Monday, April 26, 2010

Parenting Goal: More Than Survival

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When you first became a parent, you likely went into survival mode. You just tried to make it from sun up to sun down with your sanity in tact. It took all of your brain power to figure that little baby out and come to know what was best for him.

As he got older, you were able to do more than merely survive. You could work on little things like independent playtime. But then he became a toddler, and you could barely keep up! He never stopped moving and you slipped back into survival mode.

"Your goal needs to be more than just getting through another day" (Childwise page 10).

Those first two paragraphs really are what my mindset was like when Brayden was born. He was the busiest baby/toddler ever. He wore me right out. It took time for me to learn to juggle parenthood with the rest of life.

The good news for any of you experiencing something similar is that over time, you get better at it. You learn to balance things, which is good if you want more than one child.

In our modern world, we really can't just make it through the day with our children. We just can't. In The Parenting Breakthrough, Boyack comments on this. She says that an older woman once commented to her that she (the older woman) was always able to just let her young children go outside and play all day long and that was okay. But women today can't do that. The world is different now, and our children are faced with some scary stuff at very young ages. We need to take a proactive approach to teaching them all they need to know, and we need to start young.

We Babywise moms start this path young. We start by establishing good sleeping and eating patterns. This enables us to focus on more than eating and sleeping with our young toddlers--and even our babies. It also enables our children to have the mental capacity and energy for focusing on more because they are well-rested and nutritionally fed.

As the baby grows, we start to teach her to play independently for short periods of time. We do this in a playpen so she is safe and also is required to sit (or lay) and focus on what she has. Then she gets a bit older and we start to introduce time on a blanket. This item has no sides to it. She learns to maintain self control and obey mom's voice and stay on this little blanket.

We require some manners at the dinner table, even from our babies. Blowing raspberries is cute and fun, but it isn't cute or fun for mom to wear baby's food. We allow our babies to blow raspberries to her hearts content while she plays, but she isn't allowed to do so at the dinner table. She is far to young to have a moral understanding of respect for others, but we are teaching her habits now so that when she is old enough to understand why, she already has the physical restraint of how.

As our child grows, we continue to work on teaching him respect, love, kindness, self-control, etc. We start to introduce some learning activities as he shows interest. We train our children in proper public behavior. People marvel at our children when we go out, especially those of older generations. Sure, our kids act out sometimes in public. They are people, not robots. But for the most part, they are well behaved and polite.

Somewhere around age 3-4, our child is ready for the principles of Childwise. "Childwise is a values-based parenting strategy" (page 10). Our child is old enough to start to learn and understand moral reasoning. She will face harder decisions than you ever did as a child. Not only will she face those tough questions and vices, like drugs, younger than you did, but she will face some you can't even imagine yet. The world is ever changing.

Look at what teenagers are doing with cell phones in our modern world. Did you ever imagine that happening? You need to teach her a strong moral foundation so she can make wise decisions on her own. You will not be able to provide her with every right answer. She needs to learn to judge for herself what is right and what isn't.

You need to do more than make it through each day.

Don't despair. Your child can do it. She can learn, but she needs your guidance. Our children are strong people. And you can do it! You can teach them. You just need to put the effort in.

With this idea in mind, I started a series of posts a little over a year ago titled "More Than Making It Through The Day." Here is a link to the index for it. I have different age ranges broken down with great goals to strive for within each age range. These posts will help prepare you to prepare your child. They build on each other. We start with the simple things early in life so we can move on to heavier items later in life. I try to make them as manageable as possible.

I don't want to overwhelm you, but I do want to make sure everyone realizes the imprtance of their roles as parents. It is all very possible to fulfill. We just have to do it. We can't float along allowing television and swingsets to raise our children. We must do it. And we can.


1 comment:

heidi said...

i love this and i loved boyack's book also. at times very overwhelming the responsibility we have, but also so very very necessary. keep up the good work, you are amazing.


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