Thursday, May 15, 2014

Advice that shaped my parenting style

I do not remember where I heard it or read it, but I have a mantra that I always follow.

"Your job as a parent is to create an independent adult."

That advice made its way to me several years ago, and it stuck. It lodged itself into the core of my parenthood and shapes how I teach and observe my children. I know so many parents who want to control everything, to shelter constantly, to answer for their children. Even mothers of teens; their children want to grow and explore and seek to build their independence, while the mother clings and restricts out of fear or a struggle against change.Safety is first and foremost, and rules should apply as needed for each individual child. But after safety comes trust, then allowance. As parents, we must allow the people we created to become the people they are meant to be. Even though the world is big. And sometimes scary. 

When Amelia was a toddler, I had a mom comment on how "laid back" I was on the playground.

While she hovered over every move her child made, I kept a healthy distance and allowed Amelia to explore. I remained vigilant to protect her from danger, but I did not fear a scraped knee. As she has grown into a smart, conscientious, amazing little girl, I have tried to consistently nurture her desire for independence. I allow her quiet time by herself, I let her try new things like unlocking the door with a key, cracking the eggs on her own, and choosing her own hairstyle. Now that she is a big sister, I allow her to pick up, hold, feed, and carry the baby. We have a healthy set of rules; she cannot pick him up without asking me first, she is never allowed to take him on stairs or outside, and she cannot feed him or give him toys without my permission and assurance that what she has is acceptable for an almost  4-month old.The pride I see in her eyes when she can hold her brother? It is priceless, and I know that I'm doing the right thing.

As Amelia and Andrew get older, I want to continue to look towards their future. I want them to be confident in who they are and their own accomplishments. I want to watch them ride down the hill on their bikes, all by themselves. I want them to understand how to study and perform their best in school, without excess parental pushing. I want them to get in their cars one day so I can watch them drive confidently to college, secure in knowing that I created some pretty awesome adults.

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  1. I also strive to be a laid back mom. Kids who learn to win, fail and simply get by are far more self-sufficient than those who are constantly coddled. Great post. Thanks for sharing. M

  2. Completely agree! Your child should be able to come and count on you and not expect you to be there every step of the way. I hate the almost adults that do wrong and have their parents step in saying "oh no, you have the wrong child. My child is an angel that can do no wrong." Its not healthy or helpful in the long run.

  3. Visiting from Mama Kat's and I'm a mommy blogger, so I had to click on "Advice that shaped my parenting style." :)

    I really like that quote. Have you read "Bringing Up Bebe?" Your style of parenting seems to follow the "cadre" (set of firm boundaries, but freedom within bounds).

    1. I haven't read it, but it sounds like something I should check out. Thanks!

  4. Cindy B (on rc/gt/fb) Advice that formed me is to remember I "get to be" their mom. I was chosen, it's a privilege is the sentiment. And it isn't supposed to be a chore but a joy.

  5. I totally agree! My sons are 10 & 11, now. But, I have always tried to foster their independence.

  6. Very well said. I at first was one of those moms cuddle the first. Holding hand every step. Cringing at him getting hurt. All it did was make me a stress ball. Second child then third. Now its i showed you now do it. Its hard at first but then again its new and we learn and they learn strive....

  7. I try to let them go a little too, but it can be really hard not to shelter them from all the things. I battle the desire to raise them in a safe bubble.

  8. Great post. I grew up with a helicopter mom and it definitely made me feel insecure and unsure of myself growing up. When I had my two son's, I was determined not to emulate my mother and observe them while they explored and discovered the world around them. They both turned out to be wonderful men and I'm happy that I made that choice.

  9. I am still working on letting go. I am getting better. I notice I am repeating some of my mom's strict ways and I am trying to change that.


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