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Okay… I’m going to say it. We’re not doing a good job of raising our children. As the headlines scroll across my computer screen I see so many young people doing such ridiculous things… faking suicides so another child will kill themselves, driving while texting, torturing and killing people on social media, drugs, robbery, bullying. Doesn’t have to be your child.

As society has become more affluent, the meaning of being a good parent has shifted from raising competent, productive, respectful human beings… to being able to provide stuff for them. Notice I said the focus. There’s nothing wrong with providing for your children. I think it’s healthy for children to know the value of affluence. But buying them things shouldn’t be the focus. Jeans, jewelry, the latest gym shoes just so you can impress your neighbors or your kids can impress their friends. Who cares about that kind of stuff? Our focus should be… are we raising kids who are kind, strong and individual thinkers? Are they earnest and hard working? Do they respect others and other people’s property? Do they have a healthy level of self-esteem? That should be the focus.

And, I know, those sweet little faces are so hard to punish, but if you don’t instill discipline in them when they’re little, they’ll struggle as adults. Self-centered, self-indulgent, selfish children grow up to be self-centered, self-indulgent, selfish adults. Lazy at best. Criminal at worst.

I see so many people now who just have the kids, feed ‘em and that’s it. Our parents were way more involved in developing our characters than we’ve been. They had less tolerance for whining and slamming doors… and I think our generation is better for it.

If your kids are still small (even if they aren’t) begin to establish habits and patterns that focus on their future. Value things like education and the pursuit of excellence. Insist that they clean their rooms. Know who they’re hanging out with. Monitor their habits. Don’t make it a goal to be the cool Mom or Dad. Instead, take the time to build into your children. Make it a goal to make them into highly functioning and productive adults who will create a life that they’re proud of.

Parenting is not easy. Just like most things in life, it’s a situation where you get out of it what you put into it. What a blessing it will be to see your kids happy, healthy and productive, raising families of the same. Don’t set them up for failure by constantly giving in to them and letting them have their way. Focus on the end goal and rest easy knowing that after you’ve tended the garden faithfully, you can relax and reap the reward of a good crop. And ultimately, when life is going well for them, all the denied requests for jeans and gym shoes won’t matter. They’ll be filled with a sense of gratitude every time they think of your sacrifice and the blessing you have given them.

To your journey

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Tonya Lampley is a fiction author and Certified Life Coach. She writes about life, love and the journey and blogs on topics for living a successful life. Her debut novel was titled A Taste of Love and was a 2012 NIEA finalist. Her second book is titled Indiscretion and her third book is titled Dirty. All books are available on Amazon. For more information about Tonya and her works please visit www.TonyaLampley.com.