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Parenting tips that have been proven to work in real families.

Are you frustrated by your parenting task? Did you think it would be more enjoyable than it has proven itself to be?

I understand those feelings. My name is Colleen and I have been mothering for over 27 years. I have four children, two boys and two girls, ranging in ages from 27 to 8 years.

As you can see, I've done this awhile. I've seen what works and what doesn't. What I've discovered is that there really is only a handful of bedrock principles - parenting tips - that when followed, will make your job as a parent remarkably more pleasant.

And isn't that what we all want?

Parenting Tips Action Guide

1. Sowing and Reaping.
Your parenting actions have consequences, so consider what you want your family life to be like and strategically plan for it.

2. Focus on character traits.
If you want a calm, respectful home, then you need to be building that into your daily lives. The same goes for truthfulness, self-control and personal responsibility. These won't happen by magic.

3. Use stable, time-tested parenting resources like How to raise happy, healthy, self-confident children and the The Total Transformation to help you make your family road map, stay on task, and keep motivated along the parenting way.

(Are you a new parent? See my customized words of wisdom for new parents here.)

Parenting tips and consequences.

As parents, we often strive to help our kids connect the dots between their behavior and the resulting consequences of their actions. I have noticed that sometimes it's us, the parents, who are missing on the connections between our own parenting behaviors and the resulting consequences. So my parenting tips will be presented in a manner that I hope will help you see the tremendous influence you have in the lives of your children, and therefore give you great encouragement to be as intentional and wise as possible in your parenting.

Most everyone is familiar with the wise old adage of sowing and reaping. Remember it? What you sow you will reap. It's based on the agricultural model of living which simply shows that when a farmer plants seed in the soil, does his best to care for it, allows nature to do its part and in the proper time, a harvest or reaping will occur.

Parenting is amazingly similar in many ways.

Sow wise parenting tips and reap the harvest of a beautiful family.

Every farmer (my dad was one) knows that planting a seed is not a guarantee of a good harvest. But a wise farmer does know that without sowing, you will never reap!

And the reality of parenting life is that we are always sowing something. And we can tell what we've sown in the past, by what we are reaping today.

The trick is to sow intentionally - decide ahead of time - what you want to reap in your family. Then you can work backwards and determine what to sow today.

Sow Thoughtfulness & Kindness

  • Want thoughtful kids? Then look for ways to sow the character trait of thoughtfulness.
  • Have a contest in your home and reward the family member who can do the most random acts of kindness in a week.
  • Look for examples of thoughtfulness in everyday life and point them out to your kids.
  • Hold thoughtfulness and kindness up as the virtues they are.
  • Point out in movies the characters that are thoughtful and kind AND the ones that are not. Talk about the consequences of both sets of actions.
  • Intentionally be thoughtful with your spouse in front of your kids.
  • Don't allow unkind words in your home. Specifically point out when an action is unkind and require people to make amends.

Sow Self-control and Self-discipline

This is one of the most important parenting tips I can give you.
Would you like to reap a disciplined homelife? Think about it.
  • Everyone taking responsibility for their actions.
  • Everyone getting their own work done, without you nagging.
  • Kids getting themselves up in the morning and getting their homework done.
Is that a dream? It can be more of a reality than you realize with the solid parenting tips of self-control and self-discipline.

In fact, as a parent, this is one of your most sacred duties. To deliver to your society, adult children who are able to be productive, useful members of their world at large, contributing to the common good and not being a drain on the other members.

==>  That parenting obligation cannot be completed without teaching children self-control and self-discipline.

To reap these amazing character traits, you need to sow some age appropriate boundaries in your home and then enforce them. No matter what.

Let's look at an example.

The house needs cleaning - gasp - every week. No one's lining up to do it. That's okay, because you, as the parent, have the responsibility to teach your crew how to take care of their home. So you...

  • assign tasks, again age appropriately
  • work alongside your kids to train, motivate and build relationships
  • be patient and keep a sense of humor
  • use chore charts to motivate and reward positive achievements
  • pass out hugs as often as possible
  • make sure everyone does their part by withholding privileges until the job is done. (After all, do YOU get a paycheck BEFORE you do the work?)
  • Want to raise teens that are becoming responsible young adults? Read about parenting teenagers here.

