You know more than once I’ve been accused of over-thinking. Who me (ahem)? But it is true. I confess to be a professional over-thinker. Life matters. Think much. Act smart. And I guess then I can never be accused of thinking too little. Instead you can slap the label of “thinking too late” on me. hehe.
So I’ve been thinking about parenting and Matt and I agreed on a car ride the other day that one important rule in parenting to teach to your children is that “What Mommy and Daddy says is law.” There is expectation and consequence in Mommy and Daddy’s words. It is not acceptable to trudge on without acknowledging that Mommy or Daddy has said, “no,” and don’t mess around in the realm of obedience expectation.
There’s a difference in forced and choice obedience. I don’t want our kids to obey because they have to, but because they want to please us. And yet in some instances, I’ll just take the obedience, regardless of the willingness displayed behind it. We’re not running a boot camp, here, but there are certainly clear expectations of quick responsiveness.
Rachael, bless her little heart (Southern slang for “Are you serious?”), has her moments of testing the law. No, people, she’s no felon at 2 and a 1/2, but she certainly feels the need to make a few waves sometimes. Yet I am reminded that while children have an amazing ability to remind you of the Fall out (reference: Genesis), their value should never be questioned in their minds (nor yours for that matter). It is not a matter of convincing myself that Rachael is an angel (an often misused and personally unfavored term) and always means no harm – have you seen that kid’s eyes, she’s not innocent. But she is and will always be invaluable in our eyes. Children are a blessing. I couldn’t agree more. And yet that blessing does not mean that in some moments she isn’t downright awful. =)
We’ve all been around the “seriously, do their parents set any boundaries?” kids before. The ones pushing their siblings down repetitively, whining uncontrollably, and the ones that cast off their parents’ direction as quickly as you flip channels on a “nothing’s on” night. And we’ve all been around the “do you even like your kids?” parents who seem to make it a personal goal to create and win a power struggle in every conversation with their child. Those poor “can I do anything right?” kids. So obviously this valuing while creating healthy boundaries balance is just that – a balance.
Now I’ve had my share of “hope no one’s taking notes” parenting embarrassments before; serving the baby steaming hot soup, handing the toddler a lollipop to make her shut up… we all have those head-smacking “please don’t model your parenting style on this moment” experiences… and I’m sure I’ll have more too, cuz perfection won’t happen until the new Jerusalem. But operating on a “just this once” parenting style with each passing circumstance won’t get the job done. Or let’s put it this way, in my experience I have seen it create a lot of ungrateful, selfish, unthoughtful kids that cycle through babysitters faster than a 6th grade dance attracts wallflowers.
Why am I blogging about this? I don’t know. Just thought it something to think about in my over-thinking ways.
Question of the day: How can you make your child feel valued while still setting healthy boundaries?
Every child is different, but the healthy boundaries are the same.