Monday, January 31, 2011

Who Takes Care of Mommy?


Have you ever asked yourself this question? You take care of everyone else- you fill sippy cups, make lunches, take the dry cleaning, clean the toilets, and gosh knows what else, but who takes care of you? In fact, I read a recent blog entry that tackles just this topic. It’s called role conflict and it’s something that many moms face- trying to balance being a mom with being a wife with being a woman- it just sounds exhausting, doesn’t it?!

I don't want to forget my stay at home dads. The pull to take care of kids, clean house, maintain your role as a man, the husband, the dad, AND make it in a world other stay at home parents who are mostly female is by no means less stressful. 

So what can you do? It’s a tough situation. Things still have to get done. You still have to be the mom/dad. The wife/husband. The woman/man. Well, for starters, take a deep breath. Try to find some time to focus on you, even if it’s just five or ten minutes. The dry cleaning can be a day late and you can live with dirty toilets for a few days. You can also try a few tips offered by the American Psychological Association Help Center for managing stress.

Later this week, I’ll be attending a free forum on just this topic. It’s being put on by the University of Texas at Dallas Center for Children and Families- they’re bringing in Dr. Suniya Luthar, a well-known researcher on this topic. If you live in DFW, I’d encourage you to attend! It’s free, you get lunch (for free!), and you’ll learn a lot. I’ll be sure to update you all next week on what I learned J

Who takes care of you?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Transitioning from Mom and Dad’s Bed: A Drama

Okay, so you coslept with your sweet angel when he was a wee babe, but now he’s a kicker. Or a cover stealer. Or a- dare we say it- snorer. I kid, but whatever the reason, you’re ready for him to be in his own bed. BUT- you dread the transition and you know it will be filled with drama. Here are a few tips for preparing your little one (and you) for the big move.

1. Pack your patience- because this may well be a long move. Once kids are in a routine, it’s tough to get them out of it. So mentally prepare yourself for this and know that it won’t be a few nights, a week, or even a month before she’s sweetly sleeping independently.

2. Introduce the IDEA first- and leave it at that. Introducing the idea of such a big change AND expecting your child to be 1.Totally okay with it, 2.Hop on board, and 3.Sleep peacefully in bed alone the first night is somewhat (okay completely) unrealistic. Try just mildly suggesting the idea of sleeping in his own bed. Try something like:

“I was thinking about whether you’d ever want to sleep in the bed in your room and I sleep in the bed in my room. Maybe you can think about it, too.”

3. Try a slow transition- If your child is sleeping in your bed, try transitioning to a bed or cot next to your bed for a while before making the big move to your child’s own room.

4. Enact a bedtime routine- My favorite is 1.Bath 2.Book 3.Bed. Help your child snuggle into her own bed with a few favorite books so that she gets comfortable in the bed. Do this every night so that your child knows she can expect it and looks forward to it.

5. If your child is adamantly against the whole process- to the point of meltdowns, screaming, bedtime tantrums, just stop. Just like with many other things (potty training, for example) in my opinion it’s best to wait until children are ready.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Parent of the Week: Tracy

Okay, you guys are just going to love this. This week's Parent of the week is Tracy. She is the mom of four (love it!) and was nominated by her husband (LOVE IT!). She blogs over at My Crazy 4 and she's just all around awesome. Enjoy!

As always, if you'd like to be a Parent of the Week or would like to nominate someone, email me at deluna.jamie@gmail.comI look forward to hearing from you!


Tell me a little about you- Who are you? What do you do? Hobbies? Do you dance in the car?
My name is Tracy and I live in West Georgia and I have been married for almost 11 years to my wonderful husband Scott. We have 4 awesome children. I am a breastfeeding, baby wearing, cloth diapering organic loving, home schooling mom. I home school my two older boys in the K-12 program. My biggest accomplishment so far is teaching the boys how to read. I love to blog even though it is hard to find the time to do it as often as I like. I am an avid coupon clipper and I take every chance I can to save some money. And no, I do not dance in the van, but I do sing Barney and Imagination Movers songs.

