I find myself wondering what I can do that will make a difference in their lives [Courtesy, Freepik]

Hi Chris,

I have young children, and I find myself wondering what I can do that will make a difference in their lives. I’m doing all the obvious stuff, but what else can I do?

Young Mother

Hi Young Mother!

Bringing up your children is the most important thing you’ll ever do. But these days we’re so busy, it’s hard to keep in mind what matters to a child.

Like how important you are to them. Far more important than anything else in their lives. But they’re convinced they don’t matter as much to you as you do to them! That you’re always too busy to fit them in. Your children need to see that you care about them. Children use your attention and feedback to judge how well they’re doing. Their feelings about their parents define their outlook on life, which will have a huge impact on their ultimate success. 

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So they need to know what’s important to you. Your values and beliefs. And they don’t get that from you telling them. Tell children to do something and they’ll do just the opposite. Yelling at a child sends a complicated message about you, none of it flattering. But if you’re always calm and polite to everyone, that’s the way your children will behave. Because young children copy what their parents do. 

Show them you value education by taking an interest in their school work, and they’ll study hard. Help them learn to make good choices, by encouraging them to do their homework before watching TV. Learning to make good choices now will help them make the really hard decisions that grown-ups face.

And above all, always do what you say you’re going to do. Your word is everything to your children. So if you say you’re going to be somewhere, be there. Because that teaches your children to be responsible and shows how important they are to you. Your love and commitment is the biggest defence your children will ever have against illicit drugs, getting into crime, or suffering from mental illness.

All the best,

Chris