Your children are young today but one day they will be someone’s spouse. How do you prepare them for marriage?

1. Model to them how a good marriage looks like. Be their reference point so that they grow up saying “I want to have a marriage like that of my parents”

2. Do not cause trauma on your children in the form of insults, mistreatment, favouring one child over the other, emotional strain or neglect as you focus more on material provision. It is this childhood trauma that affects many adults in marriage

3. Speak well of the other gender. If you are a husband, let your son and daughter witness you honouring women by how you talk about your wife and women in general. If you are a wife, let your son and daughter witness you respecting men by how you talk about your husband and men as a whole

4. Avoid cheating on your spouse. Nothing confuses children about marriage like them growing in a home suffering from infidelity and its consequences. Children don’t understand, Dad, why are you doing this to mom? Mom, why are you cheating on dad?

5. Work on your issues quickly as a couple so that you are able to be in the right mental space to parent the children. You cannot parent healthy if you two are damaging each other

6. Before they get to teenagehood, encourage them to be social. Organize parties for them at home to invite their friends, notice good friends in their midst and encourage the bond. Laugh with your children, tease them when you see them growing close to someone, this breaks the ice and makes the children feel “I can talk to mom and dad about my friends”. Break the shy bone in your children and give them the confidence to relate with others

7. Teach your children to chat responsibly and to use gadgets comfortably around you. Ask your children to type for you some stuff sometimes on the phone. If your children have a gadget or access to the house phone, chat with them in a warm way so that they become free with you with phones and gadgets. Do this as you monitor who they talk to on chats and what they talk about. If you notice something uncomfortable, don’t over react but with wisdom, speak to your children how to engage with others

8. As your children approach teenagehood, remember that this age doesn’t need a strict disciplinarian but a mentor parent. This is not the age to order them around but the age to build a bond with them that they admire to the point they turn to you for counsel. If you handle this age badly, you might lose your children for life yet this is the age they are starting to form their identity and make future altering decisions. Teenagers often rebel because they feel misunderstood. Teenagehood is a make or break season

9. Encourage your teenage children to bring their friends home so that you can meet them and have more influence. Be a cool parent that even your children’s friends will wish to have a parent like you

10. Don’t be that parent who everything you say is what your child should not do “Don’t have sex”, “Don’t come at home at this time”, “Don’t hang around that friend”, “Don’t talk to me like that”. DON’T PARENTS are not effective. Instead, as you tell your children what they should not do, more so tell them why but most importantly tell them what they should do and how they will benefit from doing right things. Paint for them the future they will have as a result of doing right

11. Talk to your children about your romantic life, how you were before you met each other, how you two met, how you two dated, what attracted you to each other; children love these stories because it is part of their history. You being vulnerable also encourages your children to be vulnerable with you. Your children might disclose they have a crush and you are the best people to confide in about this

12. Watch with your children wholesome family movies and comedies, the good ones (not boring) and use those entertaining moments as conversation starters about love, romance and family

13. Pray for your children’s future marriage. Pray for their social life and that they make the right decisions in life

14. If you notice your children are focusing more on their social life and forgetting to focus on growing themselves; or focusing alot on growing themselves and having a dead social life; encourage your children to balance. Train them while young to balance because in their marriage, they will need balance. Do this by helping your children to articulate a vision with questions such as “What do you want to accomplish in life?”, “What kind of a person do you feel you deserve?”

15. Don’t threaten your adult children with words such as “Only bring someone to me when you are serious about marriage”, you will end up pushing your children away as they try to navigate relationship matters. You are not supposed to be someone your children report to in fear the last one standing after they have made romantic blunders, but the one who holds their hand as they discover who to choose. This means your children should feel free to tell you when someone is getting close even before they become an exclusive couple. This way, your children will turn to you as a guide during courtship and even in marriage

16. If you notice your adult child is serious about someone, seek to know more about the person from an unbiased view, find out why your child chose that person, get to bond with the person to the point that your child and the partner will feel free and welcomed by you. This way, you can counsel them and be their support. If you become tough and cold, your children will start doing things in secret and in hiding, running away from counsel. This is how most adult children end up in come we stay relationships hiding from their parents because they are confused; they believe they have found love, but are scared to involve their parents. If you don’t counsel your children, you will end up frustrated when they make mistakes

17. Prepare them to be ready for marriage by giving them tips about marriage, being their mentor couple, bonding with the two of them over lunch, encouraging them to go for Pre-marital counselling, gifting them with books or paying for them to attend marriage seminars. Show them support as a couple

18. Maintain a good relationship with them as a couple before and after the wedding. Let them know your door is open, not just when they have problems but because you are family. Do not micro-manage them but let them know you are there for them as a couple