Tag Archive for: child well-being

I was 18 when my father announced he was divorcing my mother. My sister and brother were 13 and 20 respectively.

While some might think that the three of us were old enough to grasp what was going on, our lives were honestly in an absolute tailspin. Sure, we had heard our parents fight, but it never seemed like anything major.

Never in a million years would I have suspected they were headed down the road to divorce. If you had asked anyone in our community about the likelihood of my parents splitting, they probably would have laughed in your face. The whole thing was a very big shocker.

“What some people don’t take into consideration is the younger you are when your parents divorce, the more childhood you have left to travel between two parents whose lives become more different with each passing year,” says Elizabeth Marquardt, author of Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce and director of the Center for Marriage and Family at the Institute for American Values.

“The older you are when your parents divorce, the more you have to lose. You have a long experience with your ‘whole’ family. You have (for yourself, the teen) a lifetime of memories, experiences, photographs and stories of YOUR FAMILY. All of that comes apart.”

A World Turned Upside Down

Going through the divorce process was an awkward time, not just for my family, but for friends, youth leaders, teachers, and neighbors. People knew what happened, but seemed to keep their distance as if they didn’t know what to say.

Just recently I was talking with a childhood friend about my parents’ divorce. She said the divorce shocked her so much that she didn’t know what to say – so she never said anything at all.

As a teenager, I had all these thoughts and feelings rumbling around inside my head and no idea where to turn to sort things out. Furious with my parents and the situation in which I found myself, I wondered how I had missed the severity of the situation and if there was any way I could have helped to prevent the divorce.

I had questions:  

  • “Would we have to move?”
  • “How would I afford college?”
  • “Would we see our father and did I even want to see him?”
  • “What will my friends think of me?”
  • “Why me?”

I would lie awake at night praying that this was just a bad dream and that I would eventually wake up and everything would be just fine.

“Divorce is tremendously painful at any age (even if you are grown and have left home when your parents divorce), but especially so in the vulnerable teen years when you are just looking at the world and imagining taking it on, on your own,” Marquardt says. “You are standing on the rock of your family, about to jump off, but needing to know that the rock is there so you can jump back at any time. But before your eyes the rock fractures in two.

“Teens can be more likely than younger children to get drawn into their parents’ needs and to worry about their parents’ vulnerabilities. And this is occurring at precisely the time when, developmentally, they are supposed to be identifying more with peers than parents. It’s not developmentally appropriate for a teen to spend the weekend ‘visiting’ his father or ‘visiting’ his mother. His parents are supposed to just BE THERE, steady, in the background, while the teen is focusing on other things.”

Teens Need a Strong Support System During A Divorce

In many instances, teens don’t feel like they can talk with their parents about the divorce. I suspect there were many people who wanted to be supportive of me as I went through this tough time, but just didn’t know what to say or how to approach me. Honestly, I think just letting me know they were aware and available if I needed to talk would have been helpful.

“Parents can do their teen a great favor by personally speaking with people who are close to their teen such as grandparents, a beloved aunt or uncle, coach, youth leader or close adult friend letting them know they want their teen to feel free to speak openly about how they’re feeling, even if it means sometimes saying something bad or unflattering about their parents,” Marquardt says.

“Clearly, this is not about family members and the teen joining together in badmouthing the parents, but they do want to give ‘permission’ to the teen and family member to speak openly as the TEEN wishes. Parents need to understand that if this person is not someone the teen already has a close relationship with, the teen is likely just to see them as another adult and unlikely to form a trusting bond during that time, unless the person is especially skilled and empathetic.”

Family members, friends or others who have their own feelings they need to process about the divorce should turn to someone besides the teen, cautions Marquardt.

