It really is. It’s hard. It’s tough. Just when you think this job is easy, it gets tough. Even tougher than you ever thought it could.
Guess what? It NEVER really gets easier. Just different.
Now, I read about these parenting styles and such. I just smile. The fact is that we are all doing the best we can with what we got. One kid is not going to be the same as the other. Happens every time. What works for the rest, will probably not work for that one.
Here is another fact; Our Mother’s WILL eventually come out of our mouths. We may or may not recognize it at first. But it will. Sometimes our Father’s. Our parents, like it or not, have influenced our parenting styles no matter what we try to do or say or hide. When we least expect it, it happens. It is how we were trained. It is how we learned, good or bad, it’s what we learned.
Yes, we can follow this or that parenting style. I did.
I tried the “ boys and girls are the same creatures so give them whatever toys they want to play with and certainly no guns, philosophy”. I learned that boys and girls play differently. Some of my girls liked to play with trucks and such. But they also used the people. My boys played with trucks and buried the people in the sand. My boys played with dolls. They hung the Barbie dolls out the bedroom windows. The loved and hugged the dolls. Carried them around, and then hit each other with them and used them as guns. They found sticks and used them as guns or swords or whatever weapon was needed for whatever evil they were fighting. The girls fought right alongside the boys in the battles and then helped take care of their “serious” wounds.
I tried the “no corporal punishment of any kind” philosophy. I needed to learn some other methods of discipline. I am glad I did quite frankly. But then I had 5 boys in a row. The oldest 2 of those, made corporal punishment come back into my house. Nothing else worked at all. Yes, I did everything else first. Taking away privileges. Time out. Making their lives miserable until they did what I needed them to do. (No that was not using shame or condemnation. That was making them stay there in the place that they needed to be until they did what I asked them to do. Also called “stop the world” technique.) On occasion something would get through, but generally, the only thing that consistently worked well, was a well-placed spank on the behind.
See, I did try some parenting philosophies.
I would have to say though, to be honest, that I did read all the parenting magazines, looked at all the ideas and plans. Then added them to my “tool belt” to pull out when I needed to. Some kids didn’t need me to pull out any of the “power tools”. Others, made me pull out all the tools in the belt and then look for some more.
I think, personally, that we have to let ourselves be ourselves. I think that we need to realize that each kid is different and we need to parent each one a little differently. I think we need to give ourselves permission to take the good things our parents taught us, and use them ourselves in our parenting careers. They didn’t get through raising us and learn nothing along the way. Take those lessons our parents learned or taught us and use them in your own parenting.
Adult children still need parents. Often they ask for advice, sit down and talk with us, talk with their siblings, make mistakes. I don’t always do things always the right way, I certainly don’t expect them to.
Here is another important tidbit for you: Making mistakes, is in fact, a part of life.
Hear me on this. Parenting is about making mistakes, and learning from them. Teaching our kids that it is ok to make mistakes sometimes, but we need to learn from them and not make them again! Give yourself permission to make mistakes some times. Do some research and find a better way to do things. There are enough parenting styles and tips out there, use them. Put them in your tool belt. Teach your kids how to say “I’m sorry” when mistakes are made. It is ok. Really it is.
By the way, I realize that my parenting years are not over yet, I still have a long way to go! I have adult children and I have one last child under double digits. Right now, I have 4 teens. (The youngest is 11- that is still teens or tweens they like to call them now.)
Some parenting books and resources I currently look to for help: Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. Hugely invaluable resource. They have books specifically for kids and teens. loveandlogic.com parenting articles and tips for all ages. Pottsgroup.com. A great resource for parents by parents who have been through really difficult situations with their teens. Of course, my own parents and other friends who have been there done that.
What are some resources that you have found to be invaluable in your own parenting?? How can I pray for you today??