When we become parents, we are bombarded with advice from our mothers, our fathers, our aunts, books, magazine articles, and the latest in research on the do’s and don’t of raising small humans. It’s hard to know what is right and what is wrong, and God forbid we scar our brood for life with one misstep. We just want to know what is the best way to parent. Do we give them structure? Do we give them space? Do we listen with open ears, or do we instill values from generations past? Each day we hear something new. One day it’s okay to spank, another, we cause irreversible damage that will haunt us for life if we use the slightest of hand. So what is right? In all that we do, we as conscientious parents, try to do what is right for our children, and sadly, we subconsciously worry what will cause the least amount of guilt. Because you have to admit, they will guilt us! If they don’t, we’ll do it to ourselves. Their failures will become our parental mistakes.
In a book entitled, “Parenting with Love and Logic,” by Jim Fay and Foster Cline, we learn the value of set guidelines and consequence. Within its pages, we can see how a child as young as six can learn to manage money by literally choosing between amusement park rides and school lunch, but only after the fact. In other books, such as “To Train up a Child,” by Michael and Debi Pearl, parents are guided to use the rod as a means of discipline. Parenting, it seems, has become a kind of science. We are even divided into groups. Authoritarian parents adhere to strict rules and the children are rarely nurtured. Permissive parents give their children too much leeway. Authoritative parents find their place in the middle, with structure and nurture at its core -this is, as of now, considered the preferred parenting style.
Parents should know that there is no one-size-fits-all. What our parents did for us might not be right for our children. What other parents do for their kids most certainly shouldn’t be the approach we choose to use…unless, of course, it resonates with us. Parenting is not rocket science, but it should come with a bit of common sense. Rigid boundaries are rarely met with good consequence. Being aloof and uninvolved is never good. And beating your child into submission only creates nervous kids with low self-confidence.
What we should remember first and foremost is that we are here to raise our kids to be responsible and compassionate adults. This requires giving them the confidence they need to succeed, as well as the willingness to sometimes see things beyond black and white. Parenting runs into many gray area. We have to pick our battles, and we have to consider what lessons run beyond the ‘lesson’. What kids remember more is how we make them feel about themselves. But you don’t have to trust me or the experts. Some judgments we have to make for ourselves.
Parenting With Love and Logic