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Monday, August 20, 2012

Raising Girls to Be Strong Women

The life of a parent is not easy.  When our children are born they do not come with instruction manuals that tell us what we should do daily to ensure that the end result of our parenting is well adjusted, productive people.  I have at times sat sad and confused about how to parent my daughters.  However, I can proudly admit that no matter how any mistakes that I have made along the way, I have pretty great kids.  I truly thank God every day for this reality.  I know what it means when someone says that there is power in a mother's prayers.  My advice is that when you are confused, pray even harder.  By no means are my girls angels but they are great people and while I did not have an instruction manual here are some things that worked for me especially as a single mother.

1. Talk honestly and openly with your children but remember your discussions should be age appropriate.

2. Get your children involved in your community, church and/or sports.

3. Discipline your children as appropriate.  Some children respond better to timeouts or stern admonishment.  Some children you may have to spank.  Learn which approach works best  with your child.

4. It takes a village to raise a child.  Group parenting with close friends that you respect and trust works well.  Others sometime can get through to your children when you cannot.  And yes...they will sometime just reinforce what you have been saying all along.

5.  Be respectful to your children.  It is ok to say please and thank you to them.

6.  Remember always that you are their parent and not their friend.

7.  There is never a compromise when it come to right or wrong, legal or illegal.

8.  What you do and what you say count.  Your children are always watching and are little "mini me's".

9. Don't be afraid to set high standard and goals for your children and provide structure.

10. Spend one on one time with your children in their room. Talk with them for 30 minutes to one hour in their rooms.  Observe the contents of their room.  Ask questions about anything in their rooms that peeks your interest. Openly discuss anything in their room that causes you concern.  Remember...while you respect them, you are not their friend and they have no privacy that is not earned in your home. Trust equates to privacy. Distrust equates to no privacy.

Bonus: Both parents are important.  Children need their mother and father.  Don't be afraid to get a Godmother or Godfather for your children if the other parent is irresponsible.  Having both  sexes involved in the raring of a child adds dimension and perspective to a child's life.  Put aside differences when possible for the sake of your child.  Don't be afraid to ask for support from friends.

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