Local clinical psychologist, Susan Hickman encourages caring adults who find themselves in a position to reach out to teens who are experiencing divorce to consider the following:

  • Be immovable. Provide unlimited, unyielding support at a time when everything seems chaotic.
  • Be patient with their behavior. Remember that teens often express their pain through their behavior versus words. Respond to this with positive regard and consistent support for the child providing gentle limits and correction if needed.
  • Listen, listen, listen. Do more listening than talking. Teens experiencing divorce are in pain and confusion. Someone needs to hear them.
  • Validate their feelings even if you do not agree. Emotions aren’t reasonable. They are expressions of exuberance or distress. Acknowledge their emotions and tell them you understand why they might feel that way.
  • Save judgment or criticism for later. This is a time of repair – being there for them in the midst of distress speaks volumes. Teens need to know you care and that they are worth caring about.
  • Find a teen support group. Support groups for teens experiencing divorce allows them to connect with people their own age in similar circumstances.
  • Time is the key. Giving teens the time they need can sometimes be challenging. Just like there are times when we think people ought to be in a certain place in their grieving process after a death, people often assume that after a certain amount of time kids should just be over the divorce. Sometimes it takes a long time for teens to process what they have been through and for healing to take place.

“Teens going through this very hard time should get the help they need. They should also be encouraged that there are so many great ways to learn about having a good and happy marriage,” Marquardt says.

“The pain they are going through is something they can use to inspire them to be a great husband/wife and father/mother some day. There are many children of divorce in happy, lasting marriages and that can be them, too.”

They say time heals all wounds, and I suppose to some degree that is true.

I remember talking to one of my college professors before heading home for Christmas break my freshman year. I did not want to go home. After listening to me for a while, he said, “I know you don’t want to do home. I understand that what you are experiencing is miserable, but you have told me that you plan to be a counselor. And while this is not something I would wish on anybody, what you are experiencing now will be helpful to you later on when you are working with people who are dealing with divorce.”

He was right. I am painfully aware that my parents’ divorce left scars on my life. If there is a positive side to the divorce, it would have to be the tenacious passion I have for having a healthy marriage and for helping teens that are experiencing divorce. They need to know somebody out there cares and is willing to walk the road with them. 

Dads don’t matter. Seriously, dads don’t make a difference – unless it matters that children are physically and emotionally healthy and achieve educational success. If those things matter for your children, then fathers DO make a difference.

Dr. Alma Golden, pediatrician and former member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on the Family, has a lot to say about marriage and children.

“As Baby Boomers we were told these things:

  • Marriage is old-fashioned and confining;
  • Open relationships are healthier and more conducive to personal development;
  • Fathers are nice but not necessary;
  • It is better to live with a divorced mother than two unhappy parents;
  • The kids will be OK, they are flexible; and
  • Financial disparities are the reason for the differences in health and educational achievement.

“What we believed changed our world and started driving personal decisions. People started getting married later. Women are having fewer children and having them later. Single mothers are giving birth to more children. Fewer children are living with their married biological parents,” says Golden.

So how do these changes affect children?

A study of 294,000 families released in 2010 by the Centers for Disease Control indicates family structure makes a huge difference for children. 

The CDC study indicates that when children grow up with their two married biological parents, they have a lower rate of delayed medical care. They’re also less likely to have ADHD regardless of income, education, poverty status, place of residence or region.

Additionally, an earlier study found that in sixth through 12th graders, the strongest predictor of getting a diploma and going to college is having a father who attends PTA meetings.

“When dads show a clear commitment to their children, encouraging them in their educational endeavors, children do better,” Golden says. “The research also indicated that a married daddy at home doubles the chances that a child learns self-management.

“Conversely, non-nuclear families seem to struggle with a lot of issues. For example, cohabiting fathers have less than half the income of married fathers. They tend to bring less commitment to the family as a general rule. The implications for the children are they have fewer resources available to them. Additionally, seven in 10 children of cohabiting couples will experience parental separation.”

Findings from the American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force in 2003 showed that:

  • Married men and women are physically and emotionally healthier. They are less likely to participate in risky behavior such as alcohol and drug abuse.
  • Married men and women live longer. 
  • People behave differently when they are married. They live healthier lifestyles and monitor each other’s health. And, the increased social support also increases the family’s chances of success.

“If we look back at the baby boomer list, what we now know is that marriage is actually beneficial for men, women and children,” Golden says. “Cohabitation is often of low-trust, stressful and more prone to violence and dissolution. Fathers are a necessity. Good enough marriages produce better outcomes than divorce. The kids are NOT flexible and may not be OK and family structure and stability are more important predictors of outcomes than finances.”

Image from Unsplash.com

Over the years, there has been a shift in the sequence of marriage and parenthood. Remember the rhyme?

