Six Things I've Learned in Six Years of Parenting

Six things I've learned in six years of parentingSince my oldest daughter was born six years ago, there have been six key things I've learned as a parent that still hold true today. And as time goes by, I imagine that these six things will hold true as my kids get older. 

Patience

As Axl Rose sang, patience is a virtue. Kids are going to have their cranky days and those days where they are bouncing off the walls. Match those days with moments when you're trying to do something (work, maintenance around the house, paying bills, relaxing, etc) and it's like oil and water. They just don't mix. Kids don't have an off switch so you need patience to get you through those situations where you want to explode.

Team work

Parenting is tough. Having someone to be your partner in crime is awesome because you can use your team work to manage the process of raising kids. That's why single parents get a lot of credit because parenting is a lot of work at times (despite it being so rewarding).

Laugh

It's important to laugh with your kids. Be silly and playful. Yes, that'll change as they get older, but you can create situations where laughter is the focal point of your interactions with them. Laughing is good for the soul.

Educate

Always teach your kids stuff -- whether it's about little things like how to properly cook pizza on the grill, how to bookmark a website in a browser and what makes a good cup of coffee. The little things in life stick with you and often times, parents get so wrapped up in their daily routines that you forget to educate on some sort of level. The easiest thing to do is read and tell them stories.

Listen

Listen to your kids talk. Listen to them play. Listen to them when they want to tell stories. Just listen. This is a key thing that I think will come in handy as my girls get older -- if and when they feeling like sharing, that is.

Love

Love is a no-brainer. No matter what your kids do, love them. Yes, there comes a time when you need to rule with an iron fist, but they will be better for it. Love them for all their quirks and odd traits. Love them when they are sad. Love them when they are happy. Love them when they hate you. Just love them and, just like education, it'll stick.