Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Parenting Philosophies

Parenting advice, the onslaught is never ending, everyone has some to share it seems. You can google or crowd source any parenting topic and you will get about 100 differing views. The reality is raising our kids is not easy, what works for one household doesn’t work for another. My parenting goal is raising my kids to be kind, compassionate, aware, healthy, strong individuals who leave the world a little better than they found it.

One of the perks of being a single parent home is that I set all the rules. What I say goes there is no disagreeing over tactics. The flipside is that there are times (don’t tell my kids) that I have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what to do or how to handle a situation. Times where I feel hopeless and without a single idea of what to do, moments I wish there was someone to at least nod to. Maybe that is just the reality of parenting, we are all just making it up as we go, like our parents did.

Here is a list of a few things, that we use in our home, my personal parenting philosophies. The culture of my home is kind, free and safe, so all that I do and institute aligns with those non-negotiables.

Fostering Imagination: when I moved out on my own, I chose to not get a tv. I once had a friend ask me, if you don’t have a tv what do your couches look at?” My quick response, “umm, EACH OTHER!” Our home is designed for talking (or sharing hearts, as I like to put it), we have four toys in our home that make any kind of noise. Our toys are completely silent, until they are picked up and held in chubby little hands, where they come alive. Wooden blocks, play food, legos, play doh and baby dolls are selected, where they are part of a picnic, a classroom, or they become a shark, a baby or a meal. The background silence has developed in my kids, some of the most beautiful and free imaginations, I have encountered. My kids are not completely deprived of television but we are thoughtful about when and what we watch, our home has pizza and movie nights with a projector and Saturday morning cartoons, watched as they huddle around a laptop screen. The nice thing about not having a tv is that the kids don’t ask to watch it, it is not in the background of our life, speaking things into our home that we are unaware of. When they do watch it, I have a moment or two to myself.

Better together:
as a family we eat dinner together just about every night, around our table. It’s our special time where we talk about our days, projects, field trips and where babies come from. We delight in eating together and often have other loved ones join our tables. In our dining room, hangs three signs that speak of the philosophy of our table, Jesus ate with everyone, GATHER, They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. Our family has been built at that table, we celebrate another chair filled and grieve when a chair is suddenly empty. Our first night together began at the table, over pizza and carrots, we started to fall in love. That table has been the centerpiece of deep discussion of politics, social justice, bravery and Jesus. A table where hearts are shared and bread is broken.

Happy, Crappy and Sappy:
Each night at the dinner table, we go around sharing about our day. We have to share, a Happy, Crappy, a fun game we learned from Dear Friends of ours. We recently added Sappy. Happy is something that happened that day that brought you laughter, joy or just plain made you happy. Crappy is something that happened that day that made you sad, mad, angry or frustrated. Sappy is someone who showed you love that day, we then talk about which of the 5 Love Languages that act falls under. Helping my kids understand what shows love and how they best receive love. I started doing this little game in a effort to help my traumatized children regain a grasp of emotions. This has quickly become one of my most favorite family traditions.

Redo/Try again: A grace motivated redirection tool ( I picked up from the book, The No Drama Discipline), how often do we say something we wish we could say again, upon realizing how it was received. After an action or word is spoken that doesn’t align with our family rules, I will utter a would you like to try that again? Most of the time, it is amazing to see how quickly my kids can say or do the thing they know they are supposed to do. Discipline exists that we may teach our kids the way they should go. This is an easy tool that helps my kids know that wasn’t okay and give them a chance to do better.

No negative talk: we don’t do negative self talk or put downs of anyone, EVER, in our house. My kids are all really kind to one another, rarely do we have an issue with someone saying something hurtful to another. I worked really hard to nip that in the bud early on in our life together, you also won’t hear me setting the tone of self disrespect, I love my body and celebrate it, our bodies are amazing resources to change the world. If you get caught saying something unkind about yourself, you have to give yourself 5 compliments, 4 have to be non-physical. If you get caught saying something unkind to another person you have say 10 compliments to that person, 8 which have to be non-physical. I am equipping them to be Kindness Warriors and that is a much harder thing to do in this culture.

Truth talk: if you ask a question, I will give the age appropriate, honest answer. We talk about real things in our home, we talk about body parts, sex, puberty, people that are different from us, things we hear at school, things we saw in our past. I have worked hard to create a culture of freedom in our home. Raising kids who have been traumatized means, we do a lot of extracting of information and packing in as much innocence or age appropriate knowledge we can.

Setting the benchmark: I heard this parenting advice a few years ago and it was the best advice I have ever received was that each time your child learns information on a new topic, they allow that information to set the benchmark for anything they receive on that topic. Meaning if you wait to tell your kids about a certain topic, like sex, until they (YOU) are ready. It is quite possible you are letting their peers set the benchmark and then everything you say about that topic, will be weighed against the first wave of information they received about it. I work hard to set the benchmark on as many topics as I can.

Power Poses (follow link for more information): we begin our days with these, they are fantastic. We stand strong and grounded, declaring just the kind of day we are going to have. We tell our days how they will unfold, instead of just letting it all happen, consuming us.

I work hard to ensure that our home is a come as you are kind of home. We will feed you, serve you and love on you. One of the best feelings is watching your kiddos do something kind for another soul. I love watching my crew, love the world around them.

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