I think it’s important for kids to be kids and act crazy and rambunctious. I also think it is incredibly important that they have some boundaries and learn what is right and wrong from an early age. Life lessons are just as important as play.
We are far from perfect parents and sometimes I wonder if we’re doing anything right. I know we fall short in many parenting areas but teaching important life lessons is not one of them.
Our children are amazingly well behaved despite the many fits that I have to turn away from each day. They are respectful and polite and for the most part are very well-rounded little kids.
They did not get this way because of their teachers, their friends or even our family. They learned these lessons because their father and I have spent every waking minute making sure they learn behavior now that will positively follow them into their adult lives.
It may seem a little harsh sometimes but in the end, the persistence pays off. We may have to repeat ourselves 500 times but they do eventually get it and when that happens it is amazing! They respect themselves and others because we have made sure they act how a respectful and polite person would.
It’s simple, you treat others well. There are no if, ands or buts.
Here are the life lessons we try very hard to instill in our kiddos. Some of these have not been brought up yet and won’t be for a long time, but they are all still important and by the time they are grown I hope they understand why we pushed them so hard to learn these.
- Life is not fair.
Life will never be fair. Someone will always have something you want. There will always be winners and losers. You will not always get your way. It may be a tough idea to swallow when you’re young, but none the less, it’s true. If I teach my children that they get whatever they want, they will never survive as adults. It’s plain and simple, you will not always get your way.
- Grown ups can and will do things that kids can’t do.
As cruel as this may sound, I do not think adults should have to hide in a corner to eat a piece of candy so their child won’t see them. This is ridiculous. My kids don’t even think twice anymore when I eat something or do something in front of them. If I’m eating candy and they ask me if they can have a piece and I say no, they move on. I’m an adult and I can do what I want (to an extent.) They have all learned from a very young age that mommy and daddy can do things that they simply cannot. When they are adults they can eat as much crap as they want but I refuse to hide in a closet to eat my own damn snacks.
- Not everyone is nice.
There are just some mean people in this world and that will never change. Teach your kids to walk away from people who have no positive impact on their lives. Be proud of your kids for choosing to be nice or walk away in a bad situation and make them feel proud of themselves for doing so.
- Don’t ever be a bully.
You stand up for the weak. You do not belittle them or treat them like they are less than you. Everyone is different and everyone is struggling in life with situations you know nothing about. You do not hurt people to feel cool or prove yourself to others. I tell our kids all the time to stick up for anyone being bullied. They know better than to pick on another kid, animal, plant, or whatever else they think they can take their anger out on.
- Don’t act spoiled.
There are millions of people who would die to have what you have. You respect what you have and treat it well or I will give it away to someone who really deserves it. You are not entitled to anything and nobody owes you anything. Stay humble and appreciate what you have because instead you could have nothing!
- Money comes and goes.
Money has a way of going and coming. However, just because you can buy something doesn’t mean you should. If you can learn to be responsible with money and not live beyond your means then you’re ready to make the choice to purchase the items you want.
- Nobody is going to be your maid.
I’m your mother, I am not your maid! Therefor nobody else is either. Do not expect others to do things for you. You are a completely capable human being and you can fold your own cloths, make your own bed and retrieve your own snacks. If those things are too difficult then I am failing as a mother. Life gets much, much harder as the years go on and I will not always be there to help you clean up your messes.
- You will be polite.
Please, thank you, may I, yes ma’am, yes sir! The whole nine yards has been taught and seriously reinforced since the moment they could talk. And guess what, it’s now second nature to them. They know exactly how to address people or situations politely and they know the answer is no if they choose to do so any other way. We obviously still have to remind them every now and then but for the most part they have it figured out. I’m proud of them for speaking so politely. How many 3-year-old use the phrase “may I have___” every time they ask for something? Not enough, that’s for sure.
- Always write thank you cards.
I realize writing an actual letter is basically considered old fashion now, but I don’t care. I was raised to always send thank you cards to anyone who gave me any sort of gift. This is one old-fashioned routine that will not die with me. How can you appreciate something if you don’t acknowledge the someone who gave it to you? Write thank you cards. They’re heart-felt, they’re hand written and it makes people happy when they receive them. It also makes my kids realize that someone spent their precious time picking out something for them, the least they can do is take the time to thank them properly. If they can’t write a simple letter then they do not deserve to receive any gifts.
- Take responsibility for your actions and do not lie.
This one has two meanings to me so bear with me while I explain. The first meaning is pretty simple. If you do something wrong, man up, admit it was you and attempt to fix the situation. If you cause a problem then it’s your responsibility to deal with it. Also, I know when you’re lying and the consequences are worse for lying than they are for the actual offense! Keep that in mind when you speak!
The second meaning has to do with the future, and hopefully the FAR future. It has to do with sex and babies. For some reason I am completely and utterly terrified that my kids will be pressured into this situation way too early in their lives. With puberty happening earlier on and the lack of thinking, sex has become normal at the young and completely ridiculous age of 13 / 14 and many times even younger. My point being, if you choose to be irresponsible and have sex at that age, despite my stalker mom efforts to keep you locked in your room, then you better take responsibility for any results that come from those actions. Hence a baby. I am not going to raise your baby so you better be willing to be a very young teenage mom or dad if you purposely choose to make an adult decision. This lesson will obviously be taught later in life, not when they’re 3 and 6.
There are many other lessons I’m sure but those are the ones that are reinforced the most. All of our kids are amazingly happy, outgoing and extremely polite so I think it’s safe to say we’re doing a few things right. Even when it feels like nothing is going as planned.