Rabbi Zelig Pliskin has these wise words to share. I read them, they make sense, and they are a wonderful road map to follow when parenting. I'm on that road, and am still trying to be the best navigator I can be.
Here is the road map to keep in your glove box:
1) Love your children unconditionally -- irrespective of whether they "behave nicely," clean up their room, and do their homework. Your love must go beyond this. Your children will feel it.
2) Each day tell your children that you love them. All you have to say is three words, "I love you." If this is difficult for you, that is a sign you really need to say it.
3) Speak and act in ways that gives your children a positive self-image. Believe in your child. Believe in his abilities and potential. Say explicitly, "I believe in you." How do you know when you are successful at this? When your child says, "I see that you believe in me."
4) Be a role model for the traits and qualities that you want your children to possess. Share your day with your kids so they know what you do and can learn from you and your experiences.
5) Clarify the main positive qualities you want your child to develop. Keep praising those qualities. Reinforce each quality when your child speaks or acts in ways consistent with that quality.
6) Each child is unique and different. Understand each child's uniqueness and take it into consideration when a challenge arises. Don't take the "cookie cutter" approach. A method of disciple that inspires one child may discourage another.
7) Word your comments positively. Focus on the outcome you want. Say: "By developing this quality (for example, taking action right away), you will be more successful in life." (Rather than saying the negative.)
8) Keep asking yourself, What is the wisest thing to say to my child right now? Especially say this when your child has messed up.
9) Read great books to your children.
10) When you come across a story that has an important positive lesson for your child, relate it. Look for stories that teach lessons. Ask people for stories that had a positive influence on their lives.
11) Create a calm, loving, anger-free atmosphere in your home. Consistently speak in a calm and loving tone of voice. See, hear, and feel yourself being a calm person who has mastered the ability to maintain an emotional and mental state that is centered, focused and flowing.
12) Master patience. Life is a seminar in character development. Your children are your partners in helping you become a more patient person. Even when challenges arise, speak in a tone of voice that is balanced.
13) If you make a mistake when interacting with your children, apologize. Ultimately they will respect you more than if you try to deny the mistake.
14) Watch other parents interact with their children. Notice what you like. Apply the positive patterns.
15) In watching other parents, also notice what you don't like. Think about ways that you might be doing the same. Resolve not to speak and act that way.
16) Keep asking people you know and meet, "What did you like about what your parents said and did?"
17) Every day, express gratitude in front of your children. Ask them regularly, "What are you grateful for?"
18) Become a master at evaluating events, situations and occurrences in a realistic positive way. Frequently ask your children, "What would be a positive way of looking at this?", or "How can we grow from this?"
19) When your children make mistakes, help them learn from those mistakes.
20) Each and every day, ask yourself, "What can I say and do to be an even better parent?"