“Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.”
Proverbs 20:11 ESV
Raising good kids is not rocket science. Now, before I get on my soap box, let me define “good kids.” They are the ones the kindergarten teachers love to get. They sit down when they are told, raise their hands before speaking and interact well with others. Good kids are respectful to adults and their peers. They are quiet when they are told to be and play like wild comanches when free to do so. They clean up after themselves and take responsibility for their actions. Notice, nothing was mentioned about intelligence, athletic ability or talent. It is always character that counts. Hopefully, at this point, you haven’t thrown your chips in and thought that it’s impossible to raise a kid like that. I beg to differ. I stick to my opening statement, that raising good kids is not rocket science.
Okay, here we go. “Good Kid 101.” Push aside all the psychological mumble jumbo, and there are only two essential elements in the job description. As parents, we all make a thousand mistakes, but if these two steps are faithfully followed, then the chances of offering functioning adults to a society that desperately needs them is greatly increased. Children need discipline and love. These two principles must be firmly rooted into the fiber of their lives at a very young age. They know that your word is law, and they are confident of your love. The balance of these two is the key to it all.
Discipline is of the greatest importance because if your child doesn’t respect you, the possibility for a loving relationship is destroyed. By discipline I don’t mean harshness, I mean firmness. Children should obey your command the first time. Stop counting! Never repeat a clear command. Obedience is doing what they’re told, when they’re told and with a good attitude. NEVER ignore a bad attitude, it is the seed bed of bad behavior. They should know that misbehavior brings swift punishment. Kids are not built to be in charge; you are. Their security lives inside strong boundaries put in place by committed parents.
Secondly, love them unconditional. Read to them. Play with them. Teach your kid to hit a ball or fly a kite. Take the time to listen to them about their day. They have troubles too. Give them freedom to be a kid. They are going to be childish at times, so don’t expect more from them than their age permits. Respect them and allow them to make choices. (with limits) Never expect two kids to be alike. Laugh with them, wrestle with them and by all means, get down on the floor and act goofy with them. It’s kind of fun to be a kid again.
If all this sounds old fashion, it is, and the quicker parents discover that the old paths worked, the better. By the way, I didn’t say it was easy, I said it wasn’t rocket science. You’ll make a bunch of mistakes, but if you give them healthy doses of discipline and love, they’ll turn out fine.