“I will not impair the happiness of my children by a petulant word”

I remember visiting a friend’s home growing up and their Dad who was in the military would randomly wake them up at 4:30 am before he left for work because he felt they were not “manly” enough to survive in the ‘real world’. Needless to say that, 20 years later my friend still finds it hard to relate with his Dad.

Do we really need to go to such extremes in our parenting efforts?

It might not seem that much of a big deal but the fact is, we cannot succeed well as parents in the upbringing of our children until we first have perfect control of ourselves. It’s imperative to first learn to subdue ourselves, control our words and even the expression of the countenance. It’s easy for the tone of voice to be swayed by excitement and passion under different circumstances which will have an effect on our children.

One of the things we often overlook as parents is that children may wish to do right and even purpose in their hearts to be obedient and be kind to their parents or guardians, but they need help and encouragement from us.

We don’t need much convincing to agree that, everything seems to be making it harder and harder for an average parent to impart positive principles on their children. The ease of access to information has not made it any easier either.

Choice of words

Even though it seems everything is against parents in our age we have a few things that we can do to ensure that we counter all the negatives affecting our parenting efforts. One of which is ensuring that we speak kindly to our children.

Your pleasant, cheerful words will illuminate your family .The fruits of self-control, thoughtfulness and painstaking on your part will be a hundredfold. As parents we have no right to bring a gloomy cloud over the happiness of our children by engaging in faultfinding or severe censure for small mistakes.

It’s good for children to be impressed with a sense of their wrongs, yet we should not leave them in a hopeless state of mind, but with a degree of courage that they can improve and gain confidence in us. We should not speak irritably in a manner that excites wrath in our children but we should always be prepared to help them at all times.

Be considerate

One mistake some parents make is cherishing tendencies that display their lack of self control. Instead of kindly asking the children to do something, they order them military style with animosity which the children have not merited. The best this kind of approach does is, destroy their cheerfulness and ambition.

They will go on to perform as ordered but not out of love but because they dare not do otherwise. For that reason they perform the task with drudgery instead of pleasure and more often they forget some of the instructions given. This fuels more irritation on the parent and the end result is enmity that could have been avoided in the first place.

The wagon of fault finding gathers speed as the parent arrays before them in glowing colors their faults until the child gets discouraged to an extent of developing a spirit of “I don’t care’. This inevitably leads to them finding peace and fun away from home and who dares trust street advice these days?

The question then is who is to blame for this unfortunate outcome? If the parent had been affectionate towards their children and with love and kindness found duties for them. Lovingly gave out the instructions, then they would have appealed to their inner souls and willing hands and feet would have gladly obeyed.

By controlling ourselves, speaking kind words and even complimenting our children where it’s due, we encourage their efforts and bring joy and happiness in our family. The discord that could have been invoked is eternally dispelled.

This should be our binding motto:” I will not impair the happiness of my children by a petulant word”

Keep that door open

We should also teach them to make us their confidant. This can be done by remembering our childhood years how much we yearned for sympathy and love, and how unhappy we felt when censured and fretfully chided. We should be young again in our feelings and bring our minds down to understand the wants of our children.

We should not only treat them with sternness and forget our own childhood and the fact that they are just children. Trying to make them perfect or trying to make them man and woman at once is suicidal. This will close the door of access which we might have had to them and open a door for other injurious influences in their lives. Yet! this does not take away the fact that with firmness, mixed with love, we should implicitly require obedience from our children.

Catch them young

Most parents mistakenly think that child guidance begins at a certain age yet it should be from infancy. The will and the temper must be subdued and brought into subjection. Obedience should be taught from an early age and that effort has to be consistent as they grow older. Every parent should take time to reason with their children, to correct their errors, and patiently teach them the right way.

Yes! yes parenting

No parent should ever be deceived into thinking that by gratifying the wishes of their children and letting them follow their own inclinations, they will gain their love. That is a grave error! Children who are allowed to do that grow up unrestrained in their desires, unyielding in their dispositions, selfish, exacting and overbearing. They become a burden to those around them even as they become adults themselves. To a large extent, parents hold in their hands the future happiness of their children.


It’s worth noting that experience is the best teacher when it comes to parenting, but spending as much time finding better ways to improve our parenting efforts will always prove very helpful.

As good as it is that we invest much of our time on turbo-charging our parenting efforts, it’s worth noting that our children also need to be empowered. There is a need for them to know they have a role to play in shaping their own future. Please take a look at how Soft Skills Generation Z is using teen soft skills training to achieve that.

What valuable lessons have you learnt in your parenting journey?

Originally published at www.softskillsgenerationz.info on August 4, 2016.