Tell me about your children.
I have three boys and a girl. My son Carson is seven and he is so much like his daddy. He’s very sweet , sensitive and caring. He loves to read, draw and play legos. Cain is five and he is alot like me. He’s our strong willed, knows what he wants, and never backs down kind of boy. He loves the computer and is very smart. Carly, my daughter is four and she is my little princess who does a great job of keeping up with her brothers. She loves to learn, do everything herself and help out around the house. Camlin is 19 months and he is the climber of the family. He loves to take naps while in the Ergo back carrier. He is still nursing, and definitely a momma’s boy. They were all born on a Wednesday, and their birthdays are every 3 months-March~ June~ September~ December (3-6-9-12). I’m a big planner.

What surprised you most about parenting?
When I first got married I did not want children at all. I know crazy, huh? I think what has surprised me the most about parenting is how much the kids would teach me about things. I think we learn from our children as much as they learn from us. Even though sometimes it takes us awhile to figure that out. I also had no idea that I would become such a passionate parent about things such as breastfeeding, attachment parenting, baby wearing, non vaccinating and eating organically. I do wish I would have started cloth diapering sooner.

How have you had to be Avant Garde as a parent?
Well with four children that are so different from one another I have had to learn to use different parenting styles. We are not all the same and neither are our children. I have come to find out that I can use examples from different books I have read and implemented the styles and mesh them together. My favorite is  “Love and Logic”. Everyday is not going to be the same. Each day brings a new challenge and I am learning to adapt to that and take it as it comes. The main thing is that I will love my children and try to show them that mistakes will be made and it is ok. Move on. Have fun and enjoy every minute of them because they grow up fast.

Thank you Jamie for allowing me to be Parent of the Week! And to my wonderful husband who thinks I should always be Parent of the Week. Love you honey. 


Tracy and Past Parents of the Week: Feel free to grab the Parent of the Week Badge:


Monday, January 24, 2011

To Cosleep or Not- That is the Question

Cosleeping. It’s a topic that’s gained more and more attention in the last few years, and one that tends to split parents into opposing opinion camps. While some parents cannot imagine the thought of sharing their marital bed with their little ones, other couples can’t fathom turning their children away from the nighttime comfort of mom and dad’s snuggles. Here’s a brief primer along with a few commonly asked questions about cosleeping. It’s meant to be an informative snapshot about the topic and I hope you find it helpful.

What exactly is cosleeping?
One myth about cosleeping is that it is exclusively parent and child sharing a bed. However, bedsharing is only one type of cosleeping. In fact, cosleeping, a tenant of attachment parenting, refers to the practice of parents and children sleeping in close proximity to one another. There are many ways for parents and children can cosleep:
  • Infant Cosleepers- Special bassinets that attach to the side of your bed. They allow your baby to be in close reach while keeping your infant on a firm, safe surface separate from your bed.
  • Bedsharing- Children and parents share the same bed. Most medical experts do not recommend this way of cosleeping for infants because of the risk of soft mattresses, blankets, parents rolling over on the baby, etc.
  • Room sharing- Keeping your child’s bed or bassinet in the same room as yours without explicitly sleeping in the same bed.

Is cosleeping safe to do with my infant?
The answer appears to be yes, when practiced safely. For parents of infants, medical experts recommend sleeping on a separate surface from your baby, whether in a co-sleeper that attaches adjacently to your bed or the baby sleeping in a bassinet in the same room.

Neither the American Academy of Pediatrics nor the US Consumer Product Safety Commission endorse direct bedsharing with infants. However, many parents still choose to have their baby sleep in the same bed with them. Dr. Sears provides a guide to safe bedsharing if this is your choice.

What about bedsharing with my older child?
Safe? Absolutely! Always make sure your child's head is not covered with blankets and that your child is not too warm or too cold. 

