MANTON, Mich. – Things aren't always perfect in the Vogler household. There are fights and squabbling, all the usual sibling rivalry. But Mandy and Justin Vogler take joy in raising six children, including two adoptees from Ethiopia.

For Mandy, keeping the household running while home schooling is a challenge she thrives on. She uses a buddy system, with the older children helping the younger ones, to keep things running smoothly.

Her are Mandy's top five parenting tips in celebration of Mother's Day.

“Make your children a priority and everything else an inconvenience,” she stated. “And not the other way around.”

Love

Let your children know they are loved beyond limits. Don't be timid in telling your children how much you love them. Even when they need discipline or more responsibility, they need to feel loved and appreciated. Hug and kiss them everyday. Take time to show them you love them. Listen when they talk. Go for walks with them. Grow a garden together. Plant a flower bed. Watch an anthill. Pick a bouquet for the kitchen table.

Consequences

Make rules and follow-up on them with a consequence if broken. If you make a child a promise, plan to do everything in your power to keep your word. Children are more obedient and secure when they know that your word is something they can count on.

Consistency

Follow-up on misbehavior with consequences. The bottom line is that breaking the rules has a cost. When a child speaks disrespectfully to a parent or adult, negative consequences need to be enforced. Don't ignore bad behavior. Ignoring bad behavior is no different than rewarding it, in my opinion. Someday, when your child is speeding down the road going 70 mph in a 55 zone, I doubt the police officer is going to ignore them. Let's teach our children life lessons while the life lessons require small penalties.

Responsibility

Give your child responsibility. In order for children to learn how to be responsible and productive adults they must learn as children. Give them age-appropriate chores to do, even the young ones. We expected our children to pick up their toys as soon as they were old enough to get them out. By age 3 they made their beds, although not perfectly. Parents will need to demonstrate and help with chores numerous times before they can be expected to handle it alone, and expect a refresher course now and then. It might mean more work for mom and dad at first but the payoff comes down the road.

Example

Children benefit from your example. Not telling lies, stealing and hurting others is learned best through your example. Careful spending and saving can be taught through conversation and example.

From the Cadillac News, Cadillac, Mich.

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