Tag Archive for teach

How to Raise MEAN Kids…or NOT

“Controlling parents create mean college kids.” Having taught at a local college for several military policeyears and having two kids in college right now, that headline caught my attention. I have known quite a few mean college kids. The worst were the ones who engaged in what psychologist call “relational aggression.” They were not physically aggressive, but they could crush someone’s feelings or sabotage a person’s social standing with a well-spoken rumor, a strategic exclusion from some event, or nonchalantly embarrassing them in public. A study out of the University of Vermont suggests one way parents may contribute to this type of behavior. Specifically, this study of 180, mostly female, college students found that parents who use guilt trips or threat of withdrawing affection or support to influence their children contribute to the creation of the mean college kid who uses relational aggression. In other words, parents who control their children with guilt or threat of abandonment create mean college kids. Today, parents can practice this style of controlling influence from a distance, without even seeing their children, with the use of cell phone…just as our children can crush a peer through social media.

Rather than creating a mean kid through guilt inducing and controlling parenting styles, try these ideas:

  • Accept your children’s unique opinions and lifestyle. No need to try controlling their interests, ideas, and passions. Accept the fact that your children may not keep the hairstyle you like. They may not share your interests or political views. They may choose a different style of dress than you taught them. They may choose a vocation you never expected. Allow your children to be themselves. Accept their uniqueness. Enjoy your differences. Celebrate what you can learn from one another.
  • Respect your children enough to let them make their own mistakes. Do not make them feel guilty for the mistake, let them learn from the consequences of that mistake. Don’t control their every move in an effort to prevent “the same mistakes I made.” Instead, give them the dignity to learn from their mistakes without an “I told you so.” Empathize with the pain they experience as a consequence of their mistake, but let them have their own experience of, and opportunity to learn from, that pain. In fact, let them tell you what they learned and acknowledge the wisdom they gained.
  • Be available without clinging. Let your children know you are available to them any time they express a need. You can listen, share experiences, brainstorm ideas, even give advice if they ask…BUT you cannot live their life or make their decisions. Most importantly, whatever they choose, you still love them and remain available to them…without the guilt trip.

In other words, loosen the reins just a little. Appreciate their uniqueness and let them practice some decision making. Let them have some slack and let them learn from mistakes. Most important, always express your love and support.

You Gotta Be Kiddin’ Me

I’m really not surprised by the findings of this study when I think about it…but it took four studies to bring this information to light. Unfortunately, it seems to be some of the common knowledge that has been lost over the last several generations. Research out of the University of Chicago—Booth School of Business explored the impact of sharing food on feelings of closeness, trust, cooperation, and negotiation. The findings from these four studies suggest at least three things. (Read the study here)

  1. Eating similar foods with another person increases a sense of closeness and trust between them.
  2. Eating similar food leads to greater cooperation, a greater willingness to compromise, and faster resolution of differences.
  3. When a person gives information (in the form of a testimonial or advertisement), the information they give is trusted more when the speaker eats similar food as the listener.

Family having a big dinner at homeThese studies were done in terms of business and the authors made several applications to business. But what does it mean for families? First, I think it reminds us that the family meal is a wonderful time to build closeness and trust. As we sit down with our families to a meal in which we all eat “similar foods,” we can discuss ideas and happenings. We build trust. We cooperate and compromise in resolving minor differences.

Second, when you need to have a serious family discussion, put out some snacks to eat while you talk. Everyone does not have to eat the exact same food, but similar foods like “sweet” food, “salty” food, pizza (even with various toppings), noodles…you get the idea. By supplying similar food for everyone to eat, you create an environment geared toward:

  • Increased closeness and trust
  • Greater cooperation
  • Greater likelihood of listening to one another’s points of view
  • A greater willingness to compromise and reach a resolution more quickly.

This may all sound silly, but think about a scenario with me. Your 17-year-old daughter has been consistently coming in after curfew. So, you set out some crackers and cheese before asking her to sit down to talk with you. You pour her a glass of her favorite pop and share crackers and cheese while talking about her growing up and becoming more independent, the continued need for curfew, what she wants, and what you want. Imagine that conversation as compared to one in which you sit down with her at a bare table to talk about curfews.

  • Which will promote defensiveness and which will encourage cooperation?
  • Which will contribute to arguing and which might encourage listening?
  • Which will likely lead to escalating emotions and which will promote remaining calm?
  • Which promotes asserting my needs and which encourages respecting one another?

