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Experienced Parents Teach These 3 Habits to Their Kids

Updated: Sep 18, 2021

When we take a look at the parents who are really thriving—the ones who seem to be at ease with themselves and with their family life, we notice that certain patterns stand out. And one of the first patterns we see is that mom and dad had already tackled the large habits, those areas of parenting that (when handled properly) make parenting in other areas all the easier.

So if you’re a new parent and you want to know how you can get your home life from chaos to calm, then let’s begin by taking a look at just three of these habits right now. I hope you’ll be able to see how they might work for you, too.

1. The Habit of Good Manners

Among parents, manners can be kind of taboo.

Perhaps it is because we are all quite sensitive about whether or not our kids are being judged, or maybe it’s simply because we don’t like talking about things that we ourselves struggle with. Who knows.

But one thing I do know is that every parent wants their child to be heard and appreciated. Well, scratch that, actually. Every loving parent wants their child to be loved!

This is where manners come into play.

Manners help us to fit into the community so that others can really meet us.

If you’re not sure about this, just think back to the time someone sat in your living room with their screaming or belligerent child. Did you really want to get to know that person?

Experienced parents know this.

That’s why they begin, as early as possible, to work on how their child speaks, how they act towards certain individuals or groups, and how they behave in different environments.

By removing the friction that ill-mannered behaviours bring to an interaction, it makes it far easier for others to get to know our kids the way that we do—as lovable and truly wonderful people.

Experienced parents know that getting their kids connected with God early will reap benefits for years to come and make other areas of parenting far easier to tackle.

2. The Habit of Self-Control

In a world like ours, it is far too easy to be self-indulgent.

On social media boards we allow our criticism to rip with very little thought because no one really knows who we are on there anyway.

When it comes to keeping clean homes, we decide to leave things untouched for yet another day because no one really visits anyway.

Self-control touches on almost every aspect of our lives—from what and how much we consume, to our ability to learn—and that’s why experienced parents put habits in place and teach self-control early.

Lower your voice in the house.

Make your bed in the morning.

That’s enough ketchup.

Do these sound familiar?

Simple but consistent directions like these teach our kids that self-control is not only expected but also required if we are ever going to thrive as a family.

3. The Habit of Prayer

When devout Catholics become new parents it is only a matter of time before they realize that it is now up to them to create meaningful and lasting habits for their kids in the way of prayer. And of course, this comes with some interesting questions.

Should we pray like our families did growing up?

Should we shorten prayer time? After all, our baby isn’t really aware of what’s going on anyway. Does that matter?

Should we do more than our parents did?

If you’re like most new parents that I have met, then you are not sure how to answer these questions at all, which is why it can be helpful to take a meaningful look around.

Try imitating what your parents have done and see if it fits your family culture or not. Ask friends how they pray with their kids and talk about whether or not it could work for you.

You could also get started with our 5 Day Catholic Parenting Challenge, which offers very simple and meaningful ways to inject prayer into your life as a new parent.

However you proceed, it is important to just get started!

Experienced parents know that getting their kids connected with God early will reap benefits for years to come and make other areas of parenting far easier to tackle.

And that’s the goal, isn’t it?

You and I want family lives that actually enrich and heal us. We want to parent from a place of calm and confidence. But to do that, we need to get a handle on the large habits, those ways of speaking and behaving that allow us to create the family culture that we all crave.

So do what experienced parents do: think big before you think small. Manners. Self-control. Family Prayer.

Get started and let me know how it goes.

in Christ,



Patrick Sullivan is a Catholic Speaker and the President of Evango, a Catholic Media Organization that seeks to build a culture of Catholic evangelization and missionary discipleship. Patrick travels internationally to speak at Catholic events, parenting conferences, and to lead retreats and parish renewal missions. He is the creator and host of Me & My House, the Catholic parenting program that is transforming how we minister to parents in our dioceses, parishes, and communities. Patrick lives in beautiful Barry’s Bay, Ontario with his loving wife, Kyla, and their nine children.

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