In reality, by doing this day after day, month after month, year after year, you are training (sowing) your child to be a responsible human being. You will see your harvest (reaping) when your child reaches adulthood and takes on a job and life of his own. I can tell you, that is an amazing reward as a parent and worth all the effort you have sown.

Sow truthfulness.

Want trouble in your home? Sow deceitfulness in your child. Model lying behavior in front of him. Show disrespect to others when they're honest. Let your kids see that you don't have any problem with little white lies.

And watch the trouble you will reap. Experience the middle schooler who gets caught cheating on his test at school. Live with the teen who lies as a matter of course and you realize you have no idea where she is going, who she is with or what she is doing.

Feel your helplessness as a parent.

Raising kids is no joke. It's tough work with the greatest possible of paybacks. But you gotta earn those paybacks. Teaching children to tell the truth is at the heart of teaching good character values. And it's these character values that will bring you a stable, secure homelife.

So, if you need to, print this parenting tip out and tape it to your mirror where the reality of it hits you every day.

Sow active listening and communication.

You want to experience something spectacular as a parent? Go to your child, any age, get their attention and then start listening with your whole being. Look them straight in the eye, reflect back to them exactly what they are saying to you, encourage them to keep speaking (without you correcting or judging them) and don't stop until they seem to be completely done with what they have to say to you.

Of course, this depends upon the age of your child, but their reaction should teach you something.
  • They are desperate for your attention. Now think about this. Here's a MAJOR parenting tip. This little human being wants your influence and you are busy pushing it away by saying "later" or trying to only half listen while you are on the computer or cell phone or reading the newspaper.
          And the next time that kid won't listen attentively to you, how is that going to make you feel?

It's actually quite easy to get your kids to listen to you. Start by overwhelming them with your attention. Over time, they will respond in kind.

Sow a road map.

A road map? For a parenting tip? Stay with me here! What kind of adult do you want your child to be when she grows up? What kind of family life do you want along the way? Three of my children are grown. I can no longer do the daily things with them I could do when they were young and under my care. I can't go back. Do you suppose this influences the way I use my time with the child I still have at home? You bet it does.

Learn from my experience. Be intentional in your parenting. Sow a homelife you love. Keep working at it everyday in every way. I can tell you, it won't go perfectly or according to all of your plans. But it will be spectacular. If you're unsure of how to start on this adventure, may I suggest a couple of resources.  Either of these resources will help you be intentional in your parenting and will help you in much, much more detail than I have space for in these parenting tips.
  1. Brian Tracy's How to raise happy, healthy, self-confident children is an excellent cd or mp3 series that you can use to made that road map for your family. And you can listen to it again and again over the years to remind yourself of what's important and stay on task.
  2. James Lehman's The Total Transformation. This is an outstanding parenting program (a complete series of CD's) that can be used to tackle the most difficult of discipline challenges. Lehman came from a troubled background himself, so he knows what he is talking about. If you are experiencing tough family relational issues, this is a tremendous value for your money.

If you read much on this site, you know I encourage you to find your resources wherever works best for you. There are a lot of both free and fee-based parenting resources available today. And if you've used counseling, you know how expensive (yet valuable) a resource can be!

I always think it's funny, but we have no problem getting training and support for a new career or for our children when they want to learn something new. And yet we sometimes shy away from giving ourselves the tools we need to get our most important job, parenting, done effectively and efficiently. And this task of parenting will have the greatest impact on our day-to-day happiness.

Don't shortchange yourself. You are busy. I know. I am, too. That's all the more reason to get high-quality parenting resources that will save you time, money and heartache in the long run. Start learning about parenting today and don't stop. That's one of the best parenting tips I can give you. Want more? See 10 parenting tips here.

These parenting tips are not exhaustive, but they will certainly get you started in the right direction and will have a huge impact all on their own. I wish you and your precious family the very best.

Comments from visitors to our site:

"Loved your story in Main Street Moms, "Moms are Glue." Really one of the best stories I have read about being a mom and what it means to a family. Thank you for the inspiration!"

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