|Me with my three boys, early 2010|
I have formed my parenting philosophy slowly (it's certainly a work in process), and I glean from many sources. I read a variety of parenting books, talk with other parents whom I respect, and pray a lot.
The most basic foundation of my philosophy is that my children are my equals. We are all children of God. Yes, I am their parent for now, but I am not superior to them. Our mortal life is very small in the eternal scheme of things, and my time in this position of leadership is brief. Yes, it is my job to care for them and teach them, but I do my best to be a mentor and guide rather than a dictator or a sergeant.
I do not think of my children as "little adults" because they are not adults yet: their learning and understanding has not yet grown to that stage. However, I also do not see my children as little beings to be mastered: a dog has a master, a child needs a teacher. I endeavor to demonstrate the behaviors that I want them to emulate, so I respect them as I expect them to respect me (and everyone else).
The standard term for my basic philosophy is "Gentle Discipline," and before you go off in a huff thinking that that's code for "not disciplining" or having wild children (which I admit is what I used to think), please take a minute to go read my post Gentle Discipline: Laying it Out (what GD is, isn't, and why it is actually more effective than being a drill sergeant).
I have (and will) delve deeper into various aspects of parenting in other posts, but this post is just to explain the basics, and then to link to those other posts (so that you can read further if you want to). (Anything not currently linked has not been written/posted yet, but don't worry, it's coming!)
If you would like to recommend any parenting resources that you have really liked, please feel free to do so!
Specific parenting topics:
- Why Not?--considering the chronic overuse of 'no' and how to break the habit (and have happier kids and happier parents at the same time!)
- Parenting WithOUT Punishments--yep, I mean it. And it works too.
- Compliance vs Cooperation--being partners rather than dictators
- Obedience and Agency--learning internal self-control rather than relying on external control
- Releasing Judgment--acknowledging our kids (and their actions) without casting judgment
- Say what you mean
- Regarding violent play (and violent games)
- On Winning Battles--choosing battles as opposed to choosing not to battle
- Yes We Cry--it's ok to cry, and it doesn't make you weak or a 'sissy'
- Crying vs. Crying-It-Out
- Thoughts on Bedtime Routines
- Concerning Spanking--my experiences, my thoughts, and my decision about whether it has a place in our home
- Time Out & Time In--a (hopefully gentler and more effective) alternative to time-out
- Thoughts on Tantrums
- Patronizing Parenting--re-thinking the way we talk to our kids
- Consistent vs Reliable--why "consistency" may not be all it's cracked up to be
- Parenting Positively--why how you say it matters
- Tattling vs Telling
- Own It--why referring to yourself in the third person isn't doing your kids any favors
- Sleep Glorious Sleep--why and how we co-sleep
- Great Expectations--how kids live up to precisely what we expect them to... (includes some thoughts on eating and mealtimes)
- When You HAVE to Force Something--my response to a reader's question about her diabetic son who has to have daily insulin shots
- Dealing with Direct Disobedience
Reviews of books:
- Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy-Kurcinka
- Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn (includes a great list of 13 "guiding principles" for parents which have helped me form much of my philosophy)
- Punished By Rewards by Alfie Kohn
- Manipulating Parents by Robinson
- Kids Are Worth It! by Barbara Coloroso
- The Explosive Child by Ross Greene
- Green's method in the trenches food in the bedroom
- Parenting with Love & Logic by Cline & Fay
Excellent Articles/Posts from Other Folks
- 10 Ways to Confuse a Child from Demand Euphoria (when we say one thing and do another, of course they get confused!)
- Why Being a Toddler is Hard: the real reason for those tantrums and meltdowns by Melissa Sher
Inspirational Thoughts and Quotes:
- "Childhood is not preparation for life, childhood IS life..."
- "Everybody is a genius..."
- "I want to be just like You"
- "A general rule for living and working with children..."
Some other important posts:
- Let Kids Be Kids
- Ten Ways to spend Effective Time with Your Children
- In the Middle, or why I'm neither mainstream nor a raging hippie, and how I make my choices
- Intactivism, or why I don't circumcise