When we knew we were going to finally be parents, we found ourselves talking about a lot of things we wanted to teach our future child. We wanted our child to be kind without being naive. Strong without being a bully. Smart without being conceited.

We mentally kept lists of things we wanted to make sure we shared with our child. But the truth of the matter is that many things are taught over time. Those little eyes watch the example you are to them. They mimic the world around them, good and bad. So, as parents, it is our job to make sure that she is building the best foundation in which to make decisions and how to act in life.

Below are the seven things we have found important to instill into our young child’s mind and heart. She is only four. But we are now watching all our efforts start to come full circle. Things we have been teaching her for the past couple of years are being developed now more than ever, and it is an absolute joy to watch.

Stand Up For Yourself

But don’t be a bully. There is a difference between defending yourself and what you believe in, and shoving it down people’s throats. When your ideals are being challenged, defend them. When you are being pushed and shoved, fight back. Be aware of your surroundings and be able to stand up for yourself, physically, and mentally.

Be Kind

You’ve heard the saying, “Be kind to everyone you meet, for everyone is fighting a battle.” So we teach our daughter to be kind to everyone. This doesn’t mean be the “yes” man. There is such a thing as politely declining. But be kind. Show compassion. And know that a smile goes a long way.

Try New Things

This is something that has really only been in practice the past year or so, and truly only began as we were trying to get our daughter to try new things to eat besides the beige group that toddlers love, lol. But in the past six months or so, it has become a family mantra of sorts. From water slides to skateboarding, to trying a bunch of new foods, we try new things. The biggest take away from this one, and we tell her this every time we are trying something new, is that it’s okay if you try it and you don’t like it. But at least try. Because you never know what you are going to find that you may like.

Just Do You

Don’t worry about what so-and-so is doing, or how they are doing things. You do you. Be original. Be creative and wild. Be a princess on an adventure. Do everything you are passionate about, and do it in your own way, with your own style. And never,

Don’t Give Up

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Such a simple quote, but so very important. Never be afraid of failing. If you try and you fail, learn from it and move forward. Never stop reaching for your dreams and goals. Find what works for you, and forge ahead.

 

Work Hard

Don’t be lazy. Work hard for everything you want. Dream big and work hard to chase after those dreams to make them come true. Whatever you do, do with all your heart and soul. When you work hard for what you achieve, you appreciate it more. You value it more. You protect it more. The experience and life lessons you will gain from working for everything you want in this life will get you far. It will build you as a person, and it will strengthen you in ways you never thought of, or thought possible. So whatever you want in this life, work for it.

You Are Loved

With every fiber of our being, we love our daughter and would do anything for her. But through everything we teach her, we make sure she knows that she is loved. She has a home wherever we are, and she is welcome to come home whenever she feels she needs to (once she’s moved out, of course).

 

Our daughter is not coddled. She is not babied. Every situation is a learning experience. We make sure she understands that she is the center of our world, but that it is also our job to make sure she is prepared for the world when she is out in it on her own. We make sure she knows she can tell us anything, and that she doesn’t have to be afraid to tell us things. We talk to her about what’s going on in her life, especially now that she is in school, and we take time to listen to everything she has to share with us. We hope that this will instill trust in her with us. So she knows that she will always have two people who love her dearly to run to with anything she may be facing.

It is a tough world out there for kids nowadays. It breaks my heart to hear about children being bullied, beaten, and killing themselves. So we are doing our best to help our daughter to be a strong individual, all while making sure she knows she has the biggest support system right here.

It all starts at home.