I attended a parenting lecture at our church last weekend. I only learned a couple of new things, but the points covered in the 2.5 hours pretty much encapsulated my entire parenting approach. There were only a couple of things I felt like they didn’t touch on. What I did realize was that, despite my tendency to be long-winded, I could probably condense my parenting approach into a few words.
This is the outline of the parenting manual I live by. It has been refined by research, advice from extraordinary parents whom I am fortunate to call my friends, and my experience both as the mother of my amazing daughters and as a child in a less than stable home. I hereby present to you the 10,000 foot view of my approach to parenting.
- Celebrate the individual.
- Focus on nurturing your children’s characters, not (only) their talents.
- Be true to temperament: Your own and each child’s.
- Let your children see you make and recover from mistakes.
- Talk to your children; your early time together builds a foundation for the teenage years and beyond.
- Be a role model.
- Be consistent: Say what you mean and mean what you say.
- Live the Golden Rule: Treat others, including your children, as you wish to be treated.
- Work as a family.
- Work with your co-parent as a partner.
- Mealtime is family time.
- Re-evaluate often: Are your priorities, whatever they may be, getting the time and attention they need?
- Build your village.
- Talk to other parents about parenting.
- Encourage meaningful relationships between your children and other adults.
- Permit trusted adults to discipline your children.
- Encourage meaningful relationships between your children and other children.
- Mentor children other than your own.
- Ask for help; offer help.
- Be a just disciplinarian.
- Discipline is correction born of love; do not punish in anger.
- Use a consistent set of consequences, adjusted as your children grow older.
- Reward good behaviour. Do not reward bad behaviour. Attention is a reward.
- Punish only bad choices: Mistakes need to be explained and subsequent infractions can be punished. Accidents happen.
I’ll explore each point in more depth in future posts.
What is your approach to raising children? What basic principles did I miss?
Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 7-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. She lives with them and their 3 cats in the Austin, TX suburbs and works full time as a business analyst. She retired her personal blog, Double the Fun, when the girls entered elementary school and also blogs at Adoption.com and Multicultural Mothering.