The answer seems plain to me. Eating together can help us resolve our differences and reach an agreement more easily. It may not produce a miracle, but it can sure help reach a respectful understanding and connection. Give it a try and see what happens.

Two Observations on Parenting (Than Can Save You Money)

Over the years of observing families, I’ve noticed a couple of interesting things about children and their interests. I’m sure you’ve noticed them as well.

  1. Children playing on a cell phone, watching TV, or playing a video game do NOT listen well. They are preoccupied with their TV show, game, text, or pic on the screen. They can sit right next to you, playing on their mobile device, and totally block you out. They don’t listen.
  2. Children love boxes and blocks and dress up clothes. They have great fun with objects that can become whatever they imagine. In fact, I’ve seen preschoolers more interested in the box their gift came in than the gift itself!

These two observations got me thinking. Parents spend a lot of money on mobile devices, TV’s, X-Boxes, etc. Our children delve into these devices. While engaged on their devices, they interact face-to-face with other people less often. They engage in less hands-on activities. They explore the world beyond the screen less often. They even stumble across videos we don’t want them to see.

But, when you give children some empty Tupperware, old boxes, blocks, crayons, and paper they create amazing things. They become curious and imaginative. They explore ways of using the material. They create forts, planes, and dinner out of the same “raw materials.” These “open-ended” materials, or what Magda Gerber calls “passive toys,” become the raw ingredients of imaginative play, explorations, and new ideas. And, in the midst of creating all this, they talk with one another. They share ideas. They ask for help. They negotiate, compromise, and problem solve…together! As they engage, combine, and re-engage these simple objects, they learn and grow. They have fun, too.

I love the poster from Let the Children Play. It explains the benefits of “passive toys” with a simple acronym.

  • Passive toys help children become better PROBLEM-SOLVERS.
  • Passive toys engage children in ACTIVE LEARNING.
  • Passive toys encourage SELF-INITIATED play and SENSORY EXPERIENCES.
  • Passive toys SUPPORT SCHEMAS. They support what children already know and how they already think while supporting them to move up another level in their thought life. As Vygotsky used to say, “In play, a child becomes a child a head taller than himself.” (Read Make Your Child A Head Taller Than Himself for more info)
  • Passive toys throw open the doors for INVENTION, INVESTIGATION, and IMAGINATION.
  • Passive toys are VERSATILE, which nurtures creativity.
  • Passive toys encourage EXPERIMENTATION and EXPLORATION.

I’m not against some screen time, but what video game or TV show can do all that!

The Power of a Father’s Example

I remember watching my father when I was five or six years old. He greeted people as they left the worship service. I watched him closely. I saw the way he shook hands. I listened to how he spoke to people. I observed how he moved and the tone of his voice. I wanted to be just like him.  Several years later, as a teen who wanted only to be myself, I volunteered at Father Daughter Chata nursing home where my father worked as chaplain. One of the residents saw me walking toward her and said, “You’re the chaplain’s son aren’t you?”  “Yes I am. How did you know?” “I could tell by the way you walked,” she replied. “You walk just like him.” I had watched my father closely and become like him, even in actions as subtle as walking.

Fathers play an enormous role in their children’s development. They teach, guide, and discipline their children toward maturity. They also influence their children in subtle ways. Specifically, they teach their children through example. Children watch their father’s closely…very closely. They imitate their fathers. They long to be like their fathers. And, they become like their fathers.  Fathers can respond to that responsibility by carefully considering what behavior they exhibit for their children to imitate.  Strive to exhibit positive behaviors like respect, service, honesty, humility, kindness, and love.

I want to offer one more caveat in this regard. Children not only imitate the good, the trivial, and the bad in their father’s behavior; but, they imitate it without adult constraint. In other words, they will take their father’s behavior “to the next level.” A Jewish story tells of a young man who was caught stealing an apple from the merchant. Upon examination, it became apparent that he did not become a thief “out of the blue.” It began generations ago. His grandfather read from the Torah and related commentaries while exhibiting a false sense of humility. All who saw him praised his pious humility. In effect, he “stole” the admiration of his followers. With his false humility, he became a thief of the people’s praise. His father, following the grandfather’s example, read various commentaries and took credit for the wisdom they offered. He had stolen the ideas of others and passed them off as his own, a thief of intellectual property. The grandson, following the example of his ancestors, stole an apple from the merchant. Each generation followed a downward spiral of imitation.

