What do kids really need from their parents? After years of working with children, teens and their families, we have reduced the answer to what we think are the three most important things. We’ll highlight them now, and over the next few weeks will give more information about each.
> A Sense of Purpose
Love! – Most kids grow up misunderstanding real love. Instead they often grow up thinking praise and attention for good performance means they are loved. These kids either seek love by performing well, or they will “go along with the crowd” in order to feel cared about or accepted.
On the other hand, kids who know they’re loved no matter what are secure and confident. They are far less inclined to always feel stressed by performance pressures, or behave rebelliously in order to fit in.
A Sense of Purpose! – American children often grow up thinking they are the most important people on earth. Instilling a sense of purpose helps children understand and value the importance of others. Teaching our children to use their talents to benefit others is the best way to instill in them a sense of purpose.
Accountability! – Children need to know and be accountable to rules and expectations. When parents confidently set and hold kids accountable to reasonable, rational, and respectful limits, their children begin to internalize their own sense of right, wrong, and values.
Effective parents work relentlessly to communicate unconditional love to their children, instill in their children a sense of purpose, and lovingly but firmly hold their kids accountable to household rules and expectations.