“There is a strong chance that siblings who turn out well were hassled by the same parents.” (Robert Brault)
When my unexpected life hit, there were many uncertainties. Correction: almost everything was a question mark for me. The only thing I knew for certain, in fact, was that I was going to do what was best for my children. That has been my goal since I became a parent (for the first time, in April 1993), and thankfully, has remained my focus since March 18, 2009.
How you go about accomplishing that, however, is THE feat. In my opinion, there are a lot of contradictions. For example, not one solution is best for all of my children all of the time. So I have had to base my decisions on what is best for the majority. Sometimes I have to base them on individual need, who needs a certain solution the most.
Years ago, I attended a speech by an impressive parenting expert who advised that if you want to raise good children, give them plenty of doses of Vitamin “N”—no; plenty of “character building” experiences. Another child rearing specialist told me that as a parent you should say “yes” as much as you can, so that when you have to say “no” it will be more impactful to your children. See what I mean about contradictions?
I guess that’s life.
And true to life, my parenting, itself, has a lot of its own contradictions as well. For example, I’m a fan of humor and laughter. It lightens things up when they need it, it’s cleansing and it also makes things a lot more fun! At our house, we laugh a lot. And right or wrong, I even try to use humor in discipline. I try to correct my children, when I can, with a wink or a joke before things get too out of control and serious. As part of this weird parenting approach, there is also the “consequence” of dancing.
We love to dance at our house. Family dance parties are not unusual. And for some reason, whether we live in Colorado or Utah, they usually take place in the kitchen! One day I realized how much I enjoyed dancing with my kids and how much I hated having to be the “bad guy”/administrator of the consequences of wrong choices. I was struck with a brilliant thought. I decided to get a little creative (after all, I AM the mother of my children) and combined the two. At my house, if you make a wrong choice, watch out. You may have to dance a solo for your mother, and she gets to pick the song! That worked well for several years, but then I felt my kids started enjoying dancing too much. So I had to change tactics. The new rule? If my son messed up, his consequence was that he had to watch ME dance! (Coincidentally, that son has hardly ever needed correction! Brilliant mothering, if I do say so myself. One dance performance from his mother, and that is all it took to keep him on the straight and narrow: choose the right or be mentally scarred for life. No question my son was going to make good choices:)
He has grown into a fine young man.
With great rhythm.
And you should see his dance moves!