Very few of us need worry about how we read the Torah and related commentaries. However,…

  • Do your children hear you speak badly about other people? They will likely learn to do the same, but without adult restraint and caution.
  • Do you children see you get tipsy at a party? Perhaps they will see nothing wrong with smoking marijuana or popping a few pills as they enter the teen years.
  • Do your children hear you lie and so breach trust with your employer by saying you are sick so you can miss work? They may learn to lie to cover a breach of trust with their spouse.
  • Do you speak harshly to your wife? Your child will learn to disrespect her as well. Your child will learn to ignore her requests, disregard her rules, and speak to her rudely.
  • Do you come home from work to sit around the house and watch TV rather than remain active in maintaining the household? Your children will learn that helping around the house is not important. In fact, it is useless, not their job. They will come to believe that housework and maintaining a household is their mother’s work. In response, they will become couch potatoes avoiding all housework and playing video games.

You get the idea. Your children are watching…and learning. They will imitate your behavior without adult constraint, taking it to the next level. So, make sure you leave a positive example for your children to imitate. Let them imitate your respect, service, helpfulness, and honesty without constraint. Your home will be a happier place.

A Star Wars Christmas

christmasStarWarsOn a small planet in a distant galaxy, a rebel prince named Satan fueled period of civil unrest. In arrogance, Satan had exploited the vulnerabilities of the King’s forces to form a coup and wrest the kingdom from its Creator. His rebel forces continued to entice, seduce, and enslave the King’s men. As part of his sinister plot, the evil prince even turned the loyalty of the King’s men toward himself. Those who refused to succumb to Satan’s tactics were killed, murdered without remorse. With each man the prince enslaved, he gained power…power to destroy an entire planet.

And then…A long time ago, in a Galilee far, far away, the King revealed His final and most loving battle plan. With a most extraordinary and unconventional strategy, the King initiated His final battle. He infiltrated enemy territory by sending His own Son, not as a warrior, but as an unassuming Baby Boy born in a manger in the midst of enemy occupied land. As this epic battle between good and evil forces progressed, the precious Baby Boy’s safety was entrusted into the hands of mere humans, a teen mother and an innocent father, both members of an oppressed people living under military rule on the planet ruled by the evil prince. Warned in a dream, the young family fled to Egypt to escape the evil prince. Upon return to their homeland & in near silence, the Baby boy grew into a man—an obedient Son and a Servant of the True King. When He suddenly burst onto the scene as an adult, the heavens were torn open and the Spirit descended upon Him. The Baby boy, now a Servant Man, defeated the evil prince in a 40-day dessert battle and began to proclaim the dawning of the Kingdom of God. He revealed the Kingdom of God by making the blind to see, the lame to walk, and the deaf to hear. He began to purge the Kingdom of God by casting out demons, the evil prince’s elite forces on earth. He turned the hearts of men and women back toward the King with words that filled them with amazement.

In a final epic battle, the Son of God engaged in hand to hand combat with death, Satan’s greatest warrior. He felt the power of death’s greatest blow. He willingly succumbed to the pain. He assumed the burden and punishment of our sin, and He experienced the loss of His own life. To all who saw this final battle, it appeared as though death had won. Life was dead!

But, it was all part of the True King’s ingenious plan. In a complete twist of plot, it was through the voluntary, sacrificial death of the Perfect, Unblemished Lamb of God that the battle was won. For when the Son of God became our sin, we gained His righteousness. It was by His wounds we were healed; through His death we gained life. Just as the King had orchestrated from the beginning of time, it was through this seeming defeat, this sacrificial death, that the King won the victory and Satan was defeated. Life was set free and God’s Spirit was poured out to empower all those in the Kingdom of God.

This story continues today. The Kingdom of God continues to grow. Each time we gather at the communion table, we remember the King’s greatest victory. Each time we drink the cup and eat the bread of His covenant, we recall the victory He has won. We rejoice in the knowledge that the King, Jesus Christ, is coming back soon for His final victory parade.

And that final victory begins with a tiny Baby in a manger. Merry Christmas.

