Every child I ever spoke with who grew up in a healthy, loving family has told me their home was “safe.” They explained it further, saying, “No matter what was happening in the world, when I came home I felt safe from the perils out there.” Our future depends on our families, and on our ability as parents to protect our child’s youth and sense of family. Here are 50 Ways to Build Emotionally Healthy Kids.
Today our families are being reshaped by a number of variables: the virtual world, single parenting, and the media’s influence on our children. This list will help guide parents to raising healthy children who are able to socialize, love and succeed in their pursuits. Some of the items on the list may be difficult to achieve with parents’ limiting schedules, but many of them are easily managed with time management skills and a desire to help your child become a healthy, strong, independent adult. 50 Ways to Build Emotionally Healthy Kids.
1. When you are with your kids on a play day, walk, or activity, shut your phone off. Nothing is as important in your life as this moment.
2. Set boundaries and discipline (teach) kids for not adhering to them.
3. Learn to say NO and mean it.
4. Be demonstrative with loving gestures in your home (especially with your spouse).
5. Have a family day once a week.
6. Have a set dinnertime as many days in the week as you can, and have everyone plan to attend.
7. Cook with your children.
8. Take time and fix things around the house with your children.
9. Take time and help your kids with their homework.
10. Take time and go to your kids’ after school activities.
Stick to it
11. Whatever you promise your kids, make sure you do it. If you lose their trust, you have lost everything important about being a good parent.
12. Say grace with your kids prior to eating, and whoever made the dinner should be thanked profusely. If you were treated out for dinner, thank whoever bought the dinner at least three times.
13. Say a night prayer with your kids.
14. Include extended family with your family as much as you can for celebrations.
15. Talk well of your child’s other parent frequently (this builds self-esteem).
16. Don’t gossip about others, especially in front of your kids.
17. Stay as healthy as a person and parent as possible.
18. The importance of a healthy lifestyle.
19. Take time to listen to your kids and hold your tongue.
20. Accept your children’s friends as much as possible.
21. Invite all of your child’s friends to dinner so your child can see them as clearly as you do.
22. Get interested in what your child is doing online and via their phone.
23. Do not allow texting at the dinner table.
24. Do not allow texting during family activities.
25. Set a time and shut down computers at night for the whole family.
26. Collect all cell phones each night and store them till morning.
27. Make it mandatory that kids clean their own room each week even if you have a housekeeper who cleans.
28. Never give your child money or an allowance for doing nothing. An allowance is pay for a job (or jobs) well done.
29. If you have a raging problem, do not flaunt it in front of your kids, but rather seek help from a professional.
Lead by Example
30. Do not tolerate cussing, or improper speech/grammar in your children or your spouse. The universal language is English; make sure your child understands English before they leave home.
31. Support your child’s teacher. When you dismiss your child’s teacher you are giving your child permission to disregard authority.
32. Do not have channels on the television that you are not comfortable with your child watching.
33. Make sure you know whom your child is talking to online.
34. Make sure you know and have taught your child online politeness.
35. Explain to your child that photos must be approved before posting anywhere.
36. Kids don’t understand that a photo can go anywhere.
37. No adult should be emailing or texting your child unless you are related to them, and even then, you may want to be aware.
38. A phone is a privilege. Have a consequence for your child if you find her texting while driving or sending nude photos.
39. Take the time to teach your child about their bodies and their sexuality as soon as you see their bodies changing.
Talk to your Kids
40. Talk to your child about their commute to and from school with direct communication. Never ask, “How was your day?” Ask, “Did you feel safe on the bus (or whatever form of transportation) to school?”
41. If your child tells you they are being bullied, believe them and have an action plan.
42. When you argue with your spouse, let your children see the argument, see the understanding, see the working out of the conflict in a healthy manner, and see you embrace and forgive one another after the argument.
43. Never allow a child under the age of thirteen on a social network. Period.
44. No drinking and driving, period (by child or parent).
45. No texting and driving, period (by child or parent).
46. No porn magazines or porn sites should be allowed on any computer in the family home. Porn addiction is a growing addiction.
47. Eating healthy means saying NO to fast food. Fifteen minutes of packing lunches or snacks the night before can actually minimize obesity in your family.
48. No emotional, physical or sexual abuse is tolerated in the family. It is never okay. Enough said.
49. Let your child witness that you make time for your marriage. Keep your emotional life between you and your child’s other parent. Do NOT become emotionally needy with your kids.
50. You are not your children’s friend. You are their parent. Quit trying to live through your child or compete with your child. You were a child; you aren’t anymore. Don’t act like one. Be a mom or dad to your child.