As a mom of a 4 year old and a 11 year old I sometimes wonder if I am doing this parenting thing right. I think that is a question we all wonder as parents at one point in time or another. I have been doing a lot of reading on parenting to make sure I provide the best childhood for my children. There are so many different paths, techniques, and choices to make.
Lets give you some background: My son lives with his father, which I would not trade for the world. Is there guilt there? Absolutely. I might not get to be there everyday living 3-7 hours away, but I know that where he is has to be the best for him. I see him as much as I can see him. With that being said, my daughter who is 4 lives with me. I have sole custody of her and try to make the best decisions for her. My fiancé works for the pipeline, so my daughter and I travel with him.
My thought processes on this is that she has a strong, consistent male role model in her life, we live similar to the military life, and she gets to see different areas that she might not have living in one area. There are a huge number of critics about this life and having a child on the road with us, but in the end…there really isn’t a book on this parenting thing.
The environment that I am creating for my children is an environment where they are able to come to me, no matter what is going on, and talk to me about it. I can remember being able to go to my mom about losing my virginity and I can remember talking to my dad about the drugs I use to do. Having that trust was paramount on being able to know who to come to and who to trust.
Creating that trust and honestly starts at a young age. The mind of a child is shaped by their surroundings until they are 7 years of age before they start to shape their own thoughts and feelings about what is going on around them. How to create an atmosphere of honesty and trust means not always doing what is thought to be done. Yelling, punishments, and corporal punishments aren’t always the answer.
Do I belive in spanking my daughter? Yes, when she deserves it. Do I believe in sending her to the corner or taking a toy away? Absolutely, consequences for actions need to happen. Do I yell too much? I certainly think so. I am human and get overly frustrated, reached my limit, or just plain crazy when kids do not listen.
There is a different way to go about all of this. Let your kids know that it is ok to tell you anything, regardless if it is bad or makes them uncomfortable. Those are natural feelings that kids need to experience and you, as a parent, need to nurture.
One of the biggest take away’s I have learned so far as a parent is: DO NOT SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF.
If you continuously yell, create a mountain out of a molehill, or always punish for every little thing then your child will wash it out as white noise and either chose not to listen to it, hide, lie, or sneak around so they do not have to hear the “white noise.”
Let’s be selfish for a moment, all this yelling and screaming, punishing, stressing, and everything that a parent does, what is it actually doing to you? It is creating more stress in your life, it is playing a role on your health and mental well being.
The fact of the matter is that when a child is being raised in a house where love, trust, honesty, and reasonable consequences are given we are raising a child that will understand how to talk to adults, respect, and not fear authority.
Do I wish there was a manual? No way. Life is too interesting, children are so priceless. They are sponges and they take everything to heart, so be compassionate, show love in more productive ways then yelling. Just because your parents did it doesn’t make it right, the world evolves and children think differently then when we were kids. So we need to adapt. We need to provide a better life then what we were given.