Sylvia Martignani writes for Family Corner
By: Sylvia Martignani, B.A. Psych & B.Ed
As the owner and Director of an Oxford Learning Centre in Toronto, I have gained extensive experience working in the field of education with children and youth of all ages. I believe that you need to go to University to become a teacher but you are born to be an educator. Since I was thirteen years old, I was always passionate about working with children. Then when I turned 25, working with adolescents intrigued me since they were practically children in an adult’s body. I also authored a similar column in another newspaper and I love writing so when I was asked to write for the Good News Journal, I did not hesitate to agree. So here I am, writing my first article for this paper and I am supremely honoured and humbled.
A few things you need to know about me before you read my articles are as follows: I use a lot of humour, I speak from experience and I tend to provide unconventional advice- sometimes. I am a proud Christian but I respect good people from every culture and background. I love to learn because it is the greatest component of being a good teacher. I also enjoy reading e-mails from my audience. So if you feel the urge to yell/complain/compliment/argue/defend/suggest/share/agree/disagree with me, please feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For my very first article, I would like to present you with the greatest list I ever wrote in hopes that it will be of great help to you in your child rearing practices.
Top 10 things you need to know to be a good parent:
1) The family that prays together, stays together. Much like taking naps or going to church, praying together is one activity that keeps families tight within the embrace of God Almighty. So don’t just preach, teach. Demonstrate a prayerful attitude by developing a good routine rooted in spiritual development.
2) Create memories everyday as a family. It is not about the expensive gifts or the big trips. What children recall most clearly are the moments where they laughed until their bellies hurt and the times you did things together, routinely and happily. Create traditions so that they can continue them with their own families.
3) Every child is unique. Period. Don’t ever compare them to siblings, relatives or friends’ kids.
4) There is no such thing as bad teens. There is such a thing as bad friends, bad influences, bad habits and bad environments.
5) Being a Good Parent does not mean permissiveness. Children need boundaries and discipline, life is not a free for all and failing adults are the result of permissive parenting.
6) Love them unconditionally. By virtue of the word, you cannot make them feel unloved when they disappoint you. Always start your lectures/discipline with the statement “I will always love you…” Also, show them the unconditional love you give to one another as husband and wife. This is the kind of love they will naturally seek when they are grown.
7) Make an effort to just “be there”. Soccer practice, ballet recitals, plays, competitions, presentations, meetings, auditions, break-ups, parties and the list goes on. Cheer them on, encourage them with your presence and just give them a hug when they lose because this is how you cement your love as unconditional.
8) Let them be. People often mistakenly push their children to fulfill dreams that they, as parents, could not achieve. Your heart is in the right place but your children have their own dreams. Harness their potential early by observing their capacity and talent for the arts such as music, painting, cooking, writing, photography etc. It is a well-known fact that children who develop a strength in one of the areas mentioned above are well-rounded and more successful.
9) Don’t pretend to be prefect. If you and your partner fight, do so in front of the children- respectfully. Show them how two people in a healthy relationship can disagree with one another and then make up in front of them too. Teach them how to say sorry, how to meet in the middle, how to love the other person with their flaws. Always try to control your anger and always be respectful but stop going to the room and yelling because that scars kids more than fighting in front of them.
10) God’s greatest gift to us- Gratitude. When we are grateful, we are humble and humility is the key to all successful interpersonal relationships. Many theorists and scientist agree that gratitude is physiologically good for us because it releases endorphins that make us happy. It also fills us with hope and confidence when we are grateful. So verbalize to your children how grateful you are to God that you had them, that you have a job and that God gave you a new day to conquer. Believe me, your kids might mock you for being perky all the time but it will have a phenomenal effect on their mood, their emotional attachments and on their lives. Children end up marrying people that resemble their parents in values so make sure that you embed and live the values you want for your grandchildren, your great-grandchildren and future generations.
You are gifted with instincts that are miraculously granted to you the instant you become a parent. Follow your instincts all the time. If you something feels right or wrong, it probably is.
Thanks for joining me in the Family Corner.