Dr. Bill’s Top Ten Parenting Tips
Parenting, in a nutshell, is giving your children the tools to succeed in life. Here are ten parenting tips that I have tried to teach our children and have used in my medical practice during the past 40 years.
1. Get behind the eyes of your child.
Parenting is a series of reactions: “My child behaves like this. How do I react?” Before reacting, ask yourself, “If I were my child, how would I want my mother/father to react?” You’ll nearly always get it right.
2. Raise an empathetic child.
One of the greatest parenting tips I have learned is to plant in your children the capacity to care. Teach your children to get behind the eyes of another child and imagine the effects of their actions on the other child. Say, “How would you feel if he hit you?” Lack of empathy is the root of many crimes and school bullying that makes headlines.
3. Instill the love of learning.
Help your child have a healthy attitude about learning. In some way, every parent “home schools.” Help your children learn the connection between hard work, good grades and the good feelings of success.
4. Teach children the meaning of success.
Your success in life is measured not by the money you make or the degrees you earn, but rather by the number of people’s lives that are made better because of what you do.
5. Encourage your child’s “special something.”
One of the parenting tips I always kept in mind with my eight children is that every child can shine, but some children shine differently. Discover your child’s unique gift and run with it.
6. Raise a good communicator.
Talk to your children the way you want them to talk to others. Teach them eye contact: “I need your eyes; I need your ears.”
7. Show that choices have consequences.
One of the best parenting tips for raising disciplined children is to teach children to be responsible for their own behavior to immunize them against bad choices.
8. Teach moral reasoning.
Teach your child to listen to his or her “do-right voice inside.”
9. Just serve real food.
Children have lost their taste for real food, believing that food has to be artificially sweetened, colored and preserved. Reshape your child’s tastes using the “we principle.” “This is what we eat.” The earlier you start, the better you can shape their tastes for life.
10. Prevent the “Ds.”
We have an epidemic of “Ds”: ADD, ADHD, BPD, OCD and the big D – diabetes. The root causes of these “Ds” – NDD (nutrition deficit disorder) and MDD (movement deficit disorder). The answer to the current health care crisis is self-care, beginning at an early age. Grandmother had the answer all along: “Eat more seafood, fruits and vegetables, and go outside and play.”