12 Things I Would Have Done Differently With My Young Children

I am grateful for all that I have — amazing kids, wonderful husband, rewarding career, outstanding community — and don’t regret things in my life. But I know if I could, I would go back and do some things a little differently.

As a mother of a 15-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl, I would love to learn some wisdom from parents who have already sent their teenagers off to college — so maybe I can avoid a few of their mistakes.

I’m talking about the kinds of thoughts that follow a sigh and the oft-repeated phrase, “If I only knew then, what I know now.”

In the meantime, while I am raising kids in junior high and high school, I will share some of the insights I have as I look back on my parenting years when my kids were in elementary school.

Syndicated on BlogHer.com


  1. Wait longer (until my oldest child was at least 8) to allow a game console into my home, and wait longer (until my oldest child was at least 16) to allow mature-rated games into my home.
  2. Be more aware of how much I yell in front of my children.
  3. Be more aware of how much I criticize my husband in front of my children.
  4. Be more courteous to customer service agents who frustrate me in front of my children.
  5. Take my child on a “magical” vacation while she still believes in magic (before she turns 7) even if I have to go into debt to do it.
  6. Keep reading to my children every night even after they are regularly reading their own novels (after age 9).
  7. Never let my child fall asleep crying because of a disagreement at bedtime.
  8. Encourage my children to invite friends over spontaneously more often, even if only for a short time on a busy day.
  9. Start earlier (at age 5) to teach my children how to answer a home phone and take a message.
  10. Start earlier (at age 5) to insist my children set the table before every meal and bring their plates to the sink after every meal.
  11. Bring my children to my job or another workplace on Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day at least once.
  12. Hug my children more often for no reason.

Now it’s your turn.

Do you have any more to add to this list?

If your kids are out of the house, can you share one thing you would have done differently when they were teenagers?


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