3. Don't try to be "Daddy" too. All too many times, I've heard women say, "I'm the mommy and the daddy too." I believe this is a disservice to your children. There's no way you can be a daddy when you are the female. I knew immediately, I wasn't going to be able to teach my boys how to be men.
What did I know about growing up from a boy to a man? What I could do was increase the involvement of responsible men in their lives. I'm not talking about going out to find a replacement father. They didn't need that. I'm talking about the men who were already in their lives: uncles, grandfather, teachers, coaches and friends.
I made sure they had plenty of time with strong, caring men so they could — by osmosis — learn what it is to be a wonderful man. Just be careful to keep transient males away from your children. You may not want someone you've only known a few months spending alone time with any of your children. Choose male role models you have come to know, trust and respect over time.
4. Treating your kids the same may be the most unfair thing you can do. This is a lesson I learned from an important man in my life. I had two boys who were constantly competing with each other for absolutely everything. I spent a great deal of my time and energy trying to keep everything equal for the two of them and they still weren't satisfied. My friend helped me to see that treating all your children the same can be the most unfair thing you do. Children are not the same. They have individual differences that will necessitate different treatment at times. You won't want to create favoritism but there will be times some children get to do, have or be something others cannot. And that is most fair.
5. Use empowerment parenting skills. Empowerment parenting is a method of parenting based on "choice theory" psychology, an explanation of why and how people do what they do. When you understand yourself and each of your children, you will be better able to manage those day-to-day challenges, as well as those big issues that come up from time to time.
When I was parenting with my husband, he was the strict one and I was the permissive one. This worked out all right because we balanced each other. When he was no longer there, I couldn't remain the pushover parent and raise responsible young men. I had to find the middle ground. Empowerment parenting is that middle ground that allows you, the parent, to get what you need while teaching your children responsible ways to get their ways met without hurting them in the process.
If you'd like a free Empowerment Parenting tip sheet, click here.