A Green-Eyed Monster has Possessed My Preschooler

The green-eyed monster of jealousy can raise its ugly head in all of us. Who hasn’t felt a tinge of jealousy when our loved one gives the attention we desire to another? That green-eyed monster can even possess our sweet little preschoolers, twisting their faces with pain and filling their actions with anger. It’s not surprising that preschoolers experience jealousy. After all, preschool children become very attached to their loving parents and even need that attachment to survive. So, when they see their parent giving the attention they need and desire to another, the green-eyed monster shows up. Preschooler’s also define themselves, at least in part, by their possessions, what they have at the moment. Some developmental specialists even say a preschooler’s identity is “bound up in their possessions.” So, when one preschooler takes another preschooler’s toy, the green-eyed monster of jealousy rises up.

little boy and girl playing with mobile phones

little boy and girl playing with mobile phones

Perhaps the green-eyed monster is not all bad.  In fact, the green-eyed monster may be more informant than monster. He informs us of our children’s affections and love. He reveals our children’s need for “Mom and Dad.” He communicates our children’s fear of losing their parents’ attention, care, and comfort. Jealousy reveals our children’s potential insecurity in relationship to us (his parents). In other words, that little green-eyed informant reminds us that our preschoolers need us. He presents an opportunity for us to learn about our children’s inner world of emotions, fears, motivations, thoughts, and desires. He creates an opportunity for us to connect with our children and teach them important life lessons. How can we respond to the opportunity brought to our attention by the green-eyed informant? I’m glad you asked.

  • First, sit back and take a deep breath. Realize that jealousy is a normal emotion. You do not need to squelch it, crush it, or push it under. Instead, strive to understand it and its source. Become curious and let this green-eyed informant teach you about your children’s affections, thought-life, and motivations. The more you understand your children, the better you can help them overcome their jealousy.
  • Several emotions, like fear and insecurity, can lurk under and fuel your preschooler’s jealousy. You can help alleviate these underlying fears and insecurities by assuring your children receive the love and attention they need. I don’t mean you have to give your children constant, 24/7 attention. But, your children do need daily attention. They need to experience your delight in them. They need to hear you acknowledge them and appreciate their contribution to your life and home. They need to see you enjoy their company and presence. Delight in, acknowledge, appreciate, and enjoy your children every day. Then, when the green-eyed informant shows up, take the opportunity to do each of these things again!
  • Teach your children to acknowledge the green-eyed informant and its underlying emotions. Help them label the emotions and talk about them. In order for your children to have the ability to talk to someone about their emotions or to calmly address whatever contributes to their emotional state, they need to possess the language of emotions. To rethink an emotional experience and gain a more accurate picture of how to respond or act on an emotion, your children need a language of emotion. Take the opportunity presented by the green-eyed informant to teach your children the language of emotion.
  • Teach your children gratitude for “what they have” and “who they are.” Gratitude for what they have will help free them from grasping at possessions or longing for what someone else owns. Teaching children to recognize the blessings in their life will help them focus on the more important aspects of life, like family, friends, love, and life. It will help build their trust in a God who provides. This gratitude will decrease the frequency with which the green-eyed informant shows up.

These four practices will transform the green-eyed monster in your preschooler into a green-eyed informant, a friendly little guy who can help you grow closer to your preschooler and allow you to help your preschooler mature.

Should We Give an Allowance?

Parents often give children an allowance to motivate them to complete chores. Unfortunately, I have found allowances to be poor motivators. Don’t get me wrong.
Allowances often worked in our family for a short time…but then no longer worked. They would work again when our child had something they really wanted to buy (the real motivator); but they often had nothing they really wanted to buy. So, the motivation of receiving an allowance generally seemed short-lived and faded quickly. At least it did for us. Still, I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Allowances can offer a great learning experience once we wrap our head around their real purpose. What is that real Family Bank of Honorpurpose? The purpose for giving an allowance is not to motivate but to teach. Allowances help our children learn the value of hard work and the benefit of managing money responsibly. Kevin Lehman describes one way to use an allowance to teach our children responsible and wise money management in his book Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours. I share it with you below.


First, determine what chores your children can do and a fair “salary” for that work. Then, give your children their first week’s pay. I know…they haven’t earned it yet. Consider it a “signing bonus” or an advance. Now your children can begin completing their assigned chores. If they forget a chore, someone else will have to do it. But such choices carry a price in the real world. The one who chooses to neglect his chore must pay the one who completes it. Your child will have to dip into his allowance and pay his brother, sister, or parent for the chore they completed for him.


On another occasion, your children may decide they are too tired or too busy to do their chore. It still needs completed, so they can negotiate with another family member to do it…and pay them out of their own allowance.


