At US Family Health Plan – a TRICARE Prime health program – one of our goals is to provide you with ammunition you can use to create a healthier, more rewarding life. We all can agree that family life is one of the most important aspects of life. And also one of its greatest joys, is the gift of raising children. Let’s face it, we all want happy, healthy and self-confident children and want them to get the most out of life. But as parents, we must build a foundation that will help successfully navigate them through life’s up and downs.
Here are 5 parenting “success” ingredients for raising happy, self-confident children:
- As parents, don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk. Set a great example. You can lecture your children all day long – blah, blah, blah, blah – but it’s what you do that really counts. Resist the urge to tell your children how to live. Rather, strive to be a shining example of what good living is. They will observe this and take note, even if they don’t say it. How often you hear the phrase, “So and so is the mirror image of his father”. Well, guess what? You are that image that your children will mirror. Make sure the image that you are projecting is the same one you want to see.
- Monitor your household stress barometer – make sure you control the settings! You don’t like to be stressed out and neither do your children. Try to keep stress levels in the household as low as possible. A calm and grounded household results in calm and grounded children. Too much stress in the household can set everyone on edge and trigger lower grades, less sleep, poorer performance in sports, as well as difficulty in getting along with others. Stress depletes the immune system, leading to more colds, coughs and even more serious health conditions. Strive to maintain a low-stress household. Your children will appreciate you for it, and will learn to impart less stress on those they make contact with in life.
- Have confidence in your children. Praise them when they deserve it! The greatest compliment you can give to a child is to believe in them and let them know you care. There are plenty of occasions for discipline and guidance, so it’s important to offset these with expressions of praise. When they show you their good qualities, point out how proud you are as a parent. Let them know how this makes you feel. When you reinforce good behavior, you bring out the best in them, even as you continue to set important boundaries. Praise is a confidence builder. The simple act of reinforcing good behavior and decisions will pay great dividends, giving your children the ability to accomplish great things in life.
- Encourage your children even during difficult times. We all know that it’s not how many times we get knocked down in life, it’s how many times we get back up. Let your children know when they’ve put a good effort forth with the right intention. Remind them that whether they win or lose, it’s how they play the game that counts. We all can’t be winners all of the time, but we can play fairly. It’s important for children to learn that even when they lose at sports, or games or even grades, that we, their family, are still 100% behind them and still love them for who they are and are there to support them. With effort put forth, along with good intentions, anything can be accomplished, and success is bound to come. So keep encouraging your little ones to keep up the good fight!
- Eat dinner together, as a family. Being able to share good, enjoyable stories and experiences over family dinner can make all the difference in the world. Not only does this practice keep the family connected, it fosters a healthy exchange of ideas, information and laughter. Children who enjoy family meals tend to have better manners, healthier diets, more self-esteem, and larger vocabularies. Each generation has something to contribute and there is a lot to be shared over a good plate of food.
Healthy parenting can make the difference. Happy, self-confident children are more likely to turn into successful, accomplished adults. Our society puts a high premium on performance. But happier self-confident people tend to be healthier and more successful in life. So, here’s to raising healthy, happy, self-confident children. These are our future leaders and we want to give them the best foundation we can.