Cosleeping and children’s independence
Some child experts argue that cosleeping past the age of two can hinder a child’s independence. In the one study I have seen that examined these issues, the results were quite interesting and the interpretation really depends on how you yourself define ‘independence.’ Children who did not cosleep were more independent in that they were able to fall asleep alone and could return to sleep without parental soothing. But, interestingly, mothers who coslept with their preschoolers from the time they were infants reported that their children were slightly more self-reliant than did mothers of solitary sleeping children or reactive cosleeping children (children who started off the night in their own beds and end up in mom and/or dad’s bed). What does self-reliance mean? Things like dressing yourself, working out playmate problems on your own, etc.
Why? The authors found that parents of cosleeping children consistently encouraged these skills in their children and speculate that these parents allow their children to participate in decisions about where to sleep, which may foster their self-reliance skills.

Does this mean that if you don’t cosleep with your child he or she won’t be self-reliant? NO. All parents foster independence and self-reliance in their children in different ways and through different means. Cosleeping is just one way. All I’m trying to illustrate is that different things work for different families.

So how do I decide whether to cosleep or not?
This is one of those (many) parenting issues where there’s really not a right answer. You have to feel out what’s right for your family. The fact that you’re even reading this article and informing yourself on cosleeping speaks volumes about you as a parent- you’re concerned, conscientious, and going to make the best decision for you and your child. Feel it out as you go- anchor and adjust along the way. I’m confident in your abilities and you should be, too!

Reference: Keller, M. A. & Goldberg, W. A. (2004). Co-sleeping: Help or hindrance for young children's independence? Infant and child development, 13, 369-388.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cheap Fun: Get Crafty

Crafts. They're often done at preschool, but have you ever considered how many of the materials you have around the house that have the potential for awesome, creative crafts for your kiddos?! Here are just a few ideas:

1. Make a Shoebox diorama – grab a shoebox, turn it sideways and go to town! You could make a diorama of the solar system with yarn and paper or your very own zoo with play doh!

2. What can you build out of the things in your bathroom cabinet: q-tips, cotton balls, and toilet paper rolls? Probably some rockin’ dolls with crazy hair. Maybe they have ouchies. Add a band-aid or two for effect.

3. Do your kids love stickers? Probably, but they can get kind of expensive, especially if you go for the fancy schmancy kind. Do you have old garage sale stickers lying around? You know, the colored dot ones? If so, use pens and pencils to draw letters and numbers on them!

4. Let your child snap some photos with your digital camera (or film camera if you have one!). Your child will have a ball and you will love seeing the world captured from the perspective of your little one. Print out your kiddo’s favorites and make a collage or photo album.

What are your favorite crafts to make with your kids?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Parent of the Week: Kathleen

I'm thrilled to introduce this week's Parent of the Week, Kathleen. She's a fantastic mom of four (four!) who's written a great, relatable piece on reading to her children. Read it, then go check out her blog!

As always, if you'd like to be a Parent of the Week or would like to nominate someone, email me at deluna.jamie@gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from you!


My name is Kathleen. I have been married to Kip for 17 years. I am mother and teacher to our four children. I entered the world of mothering 12 1/2 years ago. After waiting four years to have a child, we had three in quick succession. After the first was born, we had another fourteen months later. Twenty-two months after that, we had our third baby. This was the day before the oldest turned three. (Yes that means that we had three children aged three and under.)

My life was a preschool world for a long time but now I have a twelve year old son, an eleven year old daughter, a nine year old daughter, and a five year old boy. The fall of 2011 will mark the time when I will no longer have any preschoolers. Sigh.

When Jamie offered to have me guest post, I thought about those days when I was immersed in parenting preschoolers. My favorite time of the day was -- and still is -- reading aloud to my children.

