The 10 KIDmandments: Ten Principles for Raising Successful Children


When I set out to write my book, The 10 KIDmandments, my aim was to inspire other parents who, like my wife and I, embrace the journey towards becoming the best parents we can be. I still don’t think I have all the answers, but through my writing I became even more aware of the importance of establishing guiding principles for how we raise our kids. The principles set forth in my book are meant to inspire discussion and exploration of your families values and guiding ideals.

The choice to be a great parent is ours. We are incredibly fortunate to be blessed with children in our lives, and it is up to us to take advantage of this opportunity to achieve real, lasting significance. It is also our responsibility as parents to set the example that our children will follow as they grow up. No parent is perfect, but when we aspire to be the best teachers we can for our kids, we increase the chances that they will lead happy and successful lives.

Below you’ll find a short summary of each of the guiding principles in The 10 KIDmandments. You can click each link for an in-depth exploration that supplements what I’ve written in the book. I hope you’ll find them thought-provoking and inspiring!

Parenting Principles to Live By

KIDmandment 1 – Life’s Purpose

Living a purpose driven life at home and at work is the best way to achieve a successful and happy life. If we live a life that is following our chosen path and are actively pursuing meaning, we will inspire our children to live fulfilling and purposeful lives.

KIDmandment 2 – Life’s Path

Finding our life’s path shows us the way to achieve our life’s purpose. As parents, we can teach our kids how to explore and find the path that is meaningful to them, and how to choose the positive paths.

KIDmandment 3 – Positive Mental Attitude

Our kids are born with positive mental attitudes. Their contagious energy, wide-eyed wonder, and active imaginations are proof. As life grows more complex, maintaining a positive mental attitude and following positive thoughts with positive actions is vital to our growth and happiness.

KIDmandment 4 – Living in the Present

Make the most of every day. When we are constantly worrying about the past or projecting ourselves into the future, we miss all that is right in front of us. Allowing ourselves to be “in the moment” makes us conscious creators of our own lives, and this is a powerful gift to model for our kids.

KIDmandment 5 – Relationships/Communication Skills

The importance of true communication can’t be overstated, especially in today’s increasingly digital world. Teaching our kids good communication skills empowers them to create meaningful and lasting relationships and to pursue their goals in life.

KIDmandment 6 – Love to Learn 

Finding sustainable joy in life is so much easier when we live a life of ongoing learning! When we are curious and engaged with the world around us, our kids learn to do the same, building a foundation for lifelong growth and joy.

KIDmandment 7 – The Rs: Rules, Respect, and Repercussions

When we set clear expectations, or rules, for our kids, they learn about the consequences of their actions, both positive and negative. It is part of our job as parents to make use of teachable moments and provide examples for respectfully engaging with the people around us.

KIDmandment 8 – Health

Good health means that our bodies, minds, and spirits are working harmoniously together. Setting an example of respect and care for these aspects of our lives encourages our children to develop healthy habits.

KIDmandment 9 – Money and Materialism 

Studies prove that happiness is found within, in the pursuit of doing something we love rather than in accumulating money and material goods. Money is neither good nor bad; it is simply a tool. Teaching our kids the value of their time and effort instills pride in their work and accomplishments.

KIDmandment 10 – Faith, Religion, and Spirituality

These are the foundations of a worthwhile and happy life. Teaching our children the difference between faith, religion, and spirituality helps them grow into adults who find joy, meaning, and community through honoring our Higher Power.

The Most Difficult Job in the World

I firmly believe that single working parents have the hardest job in the world. Parenting children without many of the resources and support that most families take for granted makes raising kids by yourself an overwhelmingly difficult responsibility. Single parents (usually mothers) are more likely to live in poverty, and have trouble finding and keeping steady jobs due to the stresses and obligations of caring for children. This is why the profits from every copy of The 10 KIDmandments go to supporting Operation Breakthrough, an organization that serves the children of Kansas City’s urban core.

Operation Breakthrough is one of the largest single-site early education childcare and social services facilities in Missouri. Their mission is “To help children who are living in poverty develop to their fullest potential by providing them a safe, loving and educational environment.” I cannot say enough about the great work that the staff and volunteers at Operation Breakthrough do in our community. If you don’t already own a copy of The 10 KIDmandments, I urge you to purchase one (or more!) in support of an organization that lives these principles to their fullest each and every day.

I’d like to take a moment to thank my wife and our three daughters — I wrote this book in part to teach myself how to be a better husband, father, and friend to you. You four inspire me every day and I am continuously thankful for your incredible love and support. And to those who buy, gift, or share The 10 KIDmandments, thank you! – Jeff Oddo

Please support the work of Operation Breakthrough by purchasing The 10 KIDmandments today. Follow me on Twitter @JeffOddo to share in the journey towards becoming the best parents we can be!