“First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage…”

Not so – at least anymore. In fact, 57 percent of mothers between the age of 26 and 31 are unmarried when their child is born.

While you may think this is the “new normal,” it isn’t the norm for everyone.

A study by Andrew Cherlin at Johns Hopkins University shows that a college education has become more than a pathway to higher paying jobs. A college education is now a definitive factor in childbearing. Of mothers without a high school diploma, 63 percent of births occur outside of marriage. Among college-educated young women, 71 percent of births occur within marriage.

How does this trend affect children?

Research shows that this set of circumstances creates two distinct paths for children where marriage and education are the deciding factors. When children grow up in a home with their two married parents, they are more likely to experience a stable environment with access to an array of resources and educational opportunities.

In a non-married home, children are less likely to grow up with stability or opportunity to access the same type of resources.

Children from single-parent homes are five times more likely to experience poverty. But, children who grow up with their married parents in low-income homes are at far less risk of being poor.

Children need stability.

But in an interview with the news site, Vox, Cherlin shared his concern about the stability of family lives for children. Cohabiting unions typically break up at higher rates than marriages. About half of all cohabiting couples will either marry or break up within two years. Those who break up will likely create more cohabiting unions – and creating more instability.

If you believe that people with a high school diploma or less are not as likely to want marriage, think again. Katheryn Edin’s research (Promises I Can Keep) with 150 low-income women clearly indicates that these women want marriage, but they have to wait to find the right person to marry. However, getting pregnant is something they can do right away.

Most teens (74%) see marriage and children in their future – in that order. This is according to a June 2014 National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unwanted Pregnancies report.

Clearly, there is a disconnect concerning the significance of marriage and its impact on child well-being. Our society often emphasizes the importance of higher education for young people. It usually fails to address, however, the sequencing for success and the significance of marriage.

There are profoundly different outcomes for children when people attain higher education, work full time, marry and then start families.

Their chances of living in poverty drop from 12 percent to 2 percent. Also, the chances of joining the middle class move from 56 percent to 74 percent. Imagine how future generations would be impacted if more people realized the benefits of following this “success sequence.”

 ***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear your computer or device is being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

Popular artist Taylor Swift is aware of her critics and the harshness of their comments, especially after the time she sang off key with Stevie Nicks. One critic said it was the beginning of the end of her career.

These comments definitely affected Swift. So, what was her response? She wrote a song: Mean. 

You, with your words like knives and swords and weapons that you use against me,

You have knocked me off my feet again, got me feeling like I’m nothing…

While there have always been mean people, many would agree that there seems to be more mean behavior than even a decade ago.

“I believe as a society we are seeing more meanness and we have become more tolerant of it,” says Dr. Gary J. Oliver, emotional intelligence expert. “While bullying has always been around, we have seen an escalation of inhospitable, hurtful and demeaning behavior – and not just in adults who have lived a rough life. We are seeing this behavior in children as well.”

So, as Swift asks in her lyrics, why do people have to be so mean?

“I think there are a number of reasons,” Oliver says. “People seem to be more accepting of mean behavior instead of stopping it. And we have a lot of hurting people out there. When a wounded person feels threatened, they lash out in an effort to protect themselves. These people are almost always unhappy, insecure and frustrated. Their effort to make themselves feel better and safer comes at a great cost to those who become the target of their anger.”

Oliver also believes mean behavior has increased because of humans’ natural instinct to fight, run away or freeze when they feel threatened. People who don’t how to handle a mean situation often resort to fighting back or attacking someone out of anger.

“Most people do not realize that when they feel threatened, the emotion portion of their brain gets hijacked. If they have never learned emotional self-awareness, they resort to instinctive responses,” Oliver says. “Parents can teach their children how to handle their emotions in a way that is assertive yet not mean and disrespectful.”

Dr. Oliver shares these tips to teach children emotional intelligence:

  • Love your children.
  • Keep expectations realistic. No child can be number one at everything.
  • Help your child to recognize his/her strengths.
  • Teach them healthy boundaries.
  • Model how to treat others with kindness and compassion even when treated disrespectfully.
  • When someone makes a mean statement to your child, teach them to ask themselves if it is true. If not, they can dismiss it. If it is, they can do something about it.

