02 September 2010

Parenting is a personal and deeply emotional thing. No two people parent the same and everyone feels like they're trying their hardest (and yet usually failing in some way).

I've seen people latch on to theories from books, advice from others, and behaviors linked to labels. And I've seen a lot of people uncomfortable with their parenting. (And yes, I totally include myself as having been in each of those situations.)

In my almost ten years of parenting I think I've figured a lot of stuff out. Not all of it, obviously, or Nick would be much more zen than he is but I think that having read and experienced a lot of things has given me some perspective and allowed me to find my groove.

In pondering my general parenting philosophy today, I came up with the Ten Un-Commandments of Parenting. They're Un-Commandments because I'm not telling anyone to do them, I'm just sharing the framework I try to work and grow within.

1) Parent consciously
Make choices. Form habits, say words, take actions, and set priorities because you've chosen them, not because you've fallen into a rut or because you're following someone else's "should"s.

2) Parent respectfully
Respect your children as individuals from the beginning of their existence. Trust them, let them make choices, have their opinions count.

3) Assume the best
Assuming your child is operating from the best of intentions changes the tone of interactions. They should have to show you that their behavior is unkind/selfish/hurtful rather than having to prove their good intentions.

4) Parent from the gut
Parents have strong instincts that can guide them in so many different situations and yet we ignore our gut feelings so often because of fear and worry. Following our instincts can bring us amazing things.

5) Touch your child
Touch does some really neat things, from stabilizing heart and breathing rates in babies to diffusing tense situations with older kids. Hug and hold and wrestle with your kids!

6) Do less
We're always so busy doing and going and talking. Sometimes our kids want us to just stop and sit down on the floor with them. Or they want us to give them space to be. Do less and make more room.

7) Have empathy
Getting out of our own head space and seeing things through our children's eyes can change the way we react to situations or can help us to avoid difficult moments.

8) Seek balance for the family
Try to find a way for situations to mostly work for most of the family. Be flexible in finding ways to keep everyone's needs a priority.

9) Be real
Be authentic with your children. They know the difference. Stop worrying about whether you should let them see you cry or find out where your weaknesses are. They can smell fake from a mile away and it doesn't help to build a trusting relationship.

10) Grow yourself
Grow and learn and read more all the time. Become a better parent, a more accomplished artist, a healthier individual. Walk the talk of being a great person and set that in front of your child as an example.


Mandi said...

Thanks for this Kim. It's a great reminder to slow down and listen. To everything!

There's nothing wrong with taking advice when it's right for you. I've read plenty of books that I scoffed at and a few that I fell in love with but most importantly, I keep reading and learning and implementing what I feel is truly beneficial to our lives.

After all, there is no parenting or life manual and we're all just finding our way, doing the best we can for our children, our spouses and ourselves.

Pi said...

May I frame this?

Adesa said...

Fantastic post! Your Un-Commandments are much like my own. Sharing this on facebook.

KimProbable said...

Glad you enjoyed it Mandi! I'm right there with you in taking advice that fits.

Pi: Certainly! :)

Adesa: It's always nice to "meet" similar parents! :) Thanks for sharing.

Michelle @ The Parent Vortex said...

great list! so simple, but profound (and difficult sometimes!) in practice. :)

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