Throwing Out the Window My “Parenting Theories”

As a young woman and counselor, I had many theories on “raising kids,” prior to having them.  One of them was if I saw a kid whining at the grocery store and having a tantrum because he didn’t get what he wanted I would think (insert smart alecky voice) ”Maybe at home he gets what ever he wants and that is why he is having a tantrum right now. That is why it’s important to set boundaries at home and have consequences for tantrums and whining.”

Some of these theories came from mere observation, some were experiences from working with inner city kids and most were straight out of books.   Little did I know what I had coming my way.   After 8 years of marriage, we have a house full of boys!  Three strong and courageous little men that constantly remind me, how little I know about parenting even after reading all those amazing books on “Child Rearing” and teach classes on parenting.

My first born didn’t really challenge any of my theories, he was straight out of the text kind of kid, “if you do this…. your child will do this….”  And the expert advice worked, exactly as I read it in the books.  A dream come true for a first time mommy. He was very much a happy little toddler ready to please those around him.  And he still lights up the room when he smiles with that twinkle in his eyes, it brings joy to all.  He has challenged us in a different way though, he has a lot of anxiety and we are learning and he is learning healthy coping strategies.  It has been quite the journey.  He used to chew up the collar on his shirts til they literally were all stretched out and it looked like I sent him to school with a “check out my chest hair” shirt.

My second born, Aiden his name means feisty and passionate.  Needless to say, he has been a totally different story than our first born.  He is a lover and our little feisty fighter.  He knows exactly what he wants, he stands up for himself and he speaks his little heart when he is hurt.  He is only 4.  He hugs us fiercely and loves us passionately.  He has challenged all of our discipline, obedience, consequence theories from the very start.  As a toddler, I remember one night when we were saying our prayers it was his turn and he said “No pray.”  So we asked him to just try to and he didn’t hesitate and he began his prayer ”Jesus, I no pray. Tank you fer, mommy and daddy. I no pray……”  Oh my, I laughed so hard.

Our third born, well he is only 15 months so we are still discovering his little personality.  He fills my day with sunshine, kisses and stinky diapers. He is a content and happy baby for the most part.  He is quite expressive see for yourself in the picture above.  This was all in a matter of 5 minutes while I was feeding him dinner. Yes, just in case you are wondering, that is food hanging off his lip in the second row picture.  He definitely keeps us laughing.

As you find yourself overwhelmed because your theories and practices aren’t working seek Him for wisdom and remember as parents we are students.  Each child is uniquely and wonderfully made!  Their little personalities sometimes require tailored consequences and practices.  My potty training worked amazing with one of our boys but it was a disaster for our other son.  I am realizing that I really need to become a student of my children, constantly learning and figuring out how to raise them.  Also, that I need to spend a lot of time in prayer, on my knees praying for each of them and for us as we raise them.  Thankfully, as they grow their moods become slightly more stable, unlike our little guy. But sometimes it’s just a bad day or hour and no matter how many different ways you try to get your kid to eat their brocolli it’s not going to happen, so try again at another time.  Yes, I am all about standing firm on your rules but sometimes we need to pick our battles.

These little men, are my sunshine and I can’t imagine my life without each of their little personalities.  My conclusion from all this rambling is that I actually need to”throw out the window” my ideas on how I would apply these theories on raising my kids and not so much the theory itself (for the most part).  Though there are definitely many child rearing theories out there that you do need to throw out the window.  If you are still holding on to some of that bad advise just be rid yourself of it, even if you desperately spent countless hours after dark reading, that Compliant Baby in 5 Days book.  Trying to glean some insight on how to get your baby to sleep through the night but it’s not working with your child.

What are some interesting (crazy) parenting theories you have heard and have chosen to ignore or learned later that you should have ignored that advice?

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16 Responses to “Throwing Out the Window My “Parenting Theories””

  1. February 29, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

    You are so right that we are a student of our children. I’ve been saying all along since becoming a mother that I think I learn more form my kids than they learn from me. Great post!

  2. March 1, 2012 at 8:58 am #

    My husband and I were just laughing last night about how our view of parenting has changed since we actually became parents.

    I’ve had to ignore a lot of advice on dealing with picky eaters. Since tailoring the way we handle it to my child’s personality rather than others’ opinions, we’ve come a long way!

    I couldn’t agree more with what you said. Each child is unique and cannot be defined by a textbook or theory.

  3. March 1, 2012 at 4:22 pm #

    My children are twins…a boy and a girl…but they could not be more different personality wise. They are happy and thriving young adults now, and the most important thing I ever learned was to treat them as the individuals that they are :)

  4. March 2, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

    Awesome post – sums up so much of my daily life. Each of my kids respond differently to different types of discipline. There are those that time-out works, others for whom rewards work, others for whom praise works, etc. Sometimes in the heat of the moment, I cannot for the life of me remember what works for which child – it is a never ending puzzle, I think.
    I read the 5 love languages (for relationships) book last winter, and it was a huge eye opener for me. Even though it was not tailored to parenting, I could see certain language needs in each of my kids, especially the older ones.

  5. March 4, 2012 at 10:27 am #

    Got kids? Need help? Visit http://www.peacefulparenting.com and learn practical advice on how to read the instruction manual your child was born with. Who is the best teacher for you? Your child! I’ll help you learn to speak the language your child is speakind. I can help you get what you want by learning what they need.
    Dr. Nancy Buck, PhD Mother of twin sons, and developmental psychologist, expert in children’s motivation and behavior as well as parenting coach.

  6. March 4, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

    Yep. Life doesn’t go the way we think it will. No matter how we “prepare” and pour ourselves into what we perceive is coming down our path on a regular basis, there will always be pot holes and bumps. Even at my age… oh, mid-60s … I still am surprised when something changes in a way I hadn’t anticipated. Trusting the Lord is the only way… the ONLY way … to make it through the World.

  7. March 4, 2012 at 11:43 pm #

    I have 6 grown children and no theories.

  8. March 5, 2012 at 1:30 am #

    My children are grown, and they will all tell you that I was mean and a terrible mother, but they all love me! i will be posting my memories on Potty Training on Tuesday. I was good at it and used hints from my mother. Loved your little guys all so different! We are all no two alike.

  9. March 5, 2012 at 11:19 am #

    So true! Kid’s never read the books!

  10. Morgan
    March 6, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

    Shiloh said it best. I have had to ignore the idea of time-outs and gotten more than one dirty look for not making my kids finish the food on their plates. (Though that’s a book I like, about feeding kids, Child of Mine by Ellen Sattyr). Oldest is only 3 and I pretty much always feel at a loss still!

  11. March 7, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    So true! Each child is so different and have to be treated differently as well. Thanks so much for sharing on Mom On Timeout!

  12. March 10, 2012 at 5:24 am #

    I love your article…it’s true…that you can get ideas from reading articles but parenting and raising kids is different with each child…I learned so much from each of my kids. Thank you so much for linking up at Sunday Blog Love, this is one of my top five picks..I hope you can stop by this weekend and link up again! Take care!

  13. August 3, 2012 at 9:34 am #

    What a lovely article! So true that each child is different and has different needs.

  14. August 3, 2012 at 11:05 am #

    I agree my children teach me so much every day.

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    [...] door naked or make him a homemade dessert at least three times a week.  Kind of like I had tons of theories and advice for parents before I had children, that were so lofty and grand but unrealistic.  But I must say going on 10 [...]

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