Excerpted from the book Top Ten Dangers Teens Face by Steve Arterburn and Jim Burns
Parenting isn’t easy.Life is difficult at times.But through the years we have found the five
following principles essential for a safe family environment.
Time to Relax and Enjoy Each Other.
Rest soothes, heals, and gives perspective.Why is it that, in a world of instant everything and more
timesaving gadgets than all of us can possibly use, we’re usually stressed for
and fatigue are two of the greatest distractions from positive parenting.Our children need our time and
attention.What kids often remember
most is those times mom and dad took time to play with them.Here’s our advice:Parents, quit working so hard.
Save energy for yourselves and your family.If it means moving to a smaller house or making a smaller car
payment, then do it.Life’s too short
to settle for fatigue, lack of intimacy, and busyness in the place of
meaningful relationships with your spouse and children.
What are you
doing this week that will be an absolutely enjoyable experience for you and
your children?If you don’t have a plan
stop what you’re doing and create one.
Time is too short not to celebrate with your family.The yard can wait.The dishes can wait.Turn
off the TV.Grab a few moments of joy
With Consistency.Discipline is a
training process.The primary purpose
of parental discipline is to teach responsibility rather than to evoke
obedience.This means consistently
helping your children understand that most of life involves choices and
consequences.Discipline in the home
should consist of setting clearly defined limits with your children.The vast majority of kids we meet in crisis
claim not to clearly understand family limits.
Most of those kids come from homes where discipline isn’t consistent.
to emphasize consequences.From the
earliest ages through adulthood, we all live with consequences’some good and
some bad.When it comes to family
issues, the consequences almost always are the results of our actions.If a child runs through the house and breaks
a vase, the best discipline is having to clean up the mess and help pay for a
new vase.When the act is outright
defiance, parents should not be afraid to use a stronger form of
discipline.The consequences for attitudinal
rebellion should be quick, clear, and felt.
If parents fail and allow rebellion to go uncorrected, when the child
becomes a teenager, he or she will have difficulty understanding that rebellion
will result in not-too-pleasant consequences.
Affection.Every household is
different when it comes to showing affection.
Many parents unconsciously withhold hugs, touches, and embraces simply
because ‘it wasn’t done that way when I was growing up.’Even in some of the most caring homes, many
parents stop touching their children once the children reach grade school.When they stop touching an important part of
showing God’s love also stops.
As parents and
significant adults in the lives of children, all of us should constantly model
the love of Jesus Christ.Every day
you should tell you kids, ‘I love you.’
This positive reinforcement and reminder of unconditional love will give
them the ability to go on during tough times and say no to temptation.Every day you should show physical
affection.It’s incredible what a
meaningful and appropriate touch, hug, embrace, kiss, or even a ‘high five’
will do to a young person’s self image.
Touching brings a real sense of meaningfulness and security.Every day you should listen to your kids
and pray with them.
up a Shaky Self Image.Building a
positive, healthy Christ-centered self-image in your children is one of the
primary tasks of all parents.Children
who grow up in an environment full of put-downs, negative nicknames, and
criticism often become critical adults whose self-esteem is less than
adequate.Time is valuable.And the only quality time is quantity
time’you need to spend time with your kids.
Set family time and stick to it.
In addition, you need to encourage your kids.Your kids need you to believe in them, praise them, and be
available to them.We’ve got to catch
them doing something right and tell them in order to build up their
self-esteem.Also, help your kids
practice thankfulness.Happy people are
thankful people.Get your kids focus
outside themselves.Kids with low
self-image are extremely self-absorbed.
Yet when kids are challenged to serve and become other centered, their
self-image will improve.Use every
opportunity to get your children involved in missions and service projects.
Each Other.This principle seem
obvious, but at the same time, half the people reading this are single parents
or have been remarried.Children are
much more secure in their lives when they know their parents love each other. If you’re marriage is suffering, please seek
counseling.A relationship in which
there is love, time, and energy is one of the major factors in keeping a family
together.We challenge you to stop
investing your energy elsewhere and to put it back into your marriage.With the proper amount of work, most
marriages can succeed.