It’s often a topic of conversation—what characteristics of a woman are most important to instill in our youth. A strong woman tends to outshine.
Sergio Gallardo, graphic designer at Augusta University, and his wife Brenda have three girls and one boy—Tori (17), Olivia (13), Bella (11) and Tres (4).
Sergio shared what qualities are most important to him and his wife in raising their children.
Raising strong women
A family grounded in the church, the Gallardos strive to teach their girls what it means to be proper, respectful women in today’s society.
“It’s a scary job to raise girls today,” said Sergio. “We want them to be strong, smart and faithful to God.” They also want their girls to be successful, independent women.
They said the most crucial part of parenting is setting an example. “We’ve always tried hard to teach respect by example,” said Sergio. “As parents it pains us to see grown adults out in public, acting out and being completely inappropriate, rude and inconsiderate, all while toting their young children with them. Do we expect those children to see how their parents act and not mimic their behavior?”
“[Our girls] know our relationship is strong and trusting, as we rarely argue around the kids,” said Sergio. “We joke and play a lot, which also tends to make disciplining hard sometimes. But, it shows that family and relationships are meant to be fun and loving, even though they are plenty hard at times. We hope that we are giving them an example to go by when the time comes for them to date and choose the right kind of guy.”
They believe their girls already have a great understanding of what respect means. “We have never been called about an issue or incident at school or church where our girls were disrespectful,” said Sergio.
“The challenge in raising polite respectful girls is that you also don’t want them to be soft and allow things to happen to them,” said Sergio. Providing young girls with the knowledge that there are inappropriate things that can happen to them is important. “Again, having that male presence in their lives is fundamental, because it teaches them what appropriate behavior is.”
Raising good people
“We definitely see a more jagged, hard personality forming in our son as opposed to the sweet, little, soft personalities of the girls when they were little,” said Sergio. The girls always asked why and wanted to learn how and why things happened. “As far as discipline, all of the girls seemed to get their feelings hurt when they got in trouble for their behavior.” However, it allowed them, as parents, to be supporting and teach the girls about what they did wrong.
Although their son is only 4 years old, they said he just wants to play hard and get dirty. When he gets in trouble he “doesn’t seem to care to know the why or how regarding the wrong behavior,” said Sergio. “He is definitely our biggest challenge.”
Being the only boy, their son is the center of everyone’s attention. “We try our hardest to not baby him, and hope in doing so, we teach the kids that you can be loving and assertive at the same time,” said Sergio.
“We are doing the best we can do to raise good mothers and fathers, best friends, future leaders of our community and society, and people that can be looked up to,” said Sergio. “I hope that I will leave them with a wealth of love, knowledge and support that will help provide them with what it takes to do the same for their children and families.”
The girls answered: What has your mom or dad taught you about respect?
- “We feel like we were always shown respect through mom and dad’s actions, so I don’t know if we were ever just taught how to be respectful. We just learned what they did.” – Tori and Olivia
- “Mom and dad taught me to not gossip or talk rude to people or behind their backs.” – Bella
He answered: How do you protect your sisters?
- “Hug them” (as he squeezed and hugged himself). – Tres