12 Secrets for Successful Families - Conclusion of 8. Example


Examine your own standards.  What type of entertainment do you watch?  How do you treat your spouse and children?  What kind of friends do you have?  Are you thoughtful of other's? In short, are you the kind of person you want your children to become? 

"My husband and I don't hole our children to a standard that we ourselves don't live by." -Christine.

Apologize for your mistakes.  Your children already know that you are not perfect. By saying "I'm sorry" when appropriate-both your spouse and to your children-you will provide a valuable lesson in honesty and humility.

"Our children need to hear us admit when we are wrong, and they need to hear us apologize for our error. If we don't, they will only learn to cover over their mistakes." -Robin.

"As parents, we have the greatest influence on our children, and our example is the greatest tool we have because they see it all the time.  It's the book that's always open, the lesson that's always being taught." -Wendell.

Next time: 12 Secrets for Successful Families - 9. Identity

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12 Secrets for Successful Families - 8. Example


Parents who set example live by what they teach.  For instance, you could hardly expect your son to be truthful if he overheard you say, "Tell him I'm not home,"  when you do not want to speak to someone at the door.

"A common saying is 'Do as I say, not as I do.'  But that approach doesn't work with children. They are like sponges that absorb everything we say and do, and they will tell us when our example isn't consistent with what we try to teach them. -David.

BIBLE PRINCIPLE: "You, the one preaching, 'do not steal,' do you steal?" -Romans 2:21.


Children and even teenagers are influenced more by their parents than by anyone else-including their peers.  That means you are in the primary position to guide your children in the right way-provided, of course, that you practice what you preach.

"We can repeat something a hundred times and wonder if our child is listening, but the one time we don't do as we say, the child will point it out.  Children pay attention to everything we do, even if they don't think they do." -Nichole.

BIBLE PRINCIPLE: "The wisdom from above is . . . not hypocritical." -James 3:17.  

Next time: 12 Secrets for Successful Families - Conclusion of 8. Example

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12 Secrets for Successful Families - Conclusion of 7. Values

BIBLE PRINCIPLE: "Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you,." -Luke 6:31.


State your moral values.  For example, research shows that teenagers are more likely to abstain from premarital sex if they have been give the clear message that such conduct is wrong.

TIP: Use a current event to initiate a discussion about values. For example, if the  news reports a hate crime, you could say: "It's horrible the way some people show such anger toward others.  How do you think people become like that?"

"It's a lot harder for children to choose between right and wrong if they don't know what is right or wrong." -Brandon.

Teach ethical values.  Even younger children can learn to say "please" and "thank you" and show regard for others. "The more children see that they are part of something larger than themselves-a family, a school, a community-the more readily they performs acts of kindness that benefit everyone, not just themselves," says the book Parenting Without Borders.

TIP: Assign chores to your children to help them learn the value of serving others.

"If our children get used to doing chores now, they won't be shocked when they live on their own.  Taking care of our responsibilities will already be a part of their life." -Tara.

Next time: 12 Secrets for Successful Families - 8. Example

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12 Secrets for Successful Families

7. Values

Values are the personal standards by which you choose to live.  For example, do you strive to be honest in all things?  Then, likely you want to instill that moral value in your children.

Values also include ethical standards.  For example, a person with solid ethics is industrious, fair, and considerate of others-traits that are best developed while a person is still young. 

BIBLE PRINCIPLE: "Train a child in the way he should go; even when he grows old he will not depart from it." -Proverbs 22:6.


In the age of technology, moral values are essential.  "Bad influences can be accessed on any mobile device at any time," says a mother named Karyn.  "Our children could be sitting right nest to us while they're watching something indecent!"

BIBLE PRINCIPLE: "Mature people . . .have their powers of discernment trained to be distinguish both right and wrong." -Hebrews 5:14.

Ethical values are essential too.  That includes extending simple courtesies (such as saying "please" and "thank you") and showing concern for others-a value that has become rare, as people seem more interested in devices than they are in people. 

Next time: 12 Secrets for Successful Families - Conclusion of 7. Values

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12 Secrets for Successful Families - Conclusion of 6. Discipline

BIBLE PRINCIPLE:  "Whatever a person is sowing, so shall he reap." -Galatians  6:7.

Be reasonable.  Balance the child's age and competence level  with the weight of the infraction.  Consequences of usually effective when they are related to  the wrong-for example, misuse of the phone might result in the loss of phone privileges for a period of time.  At the same time, avoid making  major issues over minor irritations.

"I try to determine if my child has been deliberately disobedient or if he just made an error in judgment.  There is a difference between a serious trait that needs to be weeded out and a mistake that just needs to be pointed out. -Wendell. 

BIBLE PRINCIPLE: "Do not be provoking your children, so that they do not become discouraged." -Colossians 3:21. 

Be loving.  Disciple is much easier for children  to accept and apply when they know that a parent's primary motive is love.

"When our son made mistakes, we reassured him that we are proud of all the good decisions he had made in the past.  We explained that the mistake wouldn't define him as long as he made the needed correction and that we were there to help him do that." -Daniel. 

BIBLE PRINCIPLE: "Love is patient and kind." -1 Corinthians 13:4. 

