Secret directions for moms and dads

“I don’t like it when you tease me!” my six-year old son said indignantly to me one night.

“But I have to tease you,” I answered reasonably. “That’s what moms and dads do.”

“No,” he argued a little uncertainly.

“Yes,” I said. Inspired, I added, “It’s in the secret moms and dads directions.”

He frowned and demanded, “I want to see the paper!”

I told him that I couldn’t show him the paper, because it’s only for moms and dads. But I started thinking about what would be written on that secret paper. (Teasing is secret #6). Though these are well-known secrets, it’s good to reflect on them every now and then.

Secret directions for moms and dads
1. Give children smiles and hugs, and laugh together.
2. Listen to them.
3. Create small rituals and shared moments.
4. Praise them honestly; correct them quickly and consistently.
5. Play games (but don’t always let them win).
6. Tease them gently and tickle them mischievously.
7. Encourage their imagination.
8. Teach them how to learn, how to think for themselves, and how to be happy with what they have.
9. Let them make their own mistakes, because actions have consequences.
10. Show embarrassing childhood photos/videos and tell embarrassing stories when they are older.

What secrets would you pass on to your child when they have children of their own?

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