Be firm when needed, but not harsh.
For me, this is a matter of not sweating the small stuff. For example, Abby coloured in one of the storybooks the other day. I took it away from her and told her we colour on paper, not books! I wasn't mean about it though and didn't yell at her for it.
Not sweating the small stuff is something I try REALLY hard to accomplish. So long as safety and well being is not in question, I tend to let them figure it out on their own. My hope is it helps shape them into the people I want them to be.
Picture what you want your child to be at 25, mother with that in mind today.
If my children become adults and have the following qualities, I will be content in knowing that I did the best job I could as a mother:
- Confidence in themselves and their abilities
- Kindness to others
- Respectful of others and themselves
- Forgiving, particularly with family, because in the end, family is most important
- All around nice citizens who think of others first
I am sure there are plenty more things, but these are some of the basics. They are on their way to being there. I have had a few proud moments with Hayden. I have experienced a couple of times when he is ahead of me and someone else holds the door open for him. He very politely says "thank you". I also make sure that I tell him I am so proud that he used his manners without being reminded to.
I must say, without sounding like a bragging mother, I feel my children are NICE children. Legitimately well behaved (within age-appropriate reason) and kind. I have had others say the same to me about them.
I remember as a young adult, people commenting to my mother how I was such a nice girl. It made me proud to be that kind of person AND proud to come from a family who taught me the importance of that. It is my goal to pass on the same legacy.
P.S. - did anyone notice my spelling error from day 12? I should have been prAying for my children, not prEying for them. Although there are moments when I can understand parents that eat their young! :-)