If our children aren’t careful, they will run out of their allowance money half way through the week. At that point, they have to do their own chores because “they got no money” to pay the help. They have learned several things, including:

  1. It costs money to have someone else do my work.
  2. I only have so much money.
  3. When I’m out of money, I can’t pay for help.
  4. I need to use money wisely.
  5. Doing work, even for a brother or sister, can result in making more money.
  6. When children manage their chores and allowance wisely, they save money. They learn that hard work can help them save money.


In this way, allowances are a great teaching tool to help our children learn the value of work and the wisdom of managing money.

Your Child’s “Best Teacher Eh-verrr”

I still remember the day it happened. My daughter came home raving about her teacher. She loved him. He was the “best teacher eh-verrrr.” In fact, he was a good teacher. She learned a lot from him. But, he really wasn’t THE best teacher she ever had. I know because the best teacher any child ever has is not a teacher from school. The reward for “best teacher ever” in a child’s life actually goes to (drum roll please)…his parents.  It’s true. Parents can’t help but teach their children. Even if they never teach a single formal Father Daughter Chatlesson, their child will learn more from them than any other teacher he will ever have. Parents teach the most important lessons of life—like values, priorities, how to manage emotions, how to manage difficult situation, etc.—on a daily basis. That whole “daily basis” idea is why parents become the most important teacher in their child’s life. Only parents have the opportunity to “join with” their child in a variety of situations on a “daily basis.” Only parents get to “experience life” with their child “24/7.” From this position of “experiencing life together,” parent becomes the most powerful teachers in their child’s life.  Parents, utilizing wisdom gained through their own life experiences, assist their child in managing the emotions of difficult experiences. Parents find their child acutely interesting and learn to know him very well. Based on knowledge of their child’s interests, parents can direct their child’s energies into safe avenues of adventure and joy. In other words, when a parent and child “experience life together,” a parent helps his child organize and understand himself and the world around him.  let me say this very plainly: Parents, you are your child’s “best teacher eh-verrrr,” whether you like it or not. To help you enjoy the rewards of “best teacher ever,” follow these four tips.

  1. Join in, experience life with your child. Don’t lecture. Join instead. This means active involvement and participation in your child’s life.
  2. Stay calm. Remember, your child learns how to respond to emotions by experiencing them with you. If you rant and rave when angry, your child will most likely do the same. Let your example teach him to express and share his emotions effectively.
  3. Listen to your child. Listen to understand your child’s motivation, intent, and perspective. When you understand your child’s motivation and intent, you can explain your ideas in a way he can understand. In a sense, you have to understand your child’s way of thinking before you can explain your own more mature thought.
  4. Allow your child to be a child. Do not expect your 4-year-old to discriminate between what is real and what is magic or your 16-year-old to be excited about the same things that excite you. Instead, enjoy the magical world of your 4-year-old and share in those things that excite your 16-year-old, channeling those thrills in a healthy direction.


Congratulations Mom and Dad. You truly are your child’s “best teacher eh-verrr,” especially when you take the time to join with your child and “experience life together.”

Teach Your Children to Excel

We all want our children to excel. We may want our children to excel in different areas (sports, academics, music, theatre, dance, socialization, etc.), but we all want them to excel. Nobody wants to point out their children and say, “Yes, my children are mediocre at best.” No, we want our children to work hard and find success. We want them to excel. Unfortunately, we often engage in behavior that limits their ability to excel. We increase our demands and expectations, raising our children’s stress level and fear of failure. Instead of excelling, they succumb to the pressure and fall short. They start to resist or even avoid hard work and so miss out on success. As parents we can help build an environment to encourage our children to excel. Here are some ways to do so.