“Nobody likes being treated mean – not even the bully,” Oliver says. “Teaching your children that they don’t have to react to every stimulus and that they can remain calm will serve them well on into adulthood. How far your child goes in life depends more on emotional intelligence than having a degree from an Ivy League school.”

Who would you prefer your child to hang around, someone who is mean, disrespectful and rude or someone who is compassionate, kind and respectful?

Image from Unsplash.com

A dad’s presence is important. Here are 20 reasons your child needs you:

1.  Lets your child know that you love him/her.

2.  Provides your child with greater financial resources.

3.  Gives your child a positive role model.

4.  Provides your child with emotional support.

5.  Enhances your child’s self-esteem.

6.  Provides your child with guidance and discipline.

7.  Enhances your child’s intellectual development.

8.  Gives your child someone to rough and tumble play with.

9.  Provides your child with someone to talk to when he/she has questions.

10. Increases your child’s chances for academic success.

11. Provides your child with an alternative perspective on life.

12. Lowers your child’s chances for early sexual activity.

13. Lowers your child’s chances for school failure.

14. Lowers your child’s chances for youth suicide*.

15. Lowers your child’s chances for juvenile delinquency.

16. Lowers your child’s chances for adult criminality.

17. Provides your child with a sense of physical and emotional security.

18. Facilitates your child’s moral development.

19. Promotes a healthy gender identity in your child.

20. Helps your child learn important skills.

From Reasons Why Your Child Needs You to be an Active Father by Stephen D. Green, Ph.D., Child Development Specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, there are a number of websites and organizations with excellent resources for you. HelpGuide is a great place to start, along with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention or 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline – just dial 988.

Looking for more? Check out this episode of JulieB TV on this topic.

*If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, there are a number of websites and organizations with excellent resources for you. HelpGuide is a great place to start, along with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention at 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

In 2014, a group of liberals and conservatives began discussing inequality and family breakdown, poring over research and developing solutions to this problem. In December 2015, they released their report on poverty and mobility called Opportunity, Responsibility and Security: A Consensus Plan for Reducing Poverty and Restoring the American Dream. 

“There are a gazillion reports from various think tanks and interests group on this topic, but this is the first time people from opposite sides discussed the facts about the nature of poverty and mobility today,” says report co-author Kay Hymowitz. “This came at a time when it was very difficult for opposite sides to be talking, yet we met and communicated regularly for more than a year. Through shared values and old-fashioned compromise, we defined the problem and offered a solution.”

The Problem

Childhood poverty (21.8 percent) is at almost the exact same level today as it was in 1970. Broken down by race:

  • 12 percent of Caucasian children and 33 percent of Hispanic children lived in poverty in 1970. These rates remain unchanged.
  • 42 percent of African American children lived in poverty in 1970, compared to 38 percent in 2012.

“Despite living in a richer country than we were in 1970, we have done very little to address child poverty,” Hymowitz says. “One of the major reasons for this number staying so stubbornly high is children are growing up in very different circumstances than in the past.”

Consider the following information:

Unwed births increased dramatically between 1970 and 2010.

  • Black: 37.6 percent to 72 percent
  • Caucasian: 5.7 percent to 35.9 percent
  • Hispanic (1990 to 2010): 36.7 percent to 53.4 percent

While the number of unwed births have somewhat stabilized recently, the rates remain very high. In fact, unmarried mothers under the age of 30 account for almost 50 percent of the births.

“In 1970, the large majority of women at age 35 were married and living with children,” Hymowitz says. “By 2010, only about 51 percent were married and living with children. In 1970, only 9 percent of women were single mothers at 35. Today, that number is 20.5 percent. This is the number we want to study.”

According to the Census Bureau, the percentage of poor families with children breaks down like this:

  • Single-parent female-headed families living in poverty: 37.1 percent
  • Married families with children living in poverty:  6.8 percent

“There is no way to talk about poverty at this point in history without addressing the breakdown of marriage,” says Hymowitz.

What else causes people to be poor? 

Low paying jobs and lack of jobs contribute to poverty. When you look at the landscape of the labor force since 1980, some very interesting transitions have taken place.

