I utilized my childhood experiences to inform my parenting style, but I focused more on the aspects that bothered me rather than the ones that worked. I turned my grievances into guiding principles and made promises to myself about what I would and would not do in order to cultivate lifelong relationships with my sons.

Honesty is crucial in any relationship. I felt that growing up, I wasn't always given the full story, which left me unprepared for life's challenges. If there had been more open communication in my household, I may have been better equipped to handle difficult situations.

Trust is another essential component of a genuine relationship. It's important to give children opportunities to make small decisions so that they can learn to take responsible risks and trust their own judgment.

Teaching independence is about allowing children to be their best selves. I learned from watching my aunt try to hold my cousins back that I didn't want to do the same with my own children. Holding onto our children too tightly can be selfish and not in their best interest.

Teaching resilience and problem-solving is vital because life can be tough, and our children need to be tough too. Overprotecting them does not prepare them for the challenges they will face as adults. Saying no, experiencing disappointment, and dealing with loss are all part of life, and learning how to handle these events builds character and resilience.

Learning and speaking the right love language is essential for building emotional bonds. There are five love languages, and each of us has a dominant one. Speaking the right language can make all the difference in strengthening relationships. You can take the Love Language Quiz to learn more.

Finally, it takes a village to raise a child. Your community of family, friends, school, sports, church, and work are all part of your village, and they can all influence your children. It's important to ensure that their values align with yours so that you can coordinate your village and work together to support your children's growth and development.