But really, it wasn't always that way. A really good tip came my way and erased the silent groan that came into my heart when my child would say, "Mommy will you read this book to me again?" I hated that groan in my heart. I wanted to read to my child. I thought the problem was how many times I had read that particular book but I soon discovered differently.

A wise woman told me to: Only read a book to your child that you loved to read. Even if it was a child's picture book. What a novel concept!

It did not take much to convince me. I heard it and took action. I went home and cleared our bookshelves of the mediocre books. I gave away all of the ones that made me groan inwardly when they asked me to read to them.

There were few books left.

I read Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown a. lot. I had discovered that it wasn't having a variety of books to read but rather having high quality literature to read that made the no-I-don't-want-to-read-this-book-to-you-but-will-anyway groan go away. I am so thankful that someone gave me that nugget of advice early in my parenting adventure.

The quest for high quality children's literature began then and still continues. I checked out from the library Jim Trelease's Read Aloud Handbook. Soon I bought the book. Not only does he inspire one to read aloud to your children, he includes an extensive reading list. Other books that have reading lists are Honey for a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt and Books Children Love by Elizabeth Wilson.

I love searching for good books for us to read together. My life has been enriched by the many books I have found. I treasure all of the cozy on the couch reading times we have had and hopefully we continue to have for a long time.


Kathleen and Past Parents of the Week: Feel free to grab the Parent of the Week Badge:


Monday, January 17, 2011

Book Sharing with Your Little One

This one goes out to all the babies. All the babies who can’t read yet, which is, well, all of them. But there are plenty of things you parents can do with your little ones to get them familiar with books (and no, none of the things are the My Baby Can Read program. Or any other types of flash cards or ‘as seen on TV’ methods of teaching your infant to read, just in case you were wondering).

When is too early to start reading to my child?
Never! Incorporating books into your bedtime routine is a great way to introduce even the youngest bookworms to literacy and book sharing. You may find that a short, rhyming book will have a soothing tone for young babies, especially before bedtime.

What types of books should I be reading to my baby?
All kinds! Different types of books teach different things. Obviously, though, to babies, you wouldn’t read autobiographies or encyclopedias. Stick with picture books, rhyming books, board books, bathtub books (the plastic kind that are waterproof), and touch-and-feel books that stimulate a baby’s senses.

Don’t just read- explain.
Most babies’ books have very few words, so moms and dads- get creative! Tell your baby more about what’s going on in the book. ‘That’s rice cereal like you had this morning.’ ‘That’s a baby! That’s a puppy! Do you like puppies?’ Doing so will engage your baby with the pictures and your voice, allowing her to process the whole experience.

Don’t just read- point.
When you are explaining what’s going on in the story, try to do two things:
1.    Follow the text with your finger as you are reading. This lets your child know that text goes from left to right and has meaning, or is telling us what the story is about.
2.    Point to the objects you are talking about. This allows your child to make connections between what you are saying and what he’s seeing.

Don’t just read- ask.
Even if your child is too young to answer, asking questions about what is in the book teaches valuable lessons- that your child will likely encounter once she’s in school. Ask your very young baby simple questions like ‘Where’s the chicken?’ Ask your older child tougher questions like ‘What do you think will happen next?’ or ‘Why do you think she decided to do that?’ If your child has trouble answering, use clues in the book to help her.

Should I be trying to teach my baby to read?
Nope. With babies, concentrate on meaning, not teaching reading or the alphabet, says Dr. Anne van Kleeck of the University of Texas at Dallas Center for Children and Families. Did you know that no study shows that children who learn to read before the age of five have any long term advantages? So relax and enjoy reading time with your child!

My child is not interested in books. Help!
I recently shared a guest post on just this topic! The blog is called Mad for Reading. It’s a great blog with lots of tips and ideas for reading with children.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Parenting Quick Challenge: Finding Ways To Say Yes to Your Child

Do you feel like you constantly say 'no' to your preschooler?

"No, you can't play with that right now, we have to go to school."

