Recently I worked on an article for a magazine that asked, "What is your parenting style?" And they didn't want authoritarian vs. authoritative research and such, my knee jerk reaction. The objective was to discuss how you parent. What kinds of things do you consciously do every day that define you as a parent? What traditions and routines do you perpetuate and why? Wow, what a question. I've been thinking about it for weeks.
First of all, I determined that there's probably not a WRONG answer to this question. If you're consciously doing anything in the name of parenting, then you've probably thought it through, right? So I began to think, what am I doing? So I came up with a few things.
1. I am present and available. Whether driving the carpool, greeting them after school, or making breakfast, I'm doing my thing close to the kids doing their thing. I notice mood changes, frustration with homework, phone calls that end in angst and other nuances of their day to day life. I have my finger on the pulse of my childrens' interaction with the world. And even if I never comment on any of it, I have the information I need to discuss the things that need to be addressed, to encourage in particular areas of insecurity, and to give them extra attention when they're day's not going so hot.
2. I insist upon meals as a family as often as possible. We eat dinner together most nights and we eat breakfast together daily. It just seems to send us off into the world nicely knowing WE ARE THE KOPPELMANS and WE'RE HERE TO BE AMBASSADORS OF GOODWILL.
3. I'm a book pusher. I read aloud to the kids a great deal. I get very excited about new authors and new books, and I can't help but think they'll get excited, too.
4. As a family, we have a love of learning. My husband and I try to model learning new things. We try to learn new things together, and we applaud the kids in such situations. We acknowledge the effort although learning something new often means a lot of short-term failure until you 'get it', so if you cheer the effort, they learn to value trying.
5. I make mistakes, I apologize for them, and I ask for their forgiveness. I think that's an important life skill to pass on to your kids. Think how many marriages could be saved, teen-age runaways could have stayed, and family feuds could have been avoided if the parties involved knew how to apologize and ask forgiveness. It's one of the hardest things in the world to do, so kids need to practice doing it early and often, so that it's a response they have in a situation of need.
Okay, well, that's enough for today, but I may revisit that again soon. I encourage you to ask yourself the same questions. Use it as a writing exercise or as a reflection on your parenting. The idea of consciously parenting is one all parents should consider. Sometimes we're prone to just putting out the fires of daily life, but we need to be a step ahead of that, don't we?
Take care, and have a great week-end. xoxox
My Mission Statement
I write to serve, to unite, to educate. I write to share literature and flesh out ideas that may be of interest to others. I write to document an emotion, experience, or a blip in time. My mission is to write in such a way that the reader is reminded that we can find humor in all situations. It's one of the great blessings of life.