I was recently asked by One Hail Mary at a Time about my parenting philosophy. After taking a weekend to consider my philosophy, she and I both agreed this would make a stellar blog post at some point. In the past, I have acknowledged I don’t have all the answers, and there is no set way to parent, but I strongly believe all parents should have an internal guidance, or motivation, to help them focus throughout their parenting journey.
So, without further ado, here are 10 principles which guide the way I approach parenting:
- Honor your child’s personality – they are their own beings, with their own God given purpose for their lives. They have their own manner of facing life’s challenges, and their personality should be nurtured and embraced.
- While I love my children fiercely, I remind myself frequently they are not my children – they are God’s children. He has trusted me with His beautiful, precious charges, and I will someday be held accountable for how I act toward them and raised them (regardless of whether or not they choose to actively follow His call someday).
- Embrace their questions. It’s so difficult at times to hear endless questions, but it’s how they learn. Allow them to feel confident to come to you, and ask you questions, so that they will not be tempted to solicit answers from other sources, who may not be as reliable in the answers.
- Be consistent in your expectation of behaviors, and then consistent in implementing discipline. There will be challenges to your boundaries – but, remember, as difficult as it is, you are the “parent first, friend second.”
Keep in mind you are their parent first, and friend second.
- Allow some flexibility – for them to be themselves, and for situations to arise which may impact your “schedule.” Don’t live by an inflexible itinerary, which will serve all-too-often just to increase your stress as you try to adhere to artificial time hacks you set for yourself; instead, allow for things to happen which will occasionally interrupt the schedule.
- Encourage desired behavior in positive ways – try to do less scolding, and more molding. Mold the desired behavior through affirmation – praise, words of encouragement, rewards, extra snuggles (whatever motivates them).
Do less scolding, and more molding. Mold the desired behaviors you want to see.
- Build them up. Every morning is a blank slate, no matter the struggles you had the day prior, or the getting them to bed the night before. Make sure that while you may dislike their behavior, you remember to tell them you love them, and you have faith and confidence that they will, “do better next time.”
Every morning is a blank slate. No matter what happened the day before, the new day brings new opportunity for both you and your children to do better.
- Keep in mind – our children are sponges, and they mirrors who show us how we are seen by others. They will pick up on our self-doubts, our self-criticisms, and our reactions to the thing that happen to and around us. So, always guard your own actions and statements – a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if you would like to hear your son or daughter say the same thing about themselves, or a significant other; or, if you would like them to act in a similar manner toward others. Because they do pick up statements and behavior…
- Don’t forget to remember the rest of the parenting team – whether it is the father of your children, or some other avenue for support. You don’t always have to parent alone. You may be alone in the middle of the night, but there is support available to you. It comes in many forms – for me, it is my husband. For others, it could be their own parents, or perhaps their siblings, neighbors, or church members. Remember to lean on them, learn from their experiences, and ask for help when you need a break. Furthermore, remember to thank them for their contribution to the parenting team, and if you are married, don’t forget to nurture that vocation, since it will teach them about marriages and how they should work!
Don’t forget the other half of the parenting team. If you are married, don’t forget to nurture that vocation!
- Remember to cut yourself some slack as the parent. None of us have all the answers, and often times, most of us are doing the best we can. Remember it is okay to have a “bad Mommy moment,” or a “Mommy failed kind of day.” The point is to recognize those moments or days, acknowledge what went wrong, and pick yourself up with the goal to do better the next moment, hour, day, week…
Remember to cut yourself some slack as a parent. None of us have all the answers, and most of us are doing the best we can.
If you’d like a free printable of this philosophy, feel free to click here.
Tell me in the comments – what is your parenting philosophy? How do you nurture this avocation?