The Best Time to Parent is Now

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In those first moments of motherhood, life seemed so simple. My baby ate, slept and pooped. Quickly the years passed, the kids multiplied and my home now holds four daughters from preschool to high school.

Older kids come with bigger problems. As I passed from preschool mom to mom of many, I learned three lessons that dramatically improved my parenting:

Don’t Be Afraid to Lean Your Ladder Against Your Own Wall

best parenting time

Preschool moms move in packs. When one mom signs up for soccer, all the other moms follow behind. If the lead mom favors dance, all the other girl moms want in the same class. I made this same choice as a preschool mom.

Later I realized this was mistake. I needed to select my children’s activities not based on what is popular or what the neighbors are doing but instead on the basis of how God has equipped my unique child with gifts and talents. Don’t be afraid to lean your parenting ladder against your own wall.

Help Your Child Select His Own Friends

Preschool moms arrange their children’s play dates. My friends’ kids naturally became my children’s friends. My girls didn’t develop friend making skills because their friends were ready made for them.

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Over time, I’ve learned to have my child make a list of the characteristics she is looking for in a friend. Then when a potential friend comes along I have them evaluate their pal according to their own standard. It’s much easier to turn an undesirable playmate away, when it is my child who makes the determination.

The bonus is they learn the art of choosing and making friends for themselves. Help your child select friends.

Deal With Problems Early

Preschool moms excuse poor behavior. I listened to my peers instead of my heart when it came to what to correct and what to excuse. As I matured in my parenting, I learned to trust my own radar.

I excused mismatched outfits and less than perfect grades in favor of producing principled children. I now focus on their larger character development instead of isolated incidents. What is required to develop character young is much less painful for the parent and child than the steps necessary to do so later on.

Deal with problems early.

It’s rewarding to see your hard work as a parent pay off. So whether you’re the parent of a newborn or a new high schooler, the best time to parent is now.

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