The great Rugby League coach Jack Gibson once said;

 “It’s amazing how high some parents put the crossbar for their kids and how low they put it for themselves.”

Raising children sometimes can seem like an endless series of challenges, set-backs and frustrations.  But, as hard as parenting is, we must never forget that an upbringing with high expectations in an environment of love and care is absolutely necessary to prepare children to handle challenges and setbacks.

Effective parents realise they do no favours to their children by making life as easy as possible. They know that they have only a limited time to prepare their children.  They know that while they have a duty not to expose their children to dangerous influences, they will have to rely less and less on the sheltered environment of home as their teenagers grow into adulthood.

As children grow older, they must be taught to solve their own problems and to face these problems with inner conviction and in the light of the values they hold within.  Time is short, and the stakes are high. As a consequence, wise parents will give of themselves but expect a lot of their children. They will make the demands on each one of their children and they won’t compromise on the things that matter. The bar is set at a very healthy height; where membership in the family implies that every member puts others before themselves, works hard at his or her responsibilities, learns to control their temperament, contributes to family life, and practises generosity with their material possessions.

And, in all these areas wise parents lead by example.  What they expect of their children, they model and expect of themselves.  It is therefore worth asking ourselves the question – am I practicing “tough love” and leading by example with my children?

If you are like me you read this and think… “this is easy to say and hard to do!”  If you feel that way you are in good company, as most parents feel the same.  We mustn’t  forget the old Indian saying  “it takes a village to raise a child” and as parents we will all falter from time to time.  Let’s look out for and support each other on the long and difficult journey called “being a parent”.

Geoff Fouracre