Sunday, June 13, 2010
My Parenting Philosophy
It seems like I am often posting pictures of my children doing things that are forbidden in all of the parenting rule books...like letting my 20 month old push my 6 week old in her baby stroller. Or pictures of Jillian (but one day Hayden too) screaming for falling off of something or getting stuck somewhere. I don't know why but I find the crying pictures kind of funny and keep the camera handy so that I can catch those memories before helping my toddler out. As a bonus, Jillian is a fearless child who provides me with ample opportunity for such pictures.
It is not only that I find such pictures funny. But they are also reflect my children learning about life.
In general, I'd say that my parenting philosophy is to avoid intervening and letting my children learn about the world themselves. If I see Jillian climbing on something that she may fall from, I let her do it provided that she would not end up seriously hurt. The rules that I choose to enforce are few at this point and basically limited to biting, pinching and hitting and anything that might result in injury like leaning over the banister above the stairs. If she wants to stand on the couch, fine. If she wants to sit in the window sill, fine. If she wants to pick at her food, whatever. She cannot understand logic at this point, so why bother trying to reason with her on why she should not do those things. My motto is to pick my battles and let her learn through her own experiences. Sure the rules will change more as she gets older, but I hope my general philosophy will remain the same. It seems like there are so many overprotective, helicopter parents out there hovering around their children in an effort to make their lives as pain free as possible. And while that really isn't a big deal when we are talking about learning to climb stairs, it does become a problem when your teenager succumbs to peer pressure to use drugs because they never learned to think for themselves.
I think my relaxed parenting style comes from my mom. My sister and I could punching each other in the middle of the living room, and her only response was to ask us to take it into another room. Ultimately, we had to learn to work things out on our own rather than having our parent do that for us. And really life does not come with some sort of fairness referee which is the role so many parents end up playing. Sometimes you wind up with a jerk for a boss or a co-worker, and you have to figure out how to cope with that. And sometimes life tosses situations that are unfair, and you have to deal with that. You can't go running to mommy or daddy in those situations, although many people in essence do by blaming everybody around them but themselves. I hope my children grow up learning that you cannot change anybody but yourself.
Of course my mom was also unfazed by finding a peanut butter sandwich stuffed in the VCR. Maybe I'm not quite that relaxed...