  • The percentage of men who are working has decreased from 72 percent in 1980 to 64.4 percent in 2012. For African American men, the numbers have gone from 61 percent to 49.6 percent.
  • Women are more likely to be working. That number has gone from 39.9 percent in 1980 to 59.4 percent in 2012.
  • Wages have become stagnant for low-wage and middle-wage men.
  • The percentage of men who have left the workforce has doubled, along with the percentage of men without a college degree.
  • The percentage of men in the labor force is lower in the U.S. than every other country in the industrialized world except Israel.
  • Women are earning more than ever before.

“These trends affect each other,” Hymowitz says. “Fewer men are working. Those who are working are making less. Women are making more and can manage, even if it’s not very well. Not only are they earning more, they get a lot more in the way of benefits.

“When you add all the benefits, the official poverty rate comes down significantly from 47.6 percent to 24 percent. The conditions in which people are deciding how to manage their domestic lives has changed significantly. Couples see no reason to marry even if they have children. Children are the ones who pay the price for the breakdown of marriage and stable family life.”

Can the children escape from poverty?

Research indicates that 43 percent of children who are born to poor parents will be poor themselves. Both liberals and conservatives are especially concerned about this number.

Potential Solutions

“Three areas need to be addressed together: work, education and family,” Hymowitz says. “These three areas of life are what have to work pretty well for you to get ahead. They interconnect. We concluded that the 21st century reality demands that we address all three together at the same time. You can’t pull one out and work solely on that one. This is what set our group apart from other groups who have examined this issue.

“You can strengthen families, but without an education opportunity, children can’t fully benefit from the additional time and resources that two parents provide. You can improve the workforce, but if the education system fails to provide the needed knowledge and skills to the next generation, then wages will remain low. If the education system dramatically improves, but work opportunities are limited, then knowledge and skill-building will be less effective and less-rewarded. If the education system improves but a greater number of children are growing up in unstable homes, it is highly likely they will struggle with discipline, persistence and achievement – especially so for boys.

“Growing up in a family where you cannot have the kind of stability that allows you to concentrate on your homework impacts your ability to do well in school. This impacts your ability to find a job, which impacts your ability to provide for a family. Education, work and family lay the foundation and reinforce each other. If you take one of these components away, the entire thing collapses.

We organized our thinking about solutions around three values:

  • Opportunity: The group recognized that social and economic changes were combining in new ways that threatened to make it harder for children to achieve the American dream. Each man and woman should be able to attain to the fullest stature to which they are capable. The circumstances into which they were born shouldn’t matter.
  • Responsibility: Individuals can’t just wait for opportunity to fall into their laps. It is far better to earn money than to depend on assistance, and better to be responsible parents for children. This is essential to getting ahead.
  • Security: It is important to provide people with a certain amount of security. Life throws curve balls beyond any one person’s responsibility, so we need to provide a certain amount of security for those who are hit hard.

“As we focused on our three values, we realized that in the U.S. at this time marriage offers the best chance for children to thrive,” Hymowitz says.

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear your computer or device is being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

When temperatures are extremely hot, it’s hard to think about going outside and doing anything except jumping in a pool—and even that feels like jumping into a big bathtub! It’s a shame—because there are so many fun things to take advantage of, wherever you live. When the temperatures cool off a bit and there are only a few weeks before school starts, it’s the perfect time to plan some end-of-summer outdoor adventures with your family.

According to the National Wildlife Federation, childhood has moved “indoors” over the past two decades. The average American boy or girl spends just four to seven minutes in unstructured outdoor play each day, and more than seven hours each day in front of an electronic screen.

Children are out of shape, tuned out and stressed out because they’re missing something essential to their health and development: connection to the natural world.

An ongoing research project called Child of Our Time follows the growth of 25 children from the time they are born until they become adults. They have documented some interesting findings about children who play outside.

  • One of the benefits of playing outside is that children laugh more. This is good because laughter is a stress reliever and it helps stimulate the immune system.
  • Another benefit of outside play is better health. Researchers found that children who engage in outside play have the potential to have stronger bones and muscles from activities like running and jumping. They also get vitamin D just from being in the sun. When children are active, they are less likely to battle obesity and more likely to do well in school.
  • Additional studies show that children who play outside are more likely to be adventurous and open to new experiences. They tend to be better at making friends and have longer attention spans. Outdoor play fuels the imagination and teaches children how to be resourceful by creating their own entertainment.

