SSBG

A worldview is a set of claims that purport to be based on ultimate reality.

The Best Thing You Can Give Your Kids

Posted by ssbg on December 31, 2005

By Mitch Temple   from:  http://www.family.org/      0Kids.jpg

First let me say that, although I am a marriage and family therapist and have helped struggling parents for almost 20 years, and although we have three teens in the Temple household and my wife is an excellent mother, we do not have all the answers when it comes to raising kids! We thought we did, and then our kids turned into teenagers. I’m reminded of Mark Twain’s advice: when kids reach adolescence you should stick them in a barrel, nail the lid shut and cut them a breathing hole. When they turn 16, simply stop up the hole!

Though his recommendation is not to be taken seriously, many parents relate to Mr. Twain’s philosophy. When it comes to raising teenagers, we’re all in the same boat: we find ourselves questioning whether we are making the best decisions and doing the right things for our kids.

Of all the advice I’ve given to parents through the years about what is most important to provide for their kids, I think this is the best: The most important thing you can do for your kids (whether pre- or post-adolescence) is not giving them great advice, administering perfect discipline, being consistent 100 percent of the time, being their best friend, or even having the perfect “parade of homes” family. The best thing you can give your kids is the consistent, solid assurance that you love your spouse beyond a shadow of a doubt. Moms and Dads should consistently send the message that “although we’re not always perfect and we argue and hurt each other’s feelings from time to time, we are going to be here, together, for you.”

Today’s kids live in an ever-changing and insecure world. Sociologists tell us that kids’ fears are rapidly increasing, resulting in more behavior problems, depression and anxiety disorders. One of the major fears of school-aged children is that their parents will divorce. Many of these children are routinely exposed to negative news and unsettling change. They hear that their friends’ parents are splitting up or that their favorite celebrity is getting a divorce, and they wonder if their parents are next. Many children experience a “when, not if” type of anxiety on a daily basis, fearing their parents will be the next statistic.

Because of these uncertainties, your children need to know that you and your spouse love each other and are committed, permanently, to each other. Your kids need to know that you are going to stick it out even through the tough times. And that when you’re faced with problems you can’t overcome on you own, you will get the professional help you need to make it work. Kids need you to explain that love is more than feelings. You don’t need to tell them in these words, but your kids need to know that even if the magic is gone and you don’t feel great about your spouse, love means you’ll stick it out until you do.

If you’re not feeling great about your spouse, consider this: Many couples don’t feel “in love” anymore because they’ve stopped acting and thinking as if they’re in love. Think about it. You make friends by behaving in a friendly way. You feel close to a friend because you both act like friends. Your friendship grows because of this behavior and because of your commitment to the friendship. The same is true in marriage. If you don’t feel like you’re in love anymore, it may be because you’re not acting like you’re in love. Often, those feelings of in-loveness will return if you simply start behaving as if you’re in love. Behavior does affect feelings. Thinking affects feelings. Change your thinking and behavior, and you will change how you feel. Right thinking plus right behavior equals right feelings.

Think back to when you and your spouse first fell in love. Chances are you did things like expressing love regularly, focusing on the good in each other, putting the other first, overlooking mistakes, and saying “I’m sorry” even when you didn’t feel you were wrong. Marriages often deteriorate when partners forget to act and think the way they did when they were dating. If you find yourself in this situation, take heart: a better marriage can begin with you.

Most of the battles in marriage take place on the battlefields of our minds. When one person decides that a marriage is worth saving and transforming, real change can occur. You can focus all day long on the faults of your spouse. However, your marriage will begin to transform and become strong only when you commit to making it better — even if your spouse isn’t on the same page yet. Part of the marriage journey is honoring your commitment to each other for life — for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and health, “till death do we part” — and your kids need to know you’re going to do just that.

So, instead of giving your children costly material trinkets — which marketers tout as “must haves” — give them what every child really needs: the assurance that Mom and Dad are in this for the long haul. Do whatever it takes to make your marriage thrive: swallow your pride, go to counseling or a marriage retreat, give up a hobby, throw the TV in the dumpster. . . whatever! Just do it. Your kids will thank you.

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One Response to “The Best Thing You Can Give Your Kids”

  1. kris said

    GREAT INFO. I HAVE BEEN MARRIED 14 YEARS. AROUND 7 I WASN’T SURE IF I WAS IN THE RIGHT PLACE . I’M GLAD WE STUCK IT OUT I’M NOW MORE IN LOVE WITH MY HUSBAND THEN EVER. THE PAST 4 YEARS HE HAS DEPLOYED 3 TIMES. MADE US REALIZE HOW MUCH WE WONT TO BE TOGETHER. AND WE TALK MORE LIKE WHEN WE FIRST MET,NOT LEAVING ANYTHING OUT. BECAUSE WE NO IT COULD BE THE LAST WORDS SPOKEN. I STILL WORRY ABOUT MY 8 AND 13 YEAR OLD THEY NO WE ARE HERE FOR THEM WE JUST CANT PROMISE DADDYS COMING HOME. I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO HANDLE THIS. I JUST TAKE IT DAY BY DAY. THEY SEEM FINE . I HOPE THEY ARE.

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