of rebellion that coupled with a few bad choices that he made, made him be sent away in the last year of his primary school education as well as led me to transfer him in his first year of secondary school .
I found myself overwhelmed by blame and accusation from all sides, my prayers became increasingly frantic and I became a bit resentful of my son.
Then God reminded me to be grateful that I have a son by reminding me how many people want a child. That reminder filled me gratitude for my kids.
God has taught how to cheer on my son as well as be his coach. He also reminded me that to him am every bit as prodigal as my son is to me, yet he(God) loves me unconditionally.God my father has continually comforted and walked with me as I raise this boy and yes we are making progress day by day.
This is what God has taught me about raising kids.
1.A parent should be his child’s greatest cheerleader and coach. A cheerleader cheers the team no matter how badly the team is doing and a coach observes the team’s weaknesses and strength in the field and harnesses those to better the team’s performance.
The community is the field, the team is our kids, and we are the cheerleaders as well as coaches.Helping my daughter make a decision about what career to pursue is hard, I have had to observe her very well to understand where she thrives more and she thrives more on practical things than on theoretical things..
2.Let them know you love them unreservedly and undeservedly- be obvious about your love and your affection for them; let them know that your love is not pegged on their behavior and performance.
Let your kids know that they are your blessings and you are grateful to have them.
Remember whether you got them by plan or by accident- it’s you who brought them into this world; they did not ask to be brought into this world.
3. Let them know the values and principles that you live by and give them room to make their own choices.
Remember: Kids learn by observing you (Kids are very good at spotting inconsistencies) They will do as you do, not as you say.
Remember the confusion that you had when you were about that age; the things you wish someone had taken time to teach you; things like sexuality management, financial management and emotional intelligence.
4. Choose the right words when communicating and be ready to explain why you are making the suggestion e.g. “Am not comfortable with you hanging out with john” is better than “I do not want to see you hanging out with John”.
One statement will make your child become more watchful, the other statement will inspire him to rebel.
Remember: make suggestions and avoid commanding language;explanations give your counsel legs to stand in your kid's mindsI had a bad vibe about a friend of my son, I told him my discomfort about it, I also told him it was a hunch that the boy was bad influence, my son dropped the boy as a friend when later the boy brought beer to a hangout and my son drank the beer and was thrown out of the joint for causing chaos. He tells me he does not know how he got home.
Remember: if they feel that they cannot trust you with their questions or they are not free to ask your counsel for decisions they need to make, they will consult others and make choices behind your back.The first time I was called at school by my son's teacher, my son had not told me the truth, but then I had gotten into the habit of letting my siblings influence my attitude towards my son;God made me see my mistake.After the incident I told my son to tell me if he messed up, that I did not want to hear it from 2nd parties but from him no matter unpalatable the truth was. this is our policy to date.
5. Do not display childish behaviors in front of your child- sulking, nagging, name calling and other childish behaviors; your child will not respect you if you do.
Remember - when your child respects you, he will pay attention to your counsel; if your child does not respect you, he will rebel against your counsel.
6.Choose to understand and from that understanding, make the decisions you need to make.
Let your child know when they have disappointed you-remember no name calling, sulking and nagging. State your disappointment in as few words as you can.
Remember –they are already aware of how much they have failed you .Do not make worse their sense of failure and remind them that failure is not final and very few mistakes end being fatal.
Remember to applaud more than criticize –when your child makes a mistake show them the mistake and teach a lesson from that mistake;Notice good decisions and applaud those decisions.
7. Do not vacillate-when you create a boundary, state the consequences for boundary pushing. Children may rebel against boundaries but they appreciate when you create boundaries for them; it shows that you love and are concerned about them.
Remember-Enforce the consequences for boundary pushing, your children will appreciate it. by the way enforcing boundaries can be very hard when you are dealing with a troubled child.
8. Do not let other people carry blame for things your children have done. Let your children own their mistakes and the consequences that come with those mistakes.
Remember- the sooner that your kids understand that every action has a consequence, the better for them.
When I removed my son from his previous school,we had to find a school as soon as we could because he had already lost some days at home; the school we found was not in the class of the previous school. Any attempt by my son to complain is silenced by the fact that it's his mistake that put him in that position.
9. Other than God, no one else should know your kids better than you do- listen, watch and observe your kids. this will put you in a position to notice behaviour changes in your kids early so you pray out bad behavior change as well pray for and encourage good behavior change.
Remember- attentive parents are in a better position to notice bad behavior change in their kids early before the behavior is entrenched.
10. Pray, pray and pray for your kids, involve God in raising your kids. Parents who pray for their kids and are attentive to the spirit of God are in a better position to make wise decisions regarding their kids than parents who do not. The spirit of God knows the heart of God and He will guide you to pray for your kids as you should.
Remember- you are a co-worker with Christ in raising your kids and he will guide you if you ask him.