It might sound overly ambitious, and parents obviously can’t control everything, but it’s important to think long and hard about the type of environment in which you want to raise your child.

It takes more than just big ideas. It takes execution, and that’s not always easy.

Figure out what’s important

Culture changes fast, and the ideals that were important and prioritized when you were a child may not be the same now. For parents, it can be an almost Herculean task to take things that are important to them, and how the world has changed culturally, and find a balance in how you raise a child.

Some of those old ideals are certainly worth holding onto, while some of the new changes also can help foster a well-­rounded child. Those are the things each family has to figure out, but it takes some early decision-­making to set those standards at a young age.

Make rules and stick to them

It’s easy to plan before a baby arrives, but once the rubber hits the metaphorical road, that’s when it can get very tough. From a plan for (or against) co-­sleeping to teaching teens proper manners, it takes consistency for those lessons to stick.

Parents need to set those expectations early and lay out clear consequences for their children. For example, if you’re teaching manners, be sure a child is required to say “please” and “thank you” before their question is answered.

Understand you can’t control everything

Like it or not, your children are going to be influenced by the outside world.

From peers at school to media such as TV and movies, it’s amazing the different places children can pick up different things. It falls to a parent or guardian to teach their children how to parse and process it all.

Even if they do pick up things a parent might not agree with, a strong foundation can go a long way toward helping them figure out which influences are important.

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