Sure, let's teach our children to tie their shoes, how to solve algebraic equations and what the ingredients are for a health self and healthy relationships! This past week we celebrated and released our 8th grade daughter to new levels of development and maturity - high school. This new stage of development has challenged us to be more intentional about her and her brothers emotional and spiritual intelligence.
Too many of us are expecting our children to grow strong, intelligent and healthy in every area by merely setting an expectation or a rule. It is vital and urgent that we not only set expectations but we also set examples. We have to be the salt, life and love in the lives of our children as well as in our communities. We have to keep the doors open to continue the conversations that encourage emotional intelligence.
We sense a shift to enhance our parenting toolbox at different stages in our children's lives. But I believe this past week's events (daughter's 8th grade banquet/dance, baccalaureate ceremony and graduation) confirmed and affirmed us. Our baby-girl has continued to be the example that God uses to teach us how to be decent parents. We don't get it right a lot of times. We have missed themes and opportunities to reach our children in distinct ways. But overall I must say God's voice is the REALEST. He keeps us informed. He gives us confidence necessary to make tough parenting decisions and most of all the grace and love to follow through.
A few thoughts about parenting emotionally intelligent and emotionally responsible children/youth.
Be not ashamed about who you were at their age. The lessons, trials, traumas, and victories validate and encourage our children.
Encourage your children to share (while you listen actively) with you the things that scare, excite, frustrate and confuse them. Our children & youth need at least 1 space where they can speak and know they are being heard. A space where their voice matters, prayerfully they find that space in us as parents.
Set appropriate guidelines based on their personality, morals, standards, values, strengths and weaknesses. Every boundary cannot be about age. There are some 15 year olds that require certain boundaries that a different 10 year old does not need.
In this new season we decided to allow our children some new liberties. For our daughter we thought it best to develop a written covenant that we all sign and live by. To be honest these are some of the same guidelines that we generally govern ourselves by too. Be the example don't just set expectations.
Seek God first as you parent.
Ask God for wisdom as you navigate the joys, pains, and realness of parenting.
Don't be afraid to admit when you are wrong.
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