Raising Healthy, Self-Confident And Responsible Kids: A Top 10 Guide To Parenting Young Children

Raising Healthy, Self-Confident And Responsible Kids - A Top 10 Guide To Parenting Young Children

Raising your children right is a big responsibility. If you’re just a littlebit like me, I bet you’ve thought more than once: “If only kids came with a guidebook!” – I certainly have!

Raising your child to be happy, healthy, self-confident and responsible depends on a number of influencing factors. These factors include exposing them to a life that makes them want to be those things, providing continued support and guidance and letting them make mistakes. And being a role model!

In this article I have compiled a list of 10 surprisingly simple steps that will help you level up your parenting within just one week or less. In fact, when a friend of mine just recently actively incorporated these into his parenting, he could see a big improvement in his relationship with his kids in just 3 days! Sounds too good to be true? Let’s see…

10 Surprisingly Simple Steps To Parenting Young Children

Kids learn through example. Right from the start, they assimilate language from listening to us and they learn social skills by mimicking us. This is why the influences we expose them to, throughout their childhood – both our own and that of others – is so important when it comes to building lifelong values.

In this article, I have listed some of the important factors that can help us influence our children positively. The source information for this came from the writings of Carl E. Pickardt Ph.D., a Psychologist who has written 15 parenting books, who is a Father of 4 and Grandfather of 3 from Austin, Texas.

Step 1 – Appreciation

No matter how small the achievement, be quick and thorough in encouraging for anything well done. This can range from something as small as your child remembering to wash their hands after visiting the bathroom to learning to write their first words. Encouragement stimulates a child to want to repeat the behavior as naturally, they like receiving your approval.

Show appreciation and encouragement when your kid succeeds
Show appreciation and encouragement when your kid succeeds

Criticism, on the other hand, discourages your child from trying. It will undermine their confidence quickly, lowering their self-esteem. Giving supportive feedback is okay, showing them how something could be done in a different way to make it easier or to produce a better result, for example. But never tell them they did a bad job. A kid that is scared to fail won’t try new things.

Step 2 – Problem Solving

Always encourage your child to develop their abilities. Let them learn that by setting themselves small challenges they can often achieve great things. Learning to ride a bike is a good example of this. Your child will start out with training wheels and gradually the wheels can be raised until eventually they are removed altogether.

It can be scary to see your young son or daughter try out new things for the first time, particularly if there is a small element of danger involved. But this is how they learn their most valuable life lessons. They quickly understand that no matter how scary or difficult something appears to be, they can conquer it.

Allow your kid to come up with its own solutions and enjoy these bright moments he or she can be proud of
Allow your kid to come up with its own solutions and enjoy these bright moments he or she can be proud of

When your child does try something new, like playing an instrument or trying a new sport, it can take time for them to master the necessary skill. Be sure to praise and support all their effort to encourage them in their endeavors.

Step 3 – Let Kids be Kids

Many parents seem to want their tiny tot to have the same standards as an adult. This is wrong and damaging to a child’s development.

Don’t expect your children to have the same understanding of social etiquette as an adult. Instead of a reprimand, explain to them why their behavior is not acceptable for the situation they are in. Explain how it affects you and other people. This is how children learn respect for themselves and others.

And allow your kids as much time as possible to play! PLAY, PLAY, PLAY!!!

Step 4 – Curiosity

It is natural for a child to be curious. They are often full of questions, which can become rather tiring at times. But to spark the desire of learning in them at a young age is really valuable.

A friend told me about his daughter, aged 4, who asked how the car engine worked. He wasn’t sure how to answer her at first but quickly decided that despite her young age, he would give her a proper, if somewhat simplified, explanation.

This was exactly the right thing to do. He encouraged her curiosity. In fact, he could have taken this even further and shown her simple illustrated pictures when they got home or taken a look at the car engine together. Kids are never too young to start learning about things we think of as complex if they have an interest in the subject.

So your kid is curious, hmmm - That is great
So your kid is curious, hmmm? – Well, isn’t that GREAT!?

By answering your child’s questions, you will provide them with an edge at school, because your child will be used to taking in information from you and will be able to adapt that to taking it in from their teacher. The result will be that they will learn faster and more easily than their classmates.

Step 5 – Mistakes

When we make a mistake, it can often be a powerful way to learn as you don’t want to make the same mistake again. This is the same for a child. It’s totally okay for your kid to mess up every so often, as it is part of being human. No one is perfect or should ever be expected to be.

Your kids shouldn’t fear failure and, provided they learn from it, it is a positive thing. It’s totally okay to ask them what they learned if you do it in the right way. You ask them “Is that what you wanted to happen?” Hopefully, they will admit to the mistake and say “no.” You can then ask, “What has that taught you?” When they give you a response, praise it and perhaps offer alternative solutions for them to also think about.

Step 6 – Adversity

Life simply isn’t fair. In reality, it is generally hard and you can only protect your child from this fact for so long.

