toddlerFor those of us that have raised kids it is no secret that it is hard work.  It takes time, money, patience, sacrifice and consistency just to name a few. When you think about it, our kids reflect who we are. When we have trouble controlling our anger, our children usually do also.  When we are patient, our children usually learn to be patient.  Although, it seems like they learn the bad behaviors easier than they learn the good ones.

To raise good kids, we need to be a good example for them to follow.  When we are hard workers, we can teach our kids to be hard workers, but we have to teach them.  It does not magically just happen.  When we swear, our kids learn to swear and when we drink, our kids learn to drink.

My husband used to chew tobacco and he always told his son, never chew tobacco.  When his son was sixteen my husband found out he was chewing tobacco.  My husband’s actions were speaking so loudly, his son did not hear anything he was saying.  My husband quit chewing that day, but unfortunately his son is still chewing and that was 20 years ago.

If we want our children to have integrity, we must have integrity and be consistent in living a life that is real and honest. When we respect our kids and tell them the truth about who we are and that we struggle, they will respect that. Teaching our kids that we are not perfect and our performance is separate from our value, shows them that we love them for who they are, not what they do. Their behavior is separate from their value. When we discipline our children we discipline the behavior not who they are.

Yes, raising kids is hard, but the rewards are great if we stay the course.  Raise them with the freedom to be their own person and love them enough to teach them what that looks like.  Liking ourselves and living a consistent, honorable life is the best gift we can give our kids and it is key to raising a good kid.

Vickie Parker, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Online Counseling