Monday, May 07, 2007

What is Your Parenting Style?

Before I became a mother, I have to admit that I was guilty of judging others in their parenting skills. Judging in the sense that their way was either right or wrong for me and if it were wrong, I would make a mental note to myself that I would never do that.

Everything changed once I became a mother and I realized that parenting is a day to day learning experience. That there isn't necessarily a set way to do things as children have this way to constantly throw little tests your way and it is up to you in how you deal with it. I would say that my parenting style is a strict one. My children have defined rules to follow such as remembering to say please and thank you when they would like something, to always respect their playmates and look out for their feelings. I expect my children to clean up after themselves when playing whether it be at home or at someone else's place and to listen to adults when an adult is speaking to them. I have friends that jokingly call me the Military Mom, but for me personally, it is important to me to teach my children what I value as important tools for life. I make it fun for them as they are young and I am lucky that I rarely have to raise my voice if they were to get out of hand. Not everyday is perfect, but I am confident enough that if I were to leave my children with someone, that they will be well behaved individuals.

There are repercussions in this household if a rule is broken. If my son would like something without saying please, then he will not get what he has asked for. If my son's behaviour starts getting out of hand (like aggressiveness or not listening) then he will receive a five count. If Mommy or Daddy get to five, then my son will lose a privilege such as watching a Diego show, or if he is really out of hand, then he will receive a spanking. Now spanking is not for all people, in fact many people do not believe in it, which is fine. But for me, I think that I have spanked my son, on his diaper butt at that, maybe two times in his life. It started out with time outs but there came a time when time outs were ineffective, so the swat on the butt was our next step. The lessons from those have been learned though; he knows that he has crossed the line of unacceptable behaviour. I very rarely ever threaten him with a spanking because just the threat of losing out on the ability to watch a Diego show is enough motivation for my son to behave.

I feel that it is my duty to also be very informed with my children's lives. When my son was in his day home, I felt it was so very important to know how he was during the day: Did he have a good day and if not, why? Was he just having an off day or was something bothering him. Every day after work, I would sit down with him and ask him how his day went. And now, with me being at home on maternity leave, at bedtime we lie in his bed and talk about the day. These are the times that I learn from him. I learn what his feelings are about certain things that happen throughout the day. It is also an opportunity to talk about a lesson learned if we happened to come across a hiccup in our day. I plan on doing this with both my son and daughter well into their teens. I feel that it is so very important to have communication with your children and even if they happen to be mad with you, that they still know that you can love them despite their feelings.

I think that the biggest part of my job as a parent though is to consistently shower my children with love. To hug them, to kiss them and to praise them often throughout the day. To encourage them to accomplish little challenges and to hold them for their little failures.

For me, this kind of parenting works. I know that my way is not for all and that it is not necessarily right. But the important thing is that it works for me and it is working for my family.


Adventures In Babywearing said...

I, too, judged other parents- even AFTER becoming a mom, but things change with each child and as your child gets older. I am glad to be on the other side now- the one that realizes that we've all got something that works for us, and we are all different. This is a good thing!


Peanut Butter and Jelly Boats said...

I used to judge (still do a bit I guess) parents all the time before children. Then once I had them I realized that I had no clue before I became a mom. I would say that our parenting styles are pretty similar. I'm a spanker too. Sometimes, with a little one (like 18 months and 2 yrs.) there is just no reasoning with them and a good swat on a diapered butt is just the thing to get their attention and let them know that you men business. Although I have to admit that the more children I have, the more relaxed I get. And, like you, the most important thing is to give them so much love and make sure they know that they are the most important things in the world to me.

Jenn said...

Your kids are lucky to have such a great mom. Communication is the key.