(NaturalNews) In today's 'arrested development' culture where adults go into their 20's and beyond behaving like children while the actual children rule over their squeamish, indecisive parents with little candy-coated fists, the fact that something is seriously wrong couldn't be more clear. We live in society where, for various reasons, parents are unwilling, unable, or simply afraid to properly discipline their children. As a result, many kids today are not only disrespectful, destructive, and disobedient, but obese and unhealthy as well. After all, children are no more capable of ruling themselves than they are of choosing a serving of broccoli over a pack of M&M's.
One of any parent's most important tasks is properly instilling respect in children - respect for their culture, parents, elders, and even the land and the food that the land provides. Proper respect leads to many traits everyone wants their children to have, yet few are willing to work to instill - among them good stewardship (over the land and one's own body), consideration of others, and a healthy desire for real freedom. So, how does a parent raise obedient, respectful children in today's culture? It's certainly not an easy thing, but it can and MUST be done.
Seven practical concepts for successful parenting
1.) Be consistent. To quote an old phrase, let your yeas mean yea and your nays mean nay. Don't be a wishy-washy parent. If your child thinks he can get his way by asking on the 10th time, he will ask 10 times, every time.
2.) Set boundaries. According to author Jim Cunningham, "A study was once performed of school-aged children antics on the playground. When the recess bell sounded they flooded the playground. They lined the fences and laughed and played. Then the fences that lined the playground were removed. The change was remarkable. The next morning the children huddled to the middle of the playground. They were anxious and insecure. They did not roam and play as normal. Then, the fences were put back in place. Do you want to guess what happened? The next day they were all over the playground again, happy and secure."
Children, deep down, do not want to live in a world without limits. They want parents to set boundaries for them, to protect them, nurture them and guide them into adulthood.
3.) Within the proper boundaries, allow children to follow their own 'bent.' Don't over-parent! Often parents expect children to be little versions of them. Such expectations usually lead to disappointment.
4.) Encourage positive behavior by looking for good things a child does, then making a point to encourage and praise those actions.
5.) Punish rebellion more than mistakes. Sure, there are times when certain repeated mistakes should lead to negative consequences, but overall, a child's attitude is the most important attribute to mold.
6.) Never let a child pit one parent against another. If Mom says no but the child knows he can run to Dad to get what he wants, he will do it every time and there will be instability in the home. Children should be taught that both parents are on the same page and a 'no' from one is a 'no' from both. This is truly difficult in divorce situations, but for the sake of the children both parents should put aside their differences and be on the same page.
7.) Practice the behavior you expect from your children. Children model their parents' behavior. If they see you lie, cheat, curse, steal, or even make unhealthy lifestyle choices, they are likely to think it's OK and do the same. If you and your spouse resolve arguments by shouting, don't be surprised to see the kids doing it. Be the ultimate role model for your children!
About the author: Scott is a blogger, writer, and researcher whose primary focus is how to raise healthy kids despite a system and status quo that makes it as difficult as possible. He and his wife, Kim, live in the hills of east Tennessee with their four small children. He holds an MBA from East Tennessee State University. Scott and Kim blog about parenting, marriage, healthy lifestyle, nutrition, and homesteading at www.amorefieldlife.com. Connect with them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/amorefieldlife.
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