To My Children: 8 Things I Promise I Will (and Won’t) Care about

Posted July 25, 2011 by

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Our children want our attention; they struggle with what we give them and how we give it to them. Parents struggle with this, too, and sometimes their efforts falter as they work to do their best.

Here are 8 things you can promise your child, communicating your desire to be a better parent:

Here are four things I promise I will care about:

  • First, I’ll care about what you care about. Whether it’s a science project or a cartoon, if it’s important to you, it will be important to me. By this, I’ll teach you that you matter. No amount of business or yard work will keep me from sharing in your life on a regular basis.
  • Secondly, I’ll care about your opinions & feelings. Because you are a part of this family, I’ll consider what you think and how you feel. I won’t always follow through with what you want because I am the parent, but you will know that you matter and that your best interest is at the heart of all my decisions.
  • Third, I’ll care about your friends. While they may be a bunch of misguided miscreants, they, like all children and teens, need direction and if I can influence them, they’ll help me take care of you.
  • Fourth, I’ll care about your future. I want you to succeed for a selfish reason in that you are my legacy for when I pass.  More important than that, your success could change the world for the better.

Here are four things I promise my child I won’t care about:

  • First, I won’t care that you get mad when I discipline you. It’s not fun for me either, but it has to be done. Otherwise, I won’t be teaching you what is right and wrong. Also, worrying that you are upset will only make my job harder. So, from this day forth, I’ll not be worried about it. You should know what the consequences of your behavior are, so don’t be surprised when you find yourself grounded after you come in late. It’s not my fault.
  • Second, I won’t care about embarrassing you when your health and well-being are at stake. I won’t kiss you in the mall or hug you in the school hallway if you don’t want me to, but nothing short of the U.S. Military will stop me when I need to protect you. Bullies and “the boy I warned you about” will not get away with anything.
  • Third, I won’t care about what you want to do when I think it’s dangerous or if I’m the least bit uncertain about it. If you want to do anything, you must have my parental approval because I am the all-powerful being of your universe. When you pay taxes and choose to create life, we’ll talk about your status on the matter.
  • Fourth, I’ll never care about anything that keeps you from being a better person. I made mistakes that hurt me deeply. I don’t want the same for you. So, listen to what I have to say. It comes from experience.

Finally, just know that you’ll be thankful someday because I said two things to you regularly: “no” and “I love you.”


Dale Sadler is the author of 28 Days to A Better Marriage and How to Argue with Your Teen & Win. By day he works with middle schoolers and by night he is a family counselor specializing in marriage, parenting and men's issues. He works hard to be the husband and father his family needs. Follow him @DaleSadlerLPC or visit

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