Boy do I have a lot to say on this topic!!!! Not that I am sure any of it is relevant to any of my readers, but I think it's great to "check" your parenting periodically and what better way than typing it out!
Linking up at Kelly's blog
Parenting advice, OK, a few things jumped to mind before I opened this to write. Now I have a blank brain!
I can first say that each and every child is different. You will find your first child and your second child have things in common, yet I feel that your parenting has to be based on the personality of your child. Some things work better for one child, that won't work at all with the next. Be creative and intuitive!
Each child needs special one on one time. I purposely had my kids a few years apart, so each one would get that special bonding time with mommy. I don't suggest you spread the ages of your kids out like I did, because that's certainly not for everyone, but no matter what their age difference, view each child and really focus on their interests, and indulge those interests!!
Give your kids choices whenever possible! I believe it will boost their confidence and sense of independence.
Urge your children to be courageous, to be friendly to others and most of all be honest with them about you. Share stories of bravery, but also stories that taught you a lesson.
When disciplining, be sure that you have their attention. Yelling does not make a child listen, focusing their attention on you while you are speaking to them is what holds their attention. Ask them to look at you with their eyes and have them repeat to you what you said so you know they understood and heard you. It helps everyone to stay calm.
Allow your children to dream. Encourage their dreams. They may be "out there" or downright crazy, but if you listen anyway, they will feel validated and have a desire to maybe one day make those dreams come true!!
When your children disobey, find Bible stories that work with the situation, and use it as a learning experience. We have been blessed to raise our children, but we must not forget WHO we all need to focus on. Jesus is the answer to everything, kids can learn early on to be accountable to God's commands for us. My daughter Acilia has a Bible in her room. When she gets into trouble, she is told to sit in her room. She has gotten into the habit of reading her Bible when she is in her room alone. It melts my heart, because she probably learns more in that time alone; than she would if she was being punished a different way!
Take the time to let your kids do things for themselves. It can be patience testing, especially when you feel rushed, but it really is good for them to learn to do things on their own.
And a silly little side note for new moms, pack a scissors in your diaper bag when your children start eating solids, you have NO idea how much easier it is to cut up food with scissors than it is with a knife! :)