‘The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see’. – Alexandra K. Trenfor.
Life is like a ship, oscillating between periods of calm and storm, and much like a ship’s Captain who has to take care of his or her shipmates, you are the Captain of your family, and have to take care of your children. In this case, it would behove you to remember that much like anyone else, your children prefer being instructed positively and should not be talked down to. As a parent, make sure you teach your children, but do not preach to them. Let them make mistakes, let them learn from their foibles and their folly, but do not pressurize them and force your views and opinions down their throat, for that is the simplest and fastest way to make them resent and hide away from you.
Children need to be allowed to make their own mistakes, so that they can learn and remember that lesson. Only then will it stick. Telling them to blindly obey something is a recipe for disaster, as it will only turn them into adults who blindly obey the status-quo. Instead, teach them to think on their own. Teach them to question everything. Make them learn, instruct them to not take anything at face value, this will broaden their perspective and make them ready for the big, bad world out there. Teach them to become fully functional adults by instructing and teaching them, and not robots who believe everything told to them by a preacher.
Remember, no one likes being lectured to, or being looked down upon. It holds true for your children as well. If you lecture them, they will let things in through one ear and let it out through the other one. Soon, they will start getting bored, frustrated and annoyed, and you will begin losing respect in their eyes, your stature diminishing. To avoid that, behave as a friend as well as a teacher, depending on what the situation demands. Be firm, but fair. Make them learn, make them understand. Do not just spew rhetoric at them and hope they will digest it.
Let them find their own rhythm in life, their own music. Give them the opportunity to learn on their own. By making mistakes they will learn from the error of their ways, and on succeeding, they will develop confidence and belief in their abilities; one of the prerequisites to stand out in life and not be a pushover.
Remember, in their developmental stages it is important that you remain a positive influence on your children, and that they trust you to do what is right for them, but to do that, you must give them some semblance of freedom and trust them in return as well.
Do not be the kind of parent who demands instant obedience, instead, shower them with love, affection, trust and all the qualities which will make them flower into the best kind of adults.