When something happens that your child finds unjust or difficult to cope with, you can explain how having these experiences makes them a stronger person. Explain that throughout life they will experience setbacks that they will need to overcome. Ask them to tell you how they are going to deal with the difficulty and hopefully resolve it. It is okay to offer additional solutions, but ask your child to tell you theirs first.

Step 7 – Teach Them Your Skills

While they are young, you are your child’s hero. They are sponges eager to learn all they can from you. Your attitude towards them and other people shows them how to think, speak and act. This is why it is essential to set a good example and be a worthy role model to them.

If you enjoy cooking or have a hobby, let them get involved. It will bring both of you a great deal of joy and help to further cement your lifelong bond.

What I’m trying to say is: Don’t be afraid to share YOUR passion with them!

Step 8 – Help and support

Don’t try to solve all of your child’s problems. I’m serious! Don’t!

It is fine to be there to support them and to offer further advice when you are asked for it.

But by always jumping in to defend them, you will not be helping them. Children have to learn to fight their own battles and take responsibility for their own actions. This will make them independent, confident and responsible.

Do not be afraid to offer your kid support when it needs it, though
Do not be afraid to offer your kid support when it needs it, though!

Step 9 – Provide Some Real Education

It is a very sad thing that today so many children become addicted to an artificial stimulus such as computer games at younger and younger ages. They live in an artificial world with artificial values and learn none of the skills required to survive in the real world.

Be your child’s savior and provide them with activities and interests that are real and will help them live happy and meaningful lives. People need to communicate with people, face to face, not from behind a computer screen. They need to learn real-life skills and keep their bodies active.

Step 10 – Rules

Kids like to know the rules, but the rules must be consistent and they must be fair. It is completely natural for kids to break the rules from time to time and to test their boundaries.

However, rules should never be ends in themselves. By explaining the reason behind rules, children often see why they are necessary and they are much more likely to accept them. Give it a try. And: If you can’t come up with a reason for a rule, don’t question your kid! Question the rule and kick it if it turns out to be unnecessary 🙂

One of the most important rules in our family is to always be honest. Find out why it is our #1 rule here!


I think you will agree that this is all great stuff to keep in mind. I’ll be sure to make sure I put this into practice with Benni.

Now it’s your turn! What do you feel is the most important tip I’ve listed above? Do you already incorporate it? What is the biggest challenge that you face day in and day out with your children and how do you tackle it? Did I miss something important? If you have anything to add to this story, please let me know in the comment section below! I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Thanks for reading, I hope you come back again soon!


P.S.: If you REALLY want to level up your parenting skills and get rid of all the power struggles that can stand between our kids and us as moms or dads, then make sure to read my FULL REVIEW of “Positive Parenting Solutions” HERE.

How to get your kids to listen without nagging, reminding or yelling



  1. Hi Chris,

    Great parenting tips. My wife and I raised 4 happy, well-adjusted children following those guidelines. They are now all wonderful adults. We have 2 grandchildren (so far) and love to watch their parents bring them up the same way. I think the way you are brought up is the way you bring your own children up.

    You mentioned in the introduction to the 10 tips what I consider to be one of the most important tips because it carries on after childhood into the rebellious teen and early adult years. Be a role model!

    During formative years if you tell your children to be honest and then lie to them they will learn to lie. As teenagers, when they do something that you don’t want them to do but do (or did) yourself, no amount of correcting them will fix the problem. Be strong and be their example. Be consistent with this and always let your children back into your loving arms no matter how bad they might be. Your love and your example will bring them back.

    I will be sharing your article with my children.


  2. Wow, these are all excellent tips and guides to for parenting children. I’m not a parent, but a good co-worker of mine just recently became a first time parent along with her husband so this will be an excellent article for them to read! Teaching kids how to problem solve is so essential anymore and it just seems like it’s lacking these days. Parents also need to remember to let kids be kids and realize they’re not miniature adults. Mistakes are definitely a part of life and you definitely have to let your child know that we are all going to make them, but the trick is to learn from them. How has parenting been for you so far?

  3. Thanks Chris, really great article. All your steps ring true to me as a father of an 8 and 10 year old. I think the one I have been finding most challenging is not criticizing when the kids mess up (even if it is the 50th time :). The other one I think is really important is step 8. It is really tempting to give your kids the answers (which I still do sometimes) but I am getting better at encouraging them to work things out for themselves.

    Thanks again,


  4. These are 10 very simple and common sense tips that many parents forget. 

    It is not easy being a parent as we know but letting your child discover the world with your guidance but through their own eyes I believe is important and not influenced by bad experiences you have had. 

    It’s only natural we want to protect our kids but your 10 tips can help parents explain and guide their children in the right way rather than trying to influence them and worry them.

    The one tip I love and have encouraged in my own life is let kids be kids. Let them have fun and enjoy all we can offer them.

  5. You sound like a parent who really knows how to raise a kid properly. I think the most important ones on your list is problem solving and adversity. We need to teach our kids how to fend for themselves instead of shielding them from the harsh realities of this world.

    Only by making them stronger can we have peace of mind knowing they would be able to take care of themselves later on when we no longer can. I’d get my kids to join some martial arts classes, it’s great for building character and self esteem. Also if they get bullied they could fight back.

