Weekly Parenting Tips
Family Life Ministry, Diocese of Antigonish
Used with permission re Family Ministry Office of Diocese of Hamilton
Parents have the primary influence on their children’s values. Your kids are watching you, they look to you to guide them in how they think and act. They especially watch what you do, more than what you say. They learn from how you use pills and medications, how you use or don’t use alcohol, and from how you treat others. They also watch and observe your spiritual self by observing what you say and do. Are you living the life you want your children to live?
As we begin a new year we are often compelled to start ‘anew’ by changing areas of our lives which do not fully satisfy us. This is an excellent time to assess your role as parent. Parents are called to be leaders (by making rules, sticking together to enforce rules, and by staying in charge) and models (by planning time with your children, listening to your children, encouraging your children and talking with your children) in their families. When parents are leaders and models children thrive. Now is a good time to develop strategies to be both for your children!
Tip # 3
The New Year is a time for all of us to reflect on the past and see if positive changes are needed in our lives. Are there changes you would like to see in your family - more time spent together, a greater number of meals shared as a family, increased sharing of events in each others lives, or an increase in peaceful family time? Discuss what changes each family member would like to see and then write out an action plan - a how to, so you will accomplish one or two of your goals. Your children will learn how to set goals and action plans, while all of you will benefit from positive changes that will strengthen your relationship as a family.
Tip # 2
In the Christmas carol, ‘Do You Hear What I Hear?’ the words, “He will bring us goodness and light” are repeated twice at the end of the song. It is an important message to help our children understand – Jesus brings us goodness and light for our everyday living. He shows us how to live through the Gospels, he nourishes us through the Eucharist, and he listens and responds to our prayers. For Catholics, Christmas is about so much more than gifts - it is the promise, through Jesus, of goodness and light in our lives. Parents who help their children know and understand this give their children a gift to last a lifetime
Tip # 1
Christmas is a time of great joy and excitement for children who wait with anticipation to receive presents from Santa and other loved ones. Keeping Christ’s birth at the heart of the celebration can be hard, but not impossible. We can help our children focus on the true meaning of Christmas in the following ways: place the nativity scene as a focal point in your home; assist with or contribute to charity drives; read the story of Christ’s birth daily; engage in a small advent lighting ceremony each week of advent as a family; on Christmas morning sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus before you open up the gifts under tree. Christmas holds a deeper meaning for all when we stay focused on its true meaning.