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 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...


Curt said...

Sounds like a good parenting style, Jen. If I ever have kids, that's what I'd be doing too.

jenn said...

I think for the most part I subscribe to the same style exactly! Case in point- today we had an engagement party to go to- at one point Pumpkin was being watched by a 9 year old & a 4 year old. I was cool with that since they live with a toddler her age. A grandmother at the place actually leaned over & took a cracker out of her hand since she picked it up off the floor... I really didn't care when she grabbed the same cracker off the table 10 minutes later. There are limits to what I can protect against & a stumble here & a bit of eaten dirt there will really only serve to help her in the long run. I do ~not~ want a sheltered girl! Especially if she does end up being an only child!

Sorry so long- but your girls are absolutely adorable & I love, love, love, the crying baby shots too!

Kelly said...

I completely agree! I'm more laid back too but Lance is the helicopter parent. I think I give him ulcers when it comes to M. She needs to learn for herself (within reason) how things work.
Super cute pics!!!

Jennifer said...

Love the pics...we have that baby stroller too and Julian tries to fit himself in it all the time - I always tell him it will break, but he doesn't care. I'm waiting for the day he gets Ella into it!