18 Things Latina moms wish they had instilled In their young kids

latino family smiling on couch

I've been blessed with two beautiful kids who have grown into successful young adults. My son is now 17 and my daughter is 19. Although I don't have a lot of regrets as a parent there are some things that I wish I had taught them when they were much younger. Here's a list of things that many of my Latina (and gringa) friends wish that they had taught their kids before the age of 18:

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1. Teach them (girls and boys alike) basic household chores like cleaning and laundry. And don't expect them to do it the way you or abuela did! Even if they don't do it perfectly, let them do it!

2. Have them master at least a few traditional, Latin recipes. This way you can pass on your heritage and abuela's favorite dishes.

3. Show them how to sew. They don't have to learn how to make an outfit but they should know how to sew a button!

4. Don't wait until they're married to have the sex talk! And don't impose your own values around premarital sex otherwise they won't want to talk to you about it.

5.  Let Them Fail. How can kids learn from their mistakes when we're always rescuing them?

6. Teach them about the importance of good skincare: Moisturize daily and apply sunscreen

7. Cultivate empathy and compassion for others. Technology has created kids who are desensitized to the suffering of others. I have a friend who had her kids doing small acts of service since they were 5 years of age!   They'd go visit a nursing home, make a care package for a veteran or homeless are just some examples.

8. Foster gratitude. Research shows that raising grateful children leads to happier, less stressed and more optimistic adults.  My sister has her kids keep a gratitude journal. She asks them to devote 5 minutes a day jotting down everything they should be grateful for (focus on the positive rather than all of the negatives and what they don't have or dislike!)

9. Teach them that it's more about the quality than the quantity of friends. It's not about how many friends you have (on Facebook) but how deep your friendships are. To our daughters: it's not about how many boys you had sex with but how many want to marry you.

10. Teach them about saving for old age when you're young and always live within your means.

11. Don't give your kids everything that they want. (just because everyone else has it)

12. Show your kids that being unique is a strength and not a weakness.

13. Let your kids know that it's ok to say "no."

14. If you say no to them don't say "because I said so." Give an explanation of why you said no.

15. Make sure you teach them Spanish. Not just to speak it but to read it and write it too.

16. Remind them every day that they must do well in school to succeed and let them know everything else is negotiable but homework and doing well in school isn't.

17. Praise goes a lot further than criticism.

18. Happiness is found within and not with external things or with what others say or do. 

Anything we're missing that you think we should add?  Please share your regrets or valuable things you taught your kids when they were young.

Image via Thinkstock 

Topics: advice  bicultural  bicultural baby  child  child rearing  children  culture  kids  multicultural kids  parenting  parenting advice