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As a parent, there is so much that we want to do for our children.  Although we do not have complete control over the world around us, there is a lot we can do to raise happy and healthy children.  Parenting is not always easy, however, by knowing what we want for our children, we can guide them through their childhood.

Every parent wants their child to have good self esteem.  There will be times that no matter what we do as a parent; our child will not feel good about themselves.  This is something most of us have experienced in our own lives.  However, there is a lot we can do to help our children develop a positive self image and positive sense of self worth. 

Young children typically derive their feelings of self worth from the actions and words of their parents, teachers and other important adults in their lives. That is why it is so important to remind our children that they are special and have a great sense of worth.  We must also let our children know that it is ok to make mistakes in life.  No one in this world does everything perfectly.  Our children need to be taught that self worth is not measured by how well you do everything.  We must identify our children’s strengths and let them know the importance of their own individual talents and skills.

From early on we need to look for our children’s talents and special abilities.  In doing so, we can help our children to maximize their own potential.  Each child has their own set of talents.  They all have great potential and opportunities in this life.  We need to show our children how they can further develop their talents and how they can benefit from these talents.  As children enter into their teen years, it is especially important to help them further their abilities.  In doing so, we can help them find their path in life as well as assist them in identifying possible career choices as well as what post high school educational path would best suit their skills.

Dependence and Independence are also traits we need to familiarize ourselves with us parents.  Of course, infants and very young children are completely dependent on us.  However, as children begin to grow, they search for a sense of their own independence.  It starts out simply enough when children are still young.  They want to dress themselves and do relatively simple tasks on their own.  As children grow into pre-teens, they start seeking more and more independence.  Teenagers often believe they are old enough to handle nearly complete independence.  They, of course, are not really ready for this just yet.  As parents it is important to allow our children to gain some sense of independence.

Children and teenagers feel better about themselves when they can do certain tasks on their own.  Older children also can benefit from some independent decision making.  This helps them prepare for the “adult world.”  The time will come for each child when they must enter the world and make decisions on their own.  If we never allowed our children the opportunity to make some mature decisions on their own while still under our care, they would be ill prepared to enter the world.

We cannot grant our children complete independence even when they become high school students.  Our children will still need some guidance and assistance in many of the decisions they make.  As we grant children more independence, it is important for them to know we are still always here for them to help them when they need the help.  Sometimes as a parent we must also step in without our children asking.  At times they simply need our guidance whether they want it or not.

Children need to be taught to take responsibility for their actions.  This needs to begin at a relatively young age.  There are many people in this world and we all need to work to act responsibly so as not to hurt others or ourselves.  Kids need to realize that there are consequences to their actions when their actions are poor.  Children do need to be taught the difference between right and wrong.  If the child does wrong it may be necessary to send them to their room or ground them for a few days.  When a teenager acts irresponsibly, as parents we might need to take away their driving privileges for awhile or not let them go our with their friends.  This will help children to see that when they do wrong, there will be consequences.  Children just like adults need to realize the importance of thinking before acting and of making good decisions. 

There are no magic guides to parenting.  Each parent and every child is different.  Different parenting styles will work better for some children than for others.  As parents we need to be willing to learn from our mistakes.  And no matter how good of a parent we are or how hard we try, we will make mistakes.  The important thing is that we love our children with our whole hearts.  We must offer them guidance and support at every turn in life.  As a parent we must always encourage our children to be good and honest people.  We need to help our children identify their own talents and skills and the other characteristics that make them our unique and wonderful children.