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You Are Your Child's First Teacher

By Rose DesRochers

How much thought have you given to your child's future? In three years, my daughter will be eighteen. Most likely, she will be leaving home at this time, and on her way to college.

I ask myself as a parent, will she be ready? Have I prepared her well enough for the future? Have I built courage within her, and will she have the right decision making skills needed to live on her own? I know that three years is not too far away, and I worry about these things constantly.

My husband and I have always encouraged our children to be self-managing, independent thinkers. I'm part of the percentage of parents who pays attention to raising my children. As I look at both of my children, I see a potential that lies within them. I see leadership in both of them, who take active roles within the community. They look up to my husband and I as mentors, so it is our job as parents to help them realize the talent within themselves that they posses.

Just recently I was touched when my son said that he looked up to us as his mentors.

I'm constantly encouraging my children to think for themselves. I don't want them to do something just because their friends are doing it. At the same time I do not want them missing great opportunities in life just because their friends are not doing it.

My daughter starts high school tomorrow; she was approached by the coach of the basketball team on registration day, and he encouraged her to come try out for the team. Her first response was to ask a friend to try out with her. I explained to my daughter that she needs to start making up her own mind, and that it was time to stop mirroring what her friends were doing, or not doing.

My children and I talk regularly about their future, and their hopes and dreams. We talk about what they want out of life. Time alone together, whether it's going for a walk, or coffee time at Tim Horton's, gives great opportunities for me to sit down and listen to what my children are saying.

Treat children like people. I never believed in the saying, "Children are to be seen, not heard." One thing I feel strongly about is how important it is to talk to my children as I would anyone else. We should never talk down to our children, or think their opinion is not useful because they are children. I'm always asking my children's opinions on important issues.

Remember that children see the same things you do; they just see the world through different eyes. Children love attention; they love to be able to talk to you about their lives. Children love to have conversations with adults. It makes them feel like what they have to say is of value and importance--and it is. Always be honest with your children. It doesn't matter what age they are, your children deserve honest answers. If you respect their viewpoint, they are more apt to listen and take your advice. Show your child respect and they will learn to respect others. Remember that our children learn by our example.

What kind of example are you setting for your children?

Will my children be prepared for the future?

"While it's a parent's job to worry, I'm quite confident I'm preparing them well."

'It must be remembered that the purpose of education is not to fill the minds of students with facts... it is to teach them to think, if that is possible, and always to think for themselves.' --- Robert Hutchins

Remember: you are your child's first teacher.

About The Author
Rose DesRochers, Canada

Rose is a published author and web columnist. She is also the founder of Today's Woman a supportive online community for men and women over 18. Their goal is to help writers succeed in the writing industry by offering a useful selection of services including author interviews, regular columns, interactive forums, and a place to share your writing for critique by your peers.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.

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