"No, you have to finish your dinner. I know you'll be hungry later if you don't."

Sometimes it's not even your fault:

"No, you can't play outside because it's raining."

Bummer. How negative. And don't you always feel like the bad guy? Then find a way to turn each 'no' into a 'yes'! 

  • We have to go to school, but you can absolutely take that toy in the car
  • I'm happy to let you play for three more minutes before you sit down to eat!
  • Well, it's raining outside, but you can play in the garage with the door open 

Here's my challenge to you: Find a way to say 'yes' to your child every day. Your child will feel empowered and so will you.

How did you say 'yes' to your child today?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Parent of the Week: Domestic Goddess Mommy

I am so happy to introduce to you Domestic Goddess Mommy. Doesn’t that just sound fancy with a side of glorious?! I love it. It’s far more than I could ever aspire to. And, let me tell you, she is all of that and MORE. Read on as DG Mommy describes how she goes above and beyond just being ‘mommy’- she’s a teacher and a mentor to her children. Then go visit her blog!

As always, if you'd like to be a Parent of the Week or would like to nominate someone, email me at deluna.jamie@gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from you!


Tell me a little about you- Who are you? What do you do?
Hobbies? Do you dance in the car?
I am a woman, wife and mother; the order of those three terms depends on the moment. I write children's stories and songs. I'm not famous yet, but hope to be someday! I am an avid reader, bread baker and homemaker. I do dance in the car and anywhere else I get the chance!

Tell me a little about your children.
With my husband of ten years, I have three beautiful children. Two girls, ages 5 and 4 and my 14-month-old charmer of a son.  

What surprised you most about parenting?
Me. The changes I've seen in myself have surprised me the most. The level of patience required to be a good parent is beyond anything I could have ever imagined and I'm quite surprised that I don't always achieve it! I was formerly a very patient person.
What one tip would you give other parents or parents-to-be?
One important tip is to remember your job and your goal as a parent and not the moment. That means that because I want my children to be strong, independent adults, I need to encourage the behavior they present that demonstrates those characteristics and not beat it down because it is inconvenient when we're trying to get out the door. 
Another would be that as prospective parents dream of all things 'baby' they should also take a few moments to consider their lives with their child not only when the child is a baby, but also when he or she is 2 and 5 and 10 and 13 and so on!!! Babies don't stay babies!!! 
How have you had to be Avant Garde as a parent? 
Parents are in a unique position today because parenting is so subjective and personal now. We're free to make different choices than our parents made. With each child I've become more innovative, learning how to be a better parent as my children grow. One specific parental innovation I've made is to teach my children to think of books like any other toy. With all the focus on reading these days, I think that's one thing that is being missed. We read like crazy in my house, but we also play with books, keep books on the toy shelf next to dolls and dinosaurs and in every room in the house. Yes, even the bathroom!! Love those tub books! Because of this, my children have a love for reading that extends from the written word to what it is written in: the book. Technology will never replace the love we share for books.

Domestic Goddess Mommy and Past Parents of the Week: Feel free to grab the Parent of the Week Badge:


Monday, January 10, 2011

Handing Separation Anxiety With Your Preschooler

Separation anxiety can end up causing anxiety for both parent and child. For many moms and dads of young children, morning drop off at school or day care can end in tears for both the child and the parent. Here are some tips for a tear-free morning- every morning.

Have special toys that live in the car
Sometimes the toughest morning transition is getting your child out of the house and into the car. Shaking the ‘But I don’t wanna go to school’ blues can be hard, and hearing your child whine every. single. morning. can really test your patience. Try having a few special toys that ‘live in the car,’ and thus can only be played with while your child is riding in the car.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “But what if my child throws a tantrum on the way home because she likes the toys so much and wants to take them inside and play with them?” Well, there are a few different options. First, you can be a really good marketer. If the toys who live in the car are, say, stuffed animals, maybe they go to sleep every time your child isn’t in the car playing with them and you act out a short (30 seconds) bedtime scenario as each car ride is coming to an end. This gives your child closure until the next car ride. Alternatively, you could choose toys that must stay in the car, like an activity set that attaches to your child’s car seat.

