Guiding Principles for Parents

For “Road Map to Success” by Robert Witt, HAIS

Here are basic and timeless principles to help children at all ages grow up to be “good” and “smart,” whether making friends, developing skills and knowledge, or just navigating through life.

What you do matters. Parents are their children’s first and most powerful teachers, so whether it’s your own behavior or the way you treat others, your children are learning from what you do. Try to make your life a living example of good, moral behavior for your child to see and emulate.

Be consistent. One of the most important parenting tools is consistency, because it helps to make your child’s world predictable and less confusing. The more your authority is based on wisdom and not power, the less your child will challenge it, and the more he or she will develop into self-confident adults.

Be involved in your child’s life. Parenting takes time and hard work, constantly rethinking and rearranging your priorities and being there mentally as well as physically for your children. Being involved does not mean doing your child’s homework, but being there to provide guidance and support.

Establish rules. Children need boundaries, rules and structure in order to know what to expect and what is expected of them.This helps them to understand the difference between right and wrong, shapes the rules they apply to themselves, and contributes to the nurturing of “good” friendships.

Foster your child’s independence. Encouraging independence helps your child develop a sense of self-direction, and setting limits helps your child develop a sense of self-control. To be successful in life, your child will need both.

Treat your child with respect. To gain respect, you must also give respect. Speak politely, respect opinions, pay attention and treat him or her kindly. Your relationship with your child is the foundation for their relationships with others.

Use teachable moments. A teachable moment is an unplanned event that you can use as a learning opportunity for your children. Whether it’s new information, values, a new behavior or skill, or a new way of expressing and coping with an emotion, teachable moments can help your child develop solid moral beliefs.