What are you waiting for? Put the iPhone down, pull your kids away from their gaming devices and head outdoors for some family adventures.  Experience the benefits an active lifestyle can bring while making some great memories!

If you’re short on ideas, here are a few to get you started:

  • Ride bikes through the park.
  • Visit the zoo.

  • Look up hiking trails near you and set out!

  • If you are brave and your children are old enough, check out a zipline adventure.

  • Grab some cardboard boxes and go sledding down a big, grassy hill.

  • Teach your children how to play kick the can, hopscotch and freeze tag.

  • Get out (or rent) the kayaks or paddleboards and travel down a local river or creek.

  • Create your own Summer Olympics and get all the neighborhood kids and parents involved. Sack races, egg toss, three-legged race and the wheelbarrow race are excellent backyard Olympic events.
  • Take your teens whitewater rafting.
  • Find a bridge, country road or local park and take a leisurely stroll.

Playing outside with your children is not only great exercise, it’s also a fantastic opportunity to bond as a family. If having outdoor family adventures is new for you, your kids may balk at first but once they experience the fun, they won’t want to stop. Are you up for the challenge?

In the movie Overboard, a man tricks a woman with amnesia into thinking she is a wife and the mother of four. Annie (the mother) gets fed up with the father for not spending time with his children. His response to her? He says he is a pal to his kids, and that he “brings home the paycheck, which is what the man of the house is supposed to do.”

Annie’s response? “Your children have pals. What they need is a father.”

For many years, experts told fathers that bringing home a paycheck and leaving the parenting to Mom was the most important example they could set for their family.

Now, research shows that having a loving and nurturing father is as valuable as having a loving and nurturing mother for a child’s happiness, well-being and social and academic success.

It isn’t just about bringing home the bacon.

Looking back, Scotty Probasco, Jr. recognizes that his dad did a whole lot more than just bring home a paycheck. As a result, his influence is still present in his life today. He set an example that helped his children understand what it means to experience life to the fullest.

“My dad and I were as different as night and day,” Probasco says. “He served in both World Wars and was a very stern man, yet he was a nurturing presence in my life. He showed me what it meant to be a loving husband and father by working hard, yet making sure that he spent time with our family. My dad believed that work was honorable and fun. He taught me that I ought to try to do things that would make the world a little bit better. Throughout my life, I have tried to live out the lessons my father taught me.”

Mr. Probasco, Sr. set an example for his son that not only taught him about taking care of his family, it taught him about the greater good: Understanding that it is not all about you. He knew that some of the greatest blessings people receive are from giving to others.

There is no doubt that involved dads do make a difference in the lives of their children. However, some fathers struggle with how to engage their children so they can provide a nurturing example.

Dad, if you really want to connect with your kids, try these tips from the experts.

  • Respect your child’s mother. If you are married, keep your marriage relationship strong. If you are not married to your child’s mother, it is still important to respect and support her. Parents who respect each other are better able to provide a secure environment for their children.
  • Spend time with your children. Treasuring children often means sacrificing other things, but spending time with your kids is essential. You lose missed opportunities forever.
  • Talk to your children. Too frequently, dads only speak with their kids when they have done something wrong. Take time to listen to their ideas and problems with they are young. If you do that, they will still want to talk with you when they get older.
  • Discipline with love. Children need guidance and discipline, not as punishment, but to set reasonable limits. When you discipline in a calm and fair manner, you show love for your child.
  • Be a role model. A girl who spends time with a loving father grows up knowing she deserves for boys to treat her with respect, and she knows what to look for in a husband. Fathers can teach sons what is important in life by demonstrating honesty and responsibility.
  • Be a teacher. Teaching your kids about right and wrong encourages them to do their best, and you will likely see them make good choices. Use everyday examples to help your children learn the basic lessons of life.
  • Show affection. Children need the security that comes from knowing their family wants, accepts and loves them. Show appropriate affection every day -it’s the best way to let your children know that you love them.

And finally, don’t underestimate your significant role in your child’s life.