    Anyway, all around very useful tips for raising a kid to be a strong and ethical person.

  6. Great tips. Thanks for sharing. The most challenging thing I find in my children is the competition that they keep having with each other. Who is faster at running to the top of stairs? If I ask them to get something, who will reach first and get it for me? Another challenging thing is the non-stop fights the siblings have- “she did this to me”, “he did that to me”! How do you even know who is right and who is wrong? 

  7. Thank you for this informative article. 

    My 3yr old twins are a handful and it’s a daily challenge to keep on top of all the things one has to do to keep them growing happy and confident.

    I agree with your, praise is one of the best tactics/ways of interacting with your children. They really enjoy it and after some praise want to do even better. 

    Your suggestion to teach them a skill we as parents have is spot-on. I teach my children English and they are now bilingual, happily switching from Serbian to English without even thinking about it. Those are my proudest moments! They are so tiny yet know so much already!

    Wishing you and your son joyous times together!

  8. Hey Chris!

    I absolutely loved this article! I am not a father yet, but my wife and I plan to have kids in the next couple years! My favorite step was step nine provide a real education.

    I think this is very important because there are so many things that they dont teach in schools now but should such as how to manage finances! 

    Thanks for this great article!


    1. Hey Chris (cool name, lol!) – Glad you made it here. Sorry that I didn’t manage to respond earlier. It’s been two years since you posted your comment. I’m wondering if your a dad by now 🙂 If you ever happen to read this, please reach out and let me know. I wish you all the best, chris

  9. As a young father to a wonderful daughter of 4, I have come to learn we are like customer support for children. There is never enough resources to help improve our parenting skills.
    My daughter loves to read and write, so we do plenty of that after work and school. It is great to be able to bond with her doing something she loves to do and on the plus side its educational as well. Teaching children tools that will be valuable later in life will only help them succeed or at least that’s what I think….
    Thanks for making this great list and I look forward to reading much more from you!

  10. Hi there Chris

    Great content and very easy to read.
    I have two boys of my own, aged 12 and 7. my wife and I, encourage them to explore, be artistic, create and amongst all just to be their selves.
    I thought your website theme is good with bold black writing and it doesn’t seem busy with to many images.
    Keep it up cause its a great informative website

  11. Your guide is great! And so easy to print out and share with others. I deal with a lot of young parents who really have no idea what they’re doing – pretty common. But these types of reminders and reinforcements really help them to avoid some of the most common mistakes.

    I was wondering if you had an article that dealt with ANGER. Because I see that a lot – parents lashing out in anger at their kids. It would be helpful to have something as clear and concise as this to share.

  12. Hello Chris!

    I really enjoyed your article and your picture with Benni. You look like a very proud dad and you can even read it in your writing. That’s great!

    I think these tips are spot on, but if I were to answer your question about which is most important, I would say “education”. I homeschooled my son for 3 of his elementary years until he reached middle school.

    I found that educating in the textbooks wasn’t enough. Education embraces most of the other points that you listed like mistakes, adversity, rules, teaching them my skills, and so on. Education can be one of the most exciting, rewarding, and challenging parts of parenting.

    I deal with watching smiles and increased confidence from education and on the opposite side, Ive dealt with defiance and discipline. It can be a challenge.

    Great post!

    1. Hi Tiffany,

      thank you so much for reading my article and leaving such a thoughtful, honest comment. I couldn’t agree more with everything you said. I bet that homeschooling your kids comes with many challenges, and you must be very proud of your kid and yourself that you managed to do this successfully! Kudos 🙂 It must be a very delicate situation for any parent to be a mom or dad and responsible teacher (in terms of schooling) at the same time.

      P.S.: I’ll admit that these pictures don’t show Benni and me. I try to avoid sharing pictures of my son on the blog, social media or the internet in general. If you want to learn more why I made this decision, I’d love to invite you to read this article here: Why I Don’t Share Any Pictures of My Son Here

      All the best to you and your family,

      chris 🙂

  13. The two most important tips that I agree with are appreciation and teaching new skills. I think a lot of kids take things for granted these days and they get upset easily when they don’t get what they want. Worse, they succumb to things like running away from home or become suicidal because they can’t handle the disappointment.

    I found that kids who are being taught many skills including survival skills are more resourceful and tend to be more creative at problem solving when things don’t quite turn out the way they expected.

    1. Hi Cathy, 

      How great to have you back. Thanks for sharing another thoughtful comment with us! I really, really appreciate it. And I couldn’t agree more! These days people in general, not just kids, got somewhat “addicted” to succeeding and being rewarded for everything. 

      That is why it is so important to me to make a clear difference between “praising” my son and “encouraging” him (something I learned in Amy’s online course Positive Parenting Solutions, by the way). It isn’t a bad thing to allow your kid to be disappointed and maybe even sad every now and then. It teaches them valuable lessons for life. As long as we as parents are there to help them with their needs and give them some guidance, everything is fine, I think! 🙂

      Thanks again, Cathy,

      Have a good one!


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