Know that your child will likely be fine
It’s true, what the care providers tell you- it is usually harder on the parents. Children usually do calm down fairly quickly after you leave. I know it’s not fun or easy, but trust that you’ve left your child in good hands. And know this- if you pick up a smiling, happy child, she’s probably had a pretty good day J

These are just a few quick tips to helping your child overcome separation anxiety!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Avant Garde Parenting on the Net!

Do people even say 'on the net' anymore? I think I just dated myself. Anyway, I wanted to let you know that I have TWO guest features out at two great blogs today! 

First, head on over to Travel Babbles. Have you been wondering what makes me laugh until I snot? I know you have. Well, in my guest post at Travel Babbles, you'll find out. AND it's a video. With a link. So, dear readers, you too, can laugh until you snot. We can all snot together.

Then, head over to Mountain Mum (hey, wasn't she a Parent of the Week?) and check out a great kid friendly recipe that will make you a huge hit at parties. I'm not kidding. This recipe is sure to increase your popularity with kids and adults alike. Plus, it's fun, easy to have kids help you with, and NOT MESSY. Yes, you read that correctly.

Mountain Mum

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Parenting Quick Challenge: Don't be Perfect

You’re not the perfect parent. There. I said it.

No one can be the perfect parent, including you. And while it’s great to try and be the best parent you can be, it’s not great to beat yourself up every time you make a mistake. Parenting mistakes are going to happen- you’re going to stifle a tantrum by shoving an order of french fries into the back seat and at some point you’ll probably end an argument with “Because I said so, THAT’S why!”

It’s good for your children to see that you’re not perfect. Can you imagine the pressure if they thought they had to live up to a perfect mom or dad? How stressful would that be?!

So here’s the challenge: Stop. Exhale. You’re doing a good job. Let yourself be perfectly imperfect.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Parent of the Week: Allie

I’m so pleased to introduce Allie to you this week. She’s mom to two amazing little ones that you will just love reading about. Oh, and she blogs over at Little Baby Fields- enjoy!

As always, if you'd like to be a Parent of the Week or would like to nominate someone, email me at deluna.jamie@gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from you!


Tell me a little about you- Who are you? What do you do? Do you dance in the car?
My name is Allie and I've been a stay at home mom since the birth of our first child in 2007. I live in beautiful east Tennessee with my husband John, our three year old daughter Sarah Hazel, 21 month old son Cameron, two cats and a giant Golden Retriever that likes to sleep on the couch. My kids keep me on my toes but when I can get a break I love to sew or read a good book. I absolutely love babies so every Sunday morning I volunteer in our church nursery. You’d think having two small children of my own would steer me away from rocking newborns but I am at peace when I have a little one in my arms. And we all dance AND sing in the car and I make no apologies to those around us at stoplights. Sometimes you gotta let loose!

Tell me about your children.
I have been blessed with two amazing children that are less than 16 months apart in age. Sarah Hazel is our three year old 'spirited' yet gentle little lady. She loves all things girly and has been found trying out my makeup on more than one occasion. She loves to perform for crowds and often entertains anyone who will watch. Right now her favorite song to perform is ‘Jingle Bells’ but for some reason, she thinks she made it up. Recently I took her to a local high school choral performance and when they started singing Jingle Bells, she was excited but highly confused that someone else knew the song. She turned to me with a puzzled look and said "Mommy, they are singing MY song." I love watching her discover everything for the first time! There is nothing better than seeing that excitement in her eyes and watching that sweet smile spread across her face. Even though I want to savor every second with her, I am also excited to see what the future has in store for my bright little star.

