August 10, 2012

A Single Girls Thoughts on Parenting

The walks and talks we have with our two-year-olds in red boots have a great deal to do with the values they will cherish as adults. ~Edith F. Hunter
Today's post is going somewhere I'm sure nobody expects me to blog about. Actually this is old. And by old I mean I jotted this stuff down over a year ago. I was sitting in child-psych when the professor starting explaining how we all have philosophies on practically everything without even being aware of it, which included a philosophy on parenting. We then were asked to take 20 minutes to write a rough sketch of what our parenting philosophy was. At first I thought it was a dumb exercise. After all, I don't have kids, and I can't foresee having any of my own within the next couple of years. I mean aren't you supposed to have kids first before you have a philosophy of parenting... wouldn't my spouse play a role in that too? At the end of that semester though, I realized it was the only useful take-away she gave us. I was reminded about it when my friend Claire from elementary school came over to drink coffee and chat. I don't know how we got on the topic of parenting, but at one point she blurted out that she was sick of college, and all she really wanted to do was get married, have a couple of kids, and quilt (odd). Something I thought I'd never hear coming from her, since as far back as I can remember she never wanted to have kids. And because I'm battling blogger block today (the coffee isn't helping), reading this book this week, I'm rolling this out, even though I know it's a little weird. Me being single and all. Hey, if you're single or don't have kids yet, feel free to share a little of your philosophy in the comments... that way I don't feel like the only one...

Kids Need Training and Boundaries. I'm not one of those people who thinks parents are supposed to be their kid's best friend. Yeah, that may sound harsh, but it doesn't take a genius to figure out that that style of parenting comes with too many traps. Kid's need their mom and dad to be parents. That's way different... and better in the long run.

Parents Should be Fun! Parents who are constant wardens need to repent and be fun. Seriously. Get on the floor and play! Go outside and get dirty! Be spontaneous! Be creative! And be corny! Little kids like corny stuff. Get over your embarssment and adult-ness and jump in! They're only little for a short amount of time... don't miss it.

Quality Time is Created in Large Quantities of Time. It's total myth for parents to buy into the idea that they just need quality time not quantity. Quality time is birthed from quantity, not the reverse. I don't call up a friend and say, "Hey, let's go have some quality time. I've got a half hour." Now maybe we will have meaningful conversations or do something exciting... or maybe not. My point is no one really knows when the quality time is going to occur, which is why any great, strong relationships of any kind require people to pour or invest in one another. Even more so for the parent-child relationship. When schedules and planners dictate our relationships, then I think everybody looses. Children loose thriving relationships with their mom and dad, who eventually are going to wake up one day and realize they lost out at well.

Kids Need Routine. My mom was pretty awesome with this. She wasn't all that strict/uptight or boring about it either which I think a lot of people can equate with the word 'routine.' But she did have a plan for everyday, and kept in mind that as a mom she had to be flexible at the same time. When I look back on my childhood my mom always had a routine in place with each season my sister and I were in, especially when we were really little. And I think we thrived in that. In fact I think kids thrive way more within a routine, than chaos.

Kids Are Over-Stimulated. I'm sure some will disagree with me here, but I think kids are overstimulated now with technology, after school activities and events, play dates, loaded up with sugar and unhealthy foods... I just feel like it's too much. Kids spend so much time going, going, going! That's not right. They'll get their fair share of going, going, going when they grow up. Kids should be spending their days laughing and playing with one another and rolling around in the dirt. (Yes, dirt has good purposes and I'm a huge supporter of mud-pie making days.) I'm not anti-after school clubs or sports teams... but I think there needs to be a limit on it all. Kids need free time. It may sound like that's anti-schedule, but it's not. Free time can exist within a schedule. Kids need to be kids.
Because children grow up, we think a child's purpose is to grow up. But a child's purpose is to be a child. Nature doesn't disdain what lives only for a day. It pours the whole of itself into each moment. ~Tom Stoppard
The Reward Far Outweighs The Sacrifice. Parenting involves sacrifices and is probably one of the hardest things to do, but the rewards and blessings far outweighs all of that.

Most of All Kids Need an Exceeding Amount of Grace and Love. It's my understanding that when I'm a parent, my ultimate job will be to point my kids to Christ and His marvelous love every day... To reflect His grace at every opportunity... To proclaim His wonder to them... To cultivate and make room for their faith in Jesus to grow as much as possible can during the short amount of time I will have with them... To daily pray that they find He is worthy of it all... That they'd own their own faith, not mine or their dad's... And to be all that God will call them to be.

6 comments :

  1. Interesting way to put things! I agree with you that children need to be kids and not "Adults" [insert 3rd grader with a cellphone here] but I also think that parenting has a lot to do with the way we adapt to culture and how we were raised. I want my kids to have enough exposure to all different kinds of things: music, art, sports. I'm not going to force them to it but the sooner they learn discipline in what they pursue the better it will be as they grow. However, I don't want my kids to watch TV lol :/

    another thing too, you change parenting styles a lot as they continue through the years. As long as we have a strong foundation (mom & dad agreeing on how to raise... most of the time anyways) & a lot of prayer to get through the tough times, kids will be well-rounded.

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  2. I agree with you about not trying to be your child's best friend. My mom is my best friend now as I grow older, but she has always been a mom/parent first.

    Also, my parents always spent lots of time with me despite how busy they were. Children need quality and quantity...so glad you mentioned that! I think each of these philosophies apply to being a teacher as well.

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  3. I love this post! I've done a lot of babysitting and swim teaching since high school and I've definitely observed a lot of the things you've pointed out in this post. It's encouraging to know you're thinking ahead even if it's not for a few years :) Child psych sounds like a fun class!

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  4. I really like your philosophy Natalie, especially your last point!

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  5. yes, kids are sooo overstimulated! this is something i resent about american culture. but so many parents are overstimulated too, that it spills over into their kids lives. these are all so good...youll be a great mom someday :)

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  6. i have to say that i agree with pretty much everything you've said here. and i'm single and childless, so hopefully this is helping you feel less weird about it ;)

    honestly, i think it's a good thing to have a rough idea of how you'd like to raise your future spawn, but the nitty gritty can be sorted out with your future spouse. at least that's how i see it.

    but also, i don't want kids of my own. it's funny, i was just going to write a post about future kids/parenting stuffs when i clicked over here. thanks for sharing :)

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