If you're a parent, or you're GOING to be one someday, how about you take experience from when YOU were a child and apply it to your parenting skills? Hmmm...
1. Sit down together for dinner every night. Even if it's not the greatest food in the world, or even if it IS, dinner is the best time to communicate. Talk about your day. Know who your kid's best friends are, know what their favorite class is, what they want for Christmas that year. Find out things by watching them at that dinner table that they will NEVER "verbalize" to you.
2. Even though we're telling the truth when we say we WANT to grow up, what we really NEED is you to watch us even when we dont' know you're there. We need you make sure we're doing everything RIGHT. We need you to force us to go to bed before 10:00 on school nights. We need you to force us to eat fruit when we get home from school, to do our homework before we get on Jemsite, (or play video games, etc...)
3. Even though as a family, we'll need money, we need YOU more than we need MATERIAL things. Please don't try and replace conversations with guitar picks, or failed YEARS as a parent with money and clothes and shoes. "Money can't buy me love"... Couldn't be more true. Also, don't try and OVERWORK yourself into thinking that making money is more important than being at home with us. As long as we have food, clothes, a roof over our heads, and we're still A FAMILY, we have everything we need!!
4. Don't get us everything we want. Don't buy your daughter some lacy bra or whatever, don't buy your son those shirts that make all the girls think he's "sexy".... We need to grow up before we can handle ourselves that way!!!
5. If you're a dad, don't EVER tell you're daughter something along the lines of, "You're blossoming into a beautiful young woman." It only makes us think of the boobs we WISH we had, the thighs that still feel too big, whatever. I would imagine it's the same for moms and sons.... Don't tell your son, "You're growing into such a handsome young man!!" Ew. Just.. *shudders* EW.
6. Please don't convince us into thinking that alcohol, the television, work, and sleep are more important to you than we are. That's what makes so many kids turn into alcoholics, lazy bums, workaholics... *sigh*
7. FORCE us to get good grades! And don't BARGAIN with us on them, either! I don't give a care if I get ten bucks for every "A" I get on my report card! I care about GETTING THE A!!!
8. Tuck us into bed every night, even if we're fifteen (going on sixteen!!). It feels good to know that you still care.
9. Don't only tell us you love us, ACT like it too. If you're a jerk and never pay attention to us but still say "I love you" before we go to bed, we'll start cringing from hearing it, and we'll never EVER want to say it anyone else!!
10. Attempt to make home-cooked meals, even if you end up burning something as simple as macaroni and cheese. I'd rather have burned food every night than something that a chef made at some fancy restaurant.