How do you choose to parent?

This evening I had the pleasure of speaking to Abby Bordner of Relationship Based Parenting. Some of you may remember the Relationship Based Parenting series I started a few months ago (more of that coming soon).

After a few minutes of chatting about this, that and the other, she asked me: What are the most important things you would like to give your son? I’ve asked myself this question many times. We all want to give our children the best but our idea of the best varies. There are many values I want to instill in S and of course I have dreams and aspirations for him but to me the most important things at present are love and stability. It’s been proven that a child’s first three years are when they have the most brain development, when their neural pathways are formed. And children who are exposed to adverse conditions such as poverty, abuse or alcoholism often go on to have failed relationships, drop out of school, grow up with physical ailments or even depression. Abby spoke to me about emotional resiliency and how it is important to teach children to manage their emotions and deal with them so that they grow into successful adults who are able to deal with struggle confidently.

One of the questions she asked on her blog recently was: How would you do things differently? You hear so many parents these days talk about how they would do things differently to the way their parents did. I believe there are two kinds of people. The first are those who say “Well I turned out okay so my parents obviously did a good enough job and I am going to raise my child in the same way” (I often hear/read this when there is a debate with regards to spanking and physical discipline). The second type of parent is one who says “Yes my parents did a great job (or they didn’t) but I am going to do a better one”. We’re in the 21st century now where access to information is at our fingertips. My mom has often told me how lucky we are these days. Parents of the last generation raised their kids the best they knew how. Parents of today have so much help and guidance online and in the form of books, classes and online information.

As S approaches 2, I find myself adopting a teacher role. He’s starting to learn right from wrong, testing boundaries and his personality is coming through. It’s really important at this age to understand your child and handle them in a way that suits their needs best. S loves to run around, drive his ride along motorbike around the house and listen to music (and dance) and so as long as it’s not raining, we spend a lot of time outdoors in the parks and playgrounds nearby and he gets music time everyday.

Personally I think it’s important to keep re-assessing the kind of parent you want to be and then making changes to work towards being that parent. Just remember, however you choose to parent is right for you.

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