"Do You Have Expectations Or Goals?"

Or said in another way, "What do you want your kids to be like when they become adults?"

You need to have expectations. Parenting is just like any job which can give great rewards. You have to have a vision. For yourself. For your kids. For your family life together.

You need goals for both you and your kids. These will guide you to what kind of parent you are. Otherwise you will be wishy washy, unsure. And kids pick up on that. Quick.

"What's Your Vision?"

My vision for my kids was this:

• Be healthy.
• Be self sufficient.
• Know how to do chores.
• Know how to take care of themselves.
• Be independent.
• Leave home at a certain age.
• Be confident.
• Pursue their passion.
• Be empathetic.
• Have a good work ethic.
• Be well educated or trained.
• Have no debt after graduating from post secondary school.
• Have a zest for life and travel.

I also didn't want a co-dependent relationship with my kids. We would take care of ourselves in old age and my kids would not depend upon us after they finished school. Mutually good.

This was the vision I had for my children. And for the most part this is what is happening. The differences have more to do with choice and personality which they are free to express.

"Discuss Long Before You Have Them"

Whether you've been married for a while or not, if you plan on having children, the two of you have to discuss how you will raise your offspring.

You will need to settle on a style or a philosophy.

"Communicate Expectations To The Kids"

Your children will grow and mature. Communicate these expectations to your kids. They have to know the reason why there are certain rules, why you are doing things a certain way. No one likes surprises and kids are no exception.

Treat your children with the respect they deserve. And they'll do the same for you.

"Be Prepared"

Expectations are important. Otherwise, how are you going to parent? If you have no goals, then how will you be an effective guide for your children? In other words, if you don't know what you want, how will you communicate it to your children?

"You Are So Important To Them"

You are the guide, the mentor, the coach, the most influential person in their lives. You are their first teacher and you remain their top teacher until it's appropriate to end it or back off. After that, it's up to them and you, to let go of each other and allow them to blossom into who they are.

You can see how having expectations and goals may be tied into everything a child has - their self esteem, their sense of self worth, their effectiveness as a human being, and just as important, their relationship with you.

"A Good Leader Knows When To Follow"

Even good leaders know when to step aside and follow. It's not ego we want. It's the right thing for the right time. For instance, I thought that my oldest son, at the age of ten, could take both he and his little brother, 6 years younger, down to swimming lessons, on the bus by himself.

Nolan expressed in no uncertain terms that he felt very unsafe. I took his strong feelings seriously and dropped the idea. He wasn't ready for it yet. So I found another way to get them to swimming lessons.

A year later, he was ready.

Listening is a very important skill to have. So is, "reading between the lines"! Watch out for unspoken concerns too. Body language and facial expression say a lot about what someone is thinking, too.

You can learn a lot from your kids. A good leader always learns from others, in this case, to become a better parent.

"What Do You Want As A Parent?"

Do you want a good, honest, joyful experience as a parent? There'll be ups and downs, but you'll be able to have a lot more ups than downs! And be able to handle the downs.

Do you want a great relationship with your kids? Then don't be afraid to let them know what you expect of them and why it's important. When there's understanding and open and honest communication, relationships blossom.

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