Being a dad is one of the great joys of my life. I think there’s a lot that hangs in the balance of how well I parent. As a pastor I’ve seen lots of parents who wish they could go back and do these years over. I’ve also met parents who really parented well. Sure they made their share of mistakes, but overall they have a great sense of peace about their parenting and the relationship they have with their kids as adults. Here are 6 things I see these parents do with their kids:
1. Speak their love language
Speaking your child’s love language is all about conveying unconditional love, respect, and acceptance in a way that is meaningful to your children. You may experience love one way, like receiving gifts or having people help you with your work, but your child may experience it in a completely different way like hugs, spending time together, or receiving words of affirmation. They key is to figure out how your child experiences love and give that to them as often as possible. This free website can help you figure out what your kids’ primary love language is.
2. Tell them what you see is right about them
Kids usually only hear from adults when they’ve done something wrong. And that’s not always a bad thing. But that shouldn’t be the only time your kids hear from you. You also want your kids to hear from you when you’ve noticed them do something right and well. Those times make it easier for your kids to hear from you when you have to talk to them about something they should stop doing.
3. Write lots of hand written notes
Telling your kids what you see right is great. But there’s also something powerful about writing it down, too. Our spoken words can be forgotten but a note can be pulled out a read over and over again (and often times is). Hand written notes carry a lot of meaning, especially in our digital age, because it takes more effort.
4. Show up at milestones and events
I think a lot of parenting is just showing up. You don’t always have to have the answers but your presence carries power. It says, “I love you and you’re important to me.” It shows you would rather be with them, hanging out and cheering them, on then doing something else. The greatest present you may ever give your kids is your presence.
5. Plan memories
Great parents know how to plan memories. Whether its saving up for a vacation to Disneyland, a day playing hookie from school to hang out just the two of you, going up to the mountains to play in the snow, a day at the Beach, or a surprise visit to someone they admire are all great ways to make memories that will last a lifetime.
6. Capture moments
Not everything in life can be planned. When the unexpected happens its important for us to help our kids capture those moments and life lessons. Whether its learning how to say goodbye to someone we care about, taking responsibility for our mistakes, or seeing how God was working in a circumstance or season we need to help our kids process the moments in their life well.