Mastering the Art of Parenting
By Brian Tracy

The most important single role of parenting is to love and nurture your children and to build in them feelings of high self-esteem and self-confidence. If you raise your children feeling terrific about themselves, if you bring them up full of eagerness to go out and take on the world, then you have fulfilled your responsibility in the highest possible sense.

Why Parents Don't Love Enough
There are two major reasons for the failure by parents to love their children enough. First, the parents do not love themselves. Parents with low self-esteem have great difficulty giving more love to their children than they feel for themselves. The second reason that parents don't love their children enough is they often have the mistaken notion that their children exist to fulfill their expectations.

Children are Not Property
The starting point of raising super kids is to realize that your children are not your property. Your children belong to themselves. They are a gift to you from high above, and a temporary gift at that.

Children are a Precious Gift
When you look at your children as precious gifts that you can only enjoy for a short time, you see your role as parents differently. When you celebrate and encourage the special nature and personality of your child, he or she grows like a flower in sunshine. But if you try to get your child to be something he or she is not, your child's spirit will wither, and his or her potential for happiness and joy will shrivel like a leaf on a tree in autumn.

Love Makes the Difference
The most important consideration in raising super kids is the amount of love they receive. Children need love like flowers need water. A continuous flow of love and approval from the parent to the child is the child's lifeline to emotional and physical health. Love deprivation is surely the most serious problem that a child can suffer during his or her formative years.

Unconditional Love and Acceptance
Make it clear to your child that nothing he or she does could ever cause you to love him or her less than 100 percent. The most wonderful gift you can give your child is the absolute conviction that you love him or her completely, without reservation, no matter what he or she does and no matter what happens.

Praise and Encouragement
Give your children continual praise and encouragement for the positive things they do, even small things. Praise and reinforce what you would like to see repeated. Praise them to build their self-esteem and self-confidence.

Action Exercise
Ask yourself what it would be like to be your own child. Put yourself in the position of your child or your children, and then evaluate yourself as a parent. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What do you do well and what do you do poorly? What are some of the thing that you do that might be causing your children to grow up with lower self-esteem than you would like? What can you do, starting today, to be a better and more loving parent?

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