Sometimes we have to Throw Those “Parenting Theories” Out the Window
As a young woman and counselor, I had many theories on “raising kids,” prior to actually having my own children. One theory 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 to myself– “Maybe at home he gets whatever 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?