Mistakes Parents Can't Afford to Make

According to Dr. Harold Sala, the following are statements which should never--no exceptions--come from the lips of a parent.

1. "Do what I say, ot what I do!"
Forget it. Your example cancels out everything you say. Your kids need role models, not sermons. If you don't measure up, forget the rhetoric and concentrate on your example.

2. "Here's a gift--I can't be there with you."
Gifts are poor substitures for your presence. Being at the ball game or at the school function, even though it is a sacrifice of time and energy, meansmore than the reward you may give to yourson or daughter.

3. "If you do this again, you're going to get it."
A major blunder! Consistency is one of the most necessary components of parenting. When you do not deal with a situation and discipline a child right away--no matter how tired you are--you are sending conflicting signals. This produces uncertainty. Consistent and definite boundaries gives stability and security to a child.

4. "Because I love you, I'm doing this for you."
Love isn't the issue. Responsibility is. Failure to teach your children to assume responsibility for their lives ill prepares them for the future. Later on, college roommates, bosses or spouses won't do it for them. Teaching a child to be responsible is planting the seeds of future success.

5. "How could you be so dumb?"
Telling a child what he did wrong only certifies the obvious. It is better to talk about how to handle a troublesome situation in the future. Saying, "Let's talk about how you are going to handle this the next time" lets you deal with character building.

6. "If your older brother can get high grades, why can't you?"
Comparing children creates anger and defensiveness. Every child is different.Each has aptitudes and abilities which may be lacking in other children--even children of the same parents. Strive to recognize what each child does well and build on that. That's what the Scripture is driving at when it says, "Train a child in the way he should go" (Proverbs 22:6)

7. "If you don't stop that, I'll tell your father when he gets home."
Discipline should be administered immediately, not later when the other parent is around.

8. "If you are a good child, I'll give you some extra money!"
Rewards for doing the right thing teach the wrong thing. Doing right is a responsibility--yes, even a duty. It isn't always rewarded in life by pay increases or bonuses. Teaching children to do right because it is right is responsible parenting.

9. "God's going to get you when you are bad!"
Parents who use GOd as the "bogeyman"are teaching the wrong thing about God. Understanding that there is forgiveness with God as well as with each other is an important spiritual truth.

10."When you get old enough to choose for yourself, you can go to church."
Wrong again! A child learns half of everything he knows by age three, three-fourths by age seven. The spiritual training of a child begins at birth.

Nobody's perfect, but these are some mistakes you can't afford to make.


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