My son is quietly standing by my side deep in thought about something. My daughter stands not too far away reading a gossip rag. This is their usual behavior at checkout. A stranger approaches us to compliment the children because they are so well behaved. The stranger asks me what my trick is.
When asked to describe my parenting style I really can’t in fact that question kind of makes me feel like a fraud because I really don’t have a style. I’m not sure how I get my children to behave so well. I mean, aren’t they supposed to be well behaved?
I will be the 1st to admit that when I started this parenting gig I was ill prepared. I knew the basics just from being the oldest out of 8, but to actually parent my own kid? That was a different ball game all together.
My partner and I were 20 and 21 when The Girl came along. We did the responsible things like proper prenatal care, signing up for health insurance, and buying loads of baby stuff but there was no one around to guide us or even show us how to do it.
I became that mom that refers to the baby books for everything. I read the books. He played video games and pretended to listen to me while I read the baby books. I would make sure we left the house with the stroller and fully stocked diaper bag. He left the house with diapers, wipes, and bottle in his backpack baby on hip and basketball under the other arm. I stressed about milestones and nutrition. He gave her his extra Play Station controller and fed her pizza crusts and suckers. The only thing that we had in common when it came to parenting is that we never sugar coated or edited anything around our child.
Looking back, I wish I would have taken my parenting cues from him. He never touched the books or stressed himself out but he still got the job done.
The Boy came into my life under different circumstances. There was no we. I was his only parent. My son got the benefit of a slightly older more experienced parent. I was a little more confident then I had been two years prior and this time around I had my parents around to help guide me. Even though I had to approach his upbringing differently I had figured out what type of people I wanted both of my kids to be.
I wanted them to have a voice. I encouraged them to be outspoken yet appropriate. I stress respect not only for other people but self-respect as well. I taught my kids to be kind, be loyal, and to have a sense of humor. Both children know that education is the most important thing they can get.
I’m not big on spankings because the cycle of abuse in my family is too real. I try not to yell. I also refuse to nag because not listening the first or second time I say something goes against that whole respect thing.
My children are far from perfect. I have had to spank them and they have logged several hours on punishment, in time out, and writing sentences, sometimes within the same day. Both of my children can be moody and stubborn and there have been times that I could not believe how horrible they were being.
I am not the greatest parent in the world. I question myself all of the time but when I look at my children I feel like I’m doing something right. I don’t have a magic trick or secret formula but I do know that whatever I’m doing works for us.