Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Parenting 101: Intro

Doug and I took some parenting classes decades ago (feels like!) and I think we really learned a lot. OK. I know we learned a lot. I’ll be honest: I was a ding-dong mom for at least the first year of Sarah’s life.

I was, in fact, such a ding-dong that I remember talking to Aunt Nancy on the phone one evening when Sarah was almost two and Caleb was bouncing away in his bouncy seat. During the course of our conversation, I bemoaned the fact that I couldn’t have the table set nicely for Doug when he came home from work. She asked me why not, and I told her it was because every time I got the table set for dinner, Sarah climbed up on the table and destroyed everything. She would pull the table cloth down, knock over candles (unlit, of course. I wasn’t that much of a ding-dong.) throw dishes on the floor and whatever else she could find to make me want to yank out my hair (or hers).

Nancy said something at that moment that I’ll never forget: “Tell her, ‘No.’”

It was like a lightning bolt from a clear blue sky.

Sometimes we just need a place to start. For me, the beginning of victory in my Mom-Journey was when I realized that I was indeed the Mom and my kids were, by definition, the kids. That meant that I out-ranked and out-voted them, even when there were 6 of them and only one of me. My battle cry became, “Let’s take a vote. Mom counts 10.” I still say that.

So here I am, 15+ years later and the student has become the teacher…sort of. We started parenting classes in Boca a year ago and had a really great time. We certainly learned a lot! We struggled a bit with the Spanish – lots of words we didn’t know! Now we’re starting our 3rd series and are really excited!

I’m so excited that I decided to make weekly blog posts about the classes and share the “theme” of the week – starting this week. I’ll call it “Parenting 101” and I hope that you’ll check back every week to see what I’m learning, er, I mean teaching.

Seriously, even in the introduction to the book we’re using I was reminded of important truths – things I hadn’t thought of in ages, and it did me good to be reminded of them. Here’s a “sneak-peak”.

Two points to consider:
1. We can’t teach our kids something that we ourselves don’t know or don’t put into practice. If we want our kids to be godly, respectful, honest, dependable, trustworthy, etc., we can’t just tell them to do it, we need to model that behavior for them.
2. Our childhood experiences affect our parenting. Duh. Yeah, I knew that, too. But here’s something you may not have known:
• If your parents were of the “my way or the highway” mindset, you will tend to be a more permissive parent.
• If your parents were very laid-back, wishy-washy or just plain negligent, you’ll tend to be more strict.

Yes, that’s a generalization. But we tend to swing to the opposite extreme of our parents. The goal is to be at neither extreme, neither permissive nor authoritarian, but to work toward balance and consistency.

Well, that was the intro. Whadaya think? Each class is over an hour of lecture with discussion questions and such, so this is a very, very small nutshell, but I don’t feel like typing four pages and you probably don’t feel like reading them! I pray that these sum-ups become an encouragement to you and maybe even a challenge to reevaluate your parenting strategies to see if you can improve in certain areas.

Do you have an “Aunt Nancy” in your life? Someone who has said what needed to be said or just stood alongside you when you needed her to? Why not send her a note telling her thanks!!!

1 comment:

Musings of a Work At Home Missionary Mom said...

Awesome, awesome, awesome. I hope you post more of these tips!!!