Bill and Pam Farrel are the authors of the bestselling book Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti. This years Bill and Pam have partnered with Hearts at Home with their newest book 10 Questions Kids Have About Sex. They’ve been guest blogging all week on this topic every parent needs help with!
According to authors Stan and Brenna Jones, “The closer the child says his or her relationship is with parents, the less likely the child is to be having sex.
A close relationship between parent and child appears to instill in the child the desire to want to live out the values and moral beliefs of the parent.” In a national survey more than nine of ten teens agreed that among the benefits of waiting to have sex is enjoying the respect of parents.
In 10 Questions Your Kids Ask About Sex, we share one of the ways Bill and I have set out to earn the respect (and ear) of our kids by leaving our TradeMark ™ on our kids’ hearts and lives with:
- Traditions- things you do year after year to reinforce core principles
- Memories – once-in-a-lifetime events that mark a moment or drive home a point
Mom and Dad—you do make a difference! Today I want to share how to begin traditions with your kids—and it is never too late to start a yearly tradition (what kids doesn’t like a party or a present?) When you connect a principle to be taught with a positive experience, it will become imprinted on your child or teen’s heart and mind and be a touchstone they can come back to in the middle of decision making later in life.
Traditions–Here are two traditions we found helpful:
• Learner and Leader Day– the week before school begins we have a fun family day, then negotiate a privileges and responsibilities contract. (The chart, list of things kids can do at different ages, and how we run (and reward) our kids for being Learners and Leaders is all found in 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make). The plus side of having a yearly tradition like this is our kids thought it “normal” to make contracts, set goals, negotiate new privileges—and eventually the privilege of dating became one of them!
• Christmas Blessing– Each year at our Christmas dinner we say a blessing over our kids-each one—as individuals. We compliment them, share a verse or quote that they embody, then we pray for them. Often the character qualities that eventually become vital in the area of relationships were some of the earliest we complimented: honesty, delayed gratification (patience), kindness, etc.
When parents reinforce key values and beliefs year after year, you develop an inner moral compass or GPS in your son or daughter. In fact, as we interacted, from our kid’s preschool years on, one other “tradition” was to always ask the child, “Have you checked your GPS?” – Does this decision (action, behavior, choice) show respect for:
Be proactive in your daily, weekly, monthly or yearly traditions and you will see them pick up the principles of life and love that you hold dear.
What about you? What traditions did your family of origin have that made a difference in your life? What traditions are you doing with your kids to make a difference in their lives?