My wife Ashley and I recently got a home security system. Previously, my only “home security” was keeping a Louisville Slugger under my bed! When people would ask me “Do you own a gun?” I would smile, flex my relatively miniature muscles and say, “Yeah, I own two guns!” Needless to say, it was time for an upgrade in our home security.
The high-tech system alerts us whenever a door is opened. We wanted the added security for two reasons: We wanted to keep bad things out of our home AND we wanted to keep good things (our kids) in our home. Now, we’ll know if our toddler decides to unlock the front door and wander outside in the middle of the night.
The system makes us feel safer, but we’ve come to realize that the most important things we can do to protect our family can’t be done by a high-tech security system, the protection must come through our actions as parents.
Below are the ways every parent must safeguard his or her family (in no particular order):
1. Be consistent in your parenting.
Kids crave consistency. Especially in the areas of discipline, values and expectations, it’s vital that we clearly communicate the standards and stick to it. When we don’t, we’re sabotaging our kids’ sense of security and stability. For more on this, check out my most popular parenting post on 7 ways parents harm their children without even realizing it.
2. Be aware of what your kids are watching.
In our on-demand, tech-savvy culture, kids have instant access to a world of entertainment and some of it (maybe most of it) isn’t good for them. Most kids (on average) are exposed to pornography before they turn twelve-years-old. For tools to help protect your kids from exposure to dangerous content online, check out iParent.tv.
3. Steer your kids towards healthy friends.
Teach your kids to love everybody and show respect to all people, but also them that they need to be highly-selective when it comes to choosing their inner circle of friends. This has nothing to do with popularity or cliques, but it has everything to do with recognizing that our character is either strengthened or weakened by our closest friends.
4. Don’t allow disrespect, drama or sarcasm in your home.
The tone of your words will create the tone of your home. If you want to safeguard your home from negativity, then don’t allow a negative tone to rule under your roof. Be encouragers; not critics. For more on this, check out the 7 keys to a drama-free home.
5. Don’t argue with your spouse in front of your kids.
One way we can harm our children is by exposing them to adult problems too early which makes them feel overwhelmed and powerless over their lives. For more on keeping peace in your marriage, check out this popular post on “The ten reasons why couples argue.”
6. Don’t just teach “rules,” teach “values.”
Protecting your kids means showing them corrective discipline, but it also means encouraging healthy values which can be a compass to guide them through life. Here are the 7 Values every parent must teach their children.
7. Eat together.
This was may sound overly simple, but research and life experience suggests a strong link between sharing family meals and the emotional health of kids. Sit down around the table and reconnect with food and laughter daily.
8. Teach your family history.
I recently read a study that said the most important thing parents can to to create emotional stability in their children is to teach them their family history. The study said that a richer sense of the past gave kids a greater feeling of identity and optimism for the future. I’m not convinced it’s the “most important thing,” but definitely important.
9. Pray with and for your kids.
Giving your children a foundation of faith will help them weather the storms of life and will give them a solid foundation for life. If prayer is new to you, or you’re not sure where to start, try praying this “Prayer for Today” or your own version of it with your family.
10. Love each other.
No parent is perfect, so you’re bound to make mistakes, but love has the power to cover over all those places where we mess up. Love is our most important duty and privilege as parents.
“Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8
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