One of the things I learned in college that I draw from occasionally, I discovered in a child psychology class. It is Erik Erikson's theory of development. Basically, the theory suggests that all humans, from infancy to old age, go through a sequence of psychological developmental phases that present as a "crisis" of some sort. These crises must be overcome in order to become a successful and stable person.
I certainly do not buy into any psychological theory with full belief, but I think this one merits some consideration. I like to remember that my babies will develop trust in God and the goodness of life by learning to trust in me, and that I must mother them with this in mind. My little toddlers should not be shamed, but encouraged to do things independently as they seem driven to do (think of your average two year old!). My young children should be encouraged in their attempts to be helpful, not criticized for their ineptness. My older children should be given meaningful work that gives them confidence in their abilities, not allowed to pass their time with passivity. My growing teens should be lead to positive relationships and role models and given the meaning behind the beliefs we hold as a family. I don't have any young adults, yet, but this theory suggests that this is the period when intimate relationships are formed, so as parents we are responsible for helping lead them through this delicate and profound period.
Just a little food for thought......How are your children moving through these developmental phases?