  • Father and son smiling for the cameraMaintain healthy expectations. Do not expect your children to do more than they are developmentally ready to do. Do not expect them perform above their physical capabilities. On the other hand, do not lower your expectations to make it easy for your children. Children need a realistic challenge to work toward in order to excel. Become a student of your children. Create healthy and realistic yet challenging expectations for their lives.
  • Focus on effort. Instill the value of hard work and effort above achievement and performance. If you focus on achievement and “end products,” your children will believe that success result from natural talent alone. They will avoid difficult tasks for fear that failure reflects a lack of natural ability. Instead, attribute success and failure to effort, not ability. Teach your children that effort and hard work lay the groundwork for achievement. When your children learn to value effort and hard work, they can embrace challenges, overcome obstacles, and learn from mistakes…all of which promote your children’s ability to excel.
  • Maintain a loving relationship with your children, but don’t forget to maintain firm limits Don’t be afraid to discipline your children. Teach them to finish what they start and to think about the cost (in terms of time investment, energy, school requirements, and desired downtime) of an activity before starting. Do not step in to fix problems that arise. Encourage your children to seek a solution and to persist in the face of obstacles. Let them put in the effort to work through the difficulty. Then appreciate that effort.
  • Make it part of your family life. Build the area in which you want your children to excel into the fabric of your home. Make the skills applicable to real life. Become a learner in that area yourself. Converse with your children about topics related to that area. Integrate it into your daily life. Enjoy it together. Make it a topic of conversation and interaction. Learn to have fun with it—laughing, playing, competing, debating, etc. Make it fun.
  • Allow your children to be average! Our children will not excel in every facet of life. They are not in our lives to fulfill our dreams. They will find their greatest joy when they find those areas that interest them. They will grow into happy adults as and invest their energy and time in areas fascinating to them. Allow them to do so. You might just discover that they excel in what is truly important in life—kindness, generosity, perseverance, etc.


These five actions will open the door for your children to excel. They take time and thought to implement successfully, but your children will benefit from your efforts. You will likely fall short at times…several times if you are like me. We all make mistakes. Take the time to learn from your mistakes and re-open the door. Each time you do, you teach your children important lessons and help them excel in life.

Beware When Playing With Your Children

I love my memories of playing Barbie, Frisbee, badminton (not a pretty sight I must admit), board games, and many more games with my children. These play activities allowed us to bond with one another. They gave us the opportunity to grow more intimate, to laugh together, and to learn from one another. That being said, playing with our children presents some dangers in today’s world. Let me explain.

  • Happy family playingSome parents want to be their children’s best friend. As their children’s best friend, they intrude into every aspect of their children’s life and remain physically present in every corner of their children’s life. They smudge their fingerprint onto every activity, every game, and every relationship in their children’s life. As a result, their children never learn from other trusted adults or other children; they never develop a life of their own.
  • Some parents believe they must keep their children constantly entertained. They will do anything to keep their children happy and active. They hate to see a look of boredom cross their children’s face. So they manage their children’s every waking hour, scheduling an endless cycle of activity. When no outside activity is available, they orchestrate an activity of their own to keep their children busy. Their children never learn how to schedule their own time. They never learn how to entertain themselves.
  • Some parents take over the activity. Stating a desire to teach their children, these parents simply take over. You know, the child begins a video game but the parent jumps in to show them how to do it. Next thing you know, the child sits idly by while the parent plays the game. Or the parent jumps in to show them the “proper way” to clean the table or complete the math problem on their homework…and the child merely watches. Unfortunately, this parent has sent a subtle message that the child is incompetent and incapable.
  • Some parents get caught up in worry about their children’s safety and become over-protective. As a result, this parent limits their children’s play. No activities that might result in injury are allowed. No wandering too far from home. No possibility of failure. These parents teach their children that the world is not a safe place and mistakes are bad. The children come to believe a person cannot recover from failures. As a result, these children limit their activities and their exploration. They avoid risk and challenge. They miss the opportunity for success that healthy risk-taking can promote.


How can a parent avoid these dangers?  Put these four ideas into practice.

  1. A parent’s job is more than play. Children benefit from parents who play with them. However, children also need parents who discipline and teach. Teach your children appropriate behavior. Teach them how to entertain themselves. Teach them to manage their time. Teach them to creatively seek out activities independently.
  2. Children do not need constant entertaining. It is okay to experience boredom. In fact, boredom may pave the way to curious exploration and creative discovery. At the very least, boredom teaches children that they are responsible for their own entertainment and fun.
  3. Let your children take some risks. I don’t mean to let them jump off skyscrapers. But, let them take some age appropriate, healthy risks. Remember, healthy risks can lead to great learning and success. Allow your children to make mistakes and experience failures. The best learning often occurs in that moment of failure.
  4. Allow older siblings and other adults the opportunity to supervise your children and their activities. Children can learn a lot from other adults. Sometimes they will learn more easily from other adults than they do from their parents. So let your children get involved with other trusted adults. And, let older siblings watch children. The older sibling can learn responsibility and takes the role of mentor more seriously when parents allow them to influence their younger sibling more directly.


Yes, playing with your children carries some risk. Don’t get lost in overprotecting, intruding, managing, or entertaining. Instead, remember to teach, allow some boredom, encourage healthy risks, and provide opportunities to learn from other mature adults.

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