Speaking of stars, the other one that brightens my whole world is my little Cameron (21 months old). Even before he was born, my mommy instinct told me something was not quite right with my little guy. At birth he appeared healthy but as time went on he was diagnosed with a GI motility disorder after some serious intestinal issues. Even with that diagnosis I could feel that there was more going on however, no one else could see it. Over the next few months, his development was slow. He was not hitting milestones like he should have and the few words he had begun to say had completely disappeared. He also stopped growing which is what finally got the attention of his doctors. After many evaluations he was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), Mixed Expressive Receptive Language Disorder (MERLD), and several developmental delays. Currently he is in speech, eating/feeding, and occupational therapies and also attends a center for special needs children where he is able to socialize with children his age and receive help in the areas he needs assistance on. Cameron has a long tough road ahead of him but we are not giving up. I spend a great deal of time researching his diagnosis and am passionate about getting him every bit of help he needs.

What surprised you most about parenting?
I think initially what surprised me most was how unprepared I was to give up so much of myself. I knew parenting would be hard and that I would not have a lot of free time but I don't think I ever thought about how exhausting but at the same time, how rewarding it really is. I remember right after my daughter was born I would get frustrated because I wanted to check email, watch TV, or shower when I wanted. I quickly realized that you have to lose every ounce of selfishness in your body and that time was now my child's and not mine. Once I let go of all of the expectations I had and just enjoyed the moment for what it was, life became so much easier. I guess you could say that I adapted to my kids schedule instead of the other way around. After all, I did not stay at home for me. I was staying at home to give myself fully to my children.

How have you had to be Avant Garde as a parent?
The obvious answer is would be about how I have had to fight and constantly find to new ways to parent and help Cameron with his needs. But I also have to constantly be in tune to Sarah Hazel and her emotions and desires. She has not been officially diagnosed with SPD like her brother but she has many sensitivities that can make or break her day. Recognizing and proactively dealing with what triggers both of my kids’ changes in emotions is the key to getting though each day. I guess it's not really innovative, but I am a firm believer in acting on ‘mother's instinct’ regardless of what others my say or think.

Allie and Past Parents of the Week: Feel free to grab the Parent of the Week Badge:


Monday, January 3, 2011

Applying the Golden Rule to Parenting

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

In plain English: treat others how you would like to be treated. Ever thought how this might apply to the way you parent? No? That’s okay, I have ;)

The bottom line is: respect. Add to that: respect children. I think, if I had to come up with a single motto for parenting (for life, really) it would be: respect children.

Children are just small people. They have thoughts, opinions, beliefs, and values. You may not always agree with them. But just like any other person, they still count. Respect them. Sure, children need guidance and we, as adults have a responsibility to help them learn and grow, but we also have a responsibility to allow them to develop into their own people.

An easy way to apply the golden rule to parenting your children is with your words. I think of it this way: try not to speak to your children in a way you wouldn’t want someone (anyone- a friend, stranger, trusted colleague) speaking to you. In one of my favorite parenting books ever, Unconditional Parenting, Alfie Kohn gives a great example of this by comparing the way a parent might treat both a friend and a child who had consistently forgets their umbrella. With a friend, we might say:

“Oh, you forgot your umbrella again!”

But with our own child, we might be more likely to get frustrated, saying something like,

“How many times do I have to tell you to remember your umbrella? What is it going to take for you to remember??”

The latter is quite disrespectful and if we spoke to our adult friends that way, we probably wouldn’t have very many friends. Instead, it might be more peaceful to find ways to work with our children in respectful ways to help them learn to remember the umbrella. For instance, while your child is eating breakfast, do a ‘weather check’ and make a checklist of the items needed to prepare for the weather that day. Keep the items that might be needed (umbrella, rain boots, gloves, hat) in a basket by the door.

Respecting children is not only easy to do, but instills a sense of confidence in them and helps them learn the skills needed to become independent and successful in their everyday lives.

How do you respect your child?

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