Next time: 12 Secrets for Successful Families - 7: Values

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12 Secrets for Successful Families-6.Discipline


The word discipline can mean to guide or to teach.  At times, that includes correcting a child's misbehavior.  Often, though, it involves imparting moral training that helps a child learn to make good choices in the first place.


In recent decades, discipline has all but disappeared from some  households, as parents fear that correction might lower a child's self-esteem.   However, wise parents set reasonable rules and train their children to abide by them.

"Children need boundaries to help them grow into well-rounded adults.Without disciple, children are like a rudderless ship-which will eventually go off course or even capsize." -Pamela.


Be consistent.  If your child does not adhere to your rules, enforce consequences.  On the other hand, readily command your child when he or shie complies.

"I frequently commend my children for being obedient in a world where obedience is so rare.  Commendation makes it easier for them to accept correction when it is needed." -Christine. 

Next time: 12 Secrets for Successful Families - Conclusion of 6. Discipline

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12 Secrets for Successful Families - Conclusion of 5. Communications

Fight distraction.  One father admits:  "I sometimes find myself mentally multitasking when my children are speaking.  And I am not fooling them-they can tell!" 

If you can relate to that statement, turn off the TV and put down all devices.  Focus on what your child is saying, and treat his or her concern as worthy of your full attention, no matter how trivial it may seem/

"We need to assure our children that their feelings are important to us.  If they think otherwise, they will keep their concerns locked inside or turn elsewhere for help." - Miranda.

"Don't overreact, even if your child's thinking is way off center." -Anthony.

BIBLE PRINCIPLE: "Pay attention to how you listen." - Luke 8:18.

Take advantage of informal settings.  Sometimes children op;en up when they are not sitting face-to-face with a parent.

"We take advantage of care rides. Being side-to-side rather than across from each others has led to good discussions." -Nichole.

Mealtime presents opportunity for informal conversation. 

BIBLE PRINCIPLE: "Be quick to listen [and] slow to speak." -James 1:19. 

Next time: 12 Secrets for Successful Families - 6. Discipline 

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12 Secrets for Successful Families - 5. Communication


Genuine communication takes place when you and your children share a two-way exchange of thoughts and feelings.


Communication can become especially challenging with teenagers.  Perhaps not long ago, "it was like you had a backstage pass to your children's lives" says the book Breaking the Code.  "Now the best you can hope for is a seat out in the audience, and it probably won't even be a very good seat."  Contrary to appearances, when this happens children need communication the most!


Adapt to your children's timetable.   Do so even if that means late-night conversations.

"You might feel like saying, 'Now you want to talk?  I was with you all day!' but how can we complain if our children want to open up to us?  Isn't that what every parent hopes for?" -Lisa.

"I like my sleep, but some of the best conversations I've had with my teenagers have been after midnight." -Herbert.

BIBLE PRINCIPLE: "Let each one keep seeking, not his own advantage, but that of the other." -1 Corinthians 10:24. 

Next time: 12 Secretes for Successful Families -Conclusion of 5. Communication

From the jw.org publications 


12 Secrets for Successful Families - 4. Forgiveness


4. Forgiveness

  To forgive means that you let go of an offense and any feelings of resentment it may have caused.  Forgiveness does not require that you minimize the wrong or pretend it never occurred.

BIBLE PRINCIPLE: "Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely even if anyone has a cause for complaint against another. -Colossians 3:13.

"When you love someone,, you look past that person's imperfections and instead see the person that he or she is trying to become." -Aaron.


If you hold on to resentment, you can harm yourself physically and emotionally -you can also damage your marriage.

"One time my husband apologized for something that hurt me deeply.  It was hard for me to forgive him.  I eventually did, but I regret that I didn't do it sooner. It put an unnecessary strain on our relationship."-Julia. 



The next time you are hurt by something your spouse has said or done, ask yourself:

* 'Am I overly sensitive?'

* 'Is the offense so serious that I need an apology, or can I just overlook it?'  


* How long does it usually take for us to forgive each other?

* What can we do to get to the point of forgiveness quicker?


* When you are offended, do not attribute bad motives to your spouse

* Try to excuse your spouse's behavior, remembering that "we all stumble many times." -James 3:2.

"It's easy to forgive when we're both at fault, but it's more difficult when the offense seems one-sided.  Accepting an apology and forgiving takes true humility." -Kimberly.

BIBLE PRINCIPLE: "Be quick to settle matters." -Matthew 5:25. 

Next time: 12 Secrets for Successful Families - 5: Communication

From the jw.org publications 

12 Secret for Successful Families -FOR COUPLES-Conclusion of 3.Respect


* What actions and words would help each of you feel respected?

* What actions and words make each of you feel disrespected?


* Write down three ways you would like to shown respect.  Have your spouse do the same. Exchange lists, and work on showing respect in the areas that were identified.

* Make a list of traits you admire about your spouse.  Then tell your spouse how  much you appreciate those traits. 

 "To respect my husband means I show my actions that I value him and that I want him to be happy.  It isn't always a grand gesture; sometimes a series of small acts can demonstrate genuine respect." -Megan.

In the end, it is not a matter of whether you view yourself as respectful nor not; it is a question of whether your spouse feels respected.

BIBLE PRINCIPLE: "Clothe yourself with the tender affections of compassion, kindness, humility, mildness, and patience." -Colossians 3:12.

Next time: 12 Secrets for Successful Families -4. Forgiveness

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