28 November, 2010

Most effective way to be a parent....it isn't what you think...

While reading over ridiculous stories about whatever the fuck it is the TSA is doing now (more on that later), I ran into this link. It is a news style blog written by a mommy in the bay area. The gist of the story is that every single time we parents turn around, there is another thing we're doing wrong. We're punishing our children too harshly, or not harsh enough. We're giving them complexes. We're ruining them by letting them sleep in our bed, our room, their own bed, or their own room. It seems that everyone has an idea of what is best for our children. And everything we as parents are doing is wrong. According to books, professionals, other parents...hell, even our OWN parents sometimes, we are ruining the lives of our most precious little things.

As I wrote about in this post, I tend to have a different style of parenting than most people. Not everyone...but most people. I honestly believe that if you have some common sense, and you aren't out there abusing substances, or beating your children, you have every right to parent however you see fit. Obviously, you shouldn't be leaving your children out in cars by themselves. You shouldn't leave them alone when they are little. Common sense.

The lady who wrote that article had a list of 10 ways to be an effective parents, and I agree with them whole-heartedly. Apparently it was in the November/December issue of Scientific American.

1. Love and affection. You support and accept the child, are physically affectionate, and spend quality one-on-one time together.
2. Stress management.
You take steps to reduce stress for yourself and your child, practice relaxation techniques and promote positive interpretations of events.
3. Relationship skills.
You maintain a healthy relationship with your spouse, significant other or co-parent and model effective relationship skills with other people.
4. Autonomy and independence.
You treat your child with respect and encourage him or her to become self-sufficient and self-reliant.
5. Education and learning.
You promote and model learning and open-mindedness for your child.
6. Life skills.
You provide for your child, have a steady income and plan for the future.
7. Behavior management.
You make extensive use of positive reinforcement and punish only when other methods of managing behavior have failed.
8. Health.
You model a healthy lifestyle and good habits, such as regular exercise and proper nutrition, for your child.
9. Religion.
You support spiritual or religious development and participate in spiritual or religious activities. (This one I don't agree with. I believe you need to answer your child's questions honestly and with an open mind/heart, and love them no matter what. I don't believe that we, as parents and families, need to participate in spiritual or religious activities.)
10. Safety.
You take precautions to protect your child and maintain awareness of the child's activities and friends.
I believe that with following these ten, very simple, very basic guidelines, we can all have amazing children, but still parent how we see fit. As I believe I've mentioned, I frequent (okay, not so much anymore) a baby forum where the women there belittle and berate moms because of the choices they make. These choices are simple...formula vs breastfeeding. Co-sleeping vs not. Vaccinations vs no vaccinations. These choices don't hurt the child (with the possibility of no vaccinations...but more on that later), nor do they hurt anyone else who seems to be concerned with them. People stick their noses in where they don't belong and it ends up making people feel that they aren't cutting it as a parent. 

In a nut shell -- don't judge people on how they parent if they are making the effort to do these 10 things. If their child is happy and healthy, who cares if they get their child vaccinated or not? Who cares if they let their child stay up late if they have nothing to do the next day? Who cares? It isn't your child. I have AMAZING mommy friends who's families aren't "normal" (I use that term very loosely), but I think they are some of the most amazing parents with the most fantastic kids, and I am a very lucky person to have such great families in my life. We don't need to own all the latest parenting books, or listen to nut jobs like Dr. Phil just because we don't parent the way that they do. Really. Just follow those rules up there. I promise.

And if you don't like it...well....go suck an egg. 

With Love, 
Mrs. Obie

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