* Never lose faith in your children! If you can’t determine what’s right or wrong when a child claims innocence in some situation, and there’s no way to prove otherwise, it is almost always the wisest thing to let it pass, rather than risk punishing or judging unjustly for something. Try taking your child’s word for it!—such love will prove your faith in them and will inspire them not to disappoint your trust. Showing a child that you trust and believe in him shows him that you love him.
* Try putting yourself in your child’s place as much as possible. This will give you a much better understanding of him. Make it a habit to try to see things through their eyes and understanding. Ask yourself, “what if this were I? How would I want to be treated in this situation if I were in his shoes?—if I were only 5 years old and were the one being laughed at by the adults, how would I feel?” What may seem cute or funny to us, may be very embarrassing and humiliating to a child. Most of us know what it’s like to be embarrassed, hurt or slighted by others. Realizing that such unpleasant experiences can be much more traumatic and painful to a small inexperienced child should cause us to do our best to spare them from such incidents. By putting yourself in as close a situation as you can think of to your child’s situation, imagining how you would feel, you will gain a much better understanding of him and his feelings.
* Praise and encouragement are one of the most important parts of child training. Be generous with praise and appreciate your child’s good intentions and strong points. For example, if your son makes a failing grade on his school work, you can still find something to commend him for, his neat handwriting, perhaps. There’s always some good to be praised and appreciated. All children thrive on praise. It’s more important to praise a child for his good deeds and his good behavior than it is to scold him for his bad behavior. Try to always accentuate the positive!
Of course, it’s important when giving praise and appreciation to remain honest and sincere, and it must relate to him or her. For example, you may consider your pre-teen daughter to be beautiful, but if she perhaps doesn’t compare favorably to many others her age, in spite of your opinion and feeling on the matter, she could think that you are being insincere or falsely flattering if you are constantly telling her how beautiful she is. So why not commend her in some other positive area in which she excels and shines: her eloquence of speech or her good grades or her loving, sweet character and spirit.
Be outspoken with praise for your children. Just about everyone loves kids, but it’s extremely important that the children know this by hearing you say it and seeing you show it.
All these suggestions and pointers are ways to put love into action! Love is not “real” or practically applied without a living example by you and me, today’s parents who are molding the future! The world of tomorrow is what the mothers and fathers of today make it, according to the way we raise our children!
Excerpted from writings by D.B. Berg. © The Family International. Used with permission.