Thursday, February 17, 2011

Parenting Styles

There are so many ways to parent. Each way is touted as "the right way." There's the no-spank, just love love love and lots of little chats. There's the Outlast 'em, spank 'em, whip 'em into shape method and there's lots of variables in between. So which style are you, anyways?
I've read plenty of parenting books and plenty of how to cope/deal with baby books. Every one has a slightly different twist. Some leave you feeling mixed up, others make you feel like the world's worst parent. Other make you feel like you've failed miserably, and still others make you feel just marvelously on top of things (though I think the latter of those aforementioned are very rare indeed and may just be a little too syrupy!)
I recently read a book that left me feeling less than satisfactory. It made me feel pretty rotten as a parent, really. It was a book that several I know seem to feel is the perfect book for parenting. (next to the Bible of course!) And perhaps for them it is. But for me... well... it was a completely different story. It made me feel like a dogmatic parent to put most of the suggestions into use. Now don't get me wrong here, I totally agree that the parents are the boss and should have the last say in things. I do agree that a spanking in good measure can be a beneficial punishment for wrong doing. But when you're spanking for every little thing and when you're on a war to "out-last" your child (especially those strong willed ones) standing over them to make sure they do as you wish the second you wish them to do so and if they do not, you issue a spank... and another and another til they comply... Well, that's just not me! And honestly, it never was meant to be me! We're all different. And so are our methods of parenting. I think that last statement really hit home to me this time around. We are all so different. What may work for you and your Bobby, may not work for my Jimmy; and vice versa. Where I may feel one could be a bit more lenient, you may feel is a salvational issue or akin to it. Where you may feel a spanking is necissary, I may issue a time out, or even some cuddle time, depending on the situation. I've also come to realize that we all may take the message in books a different way AND what may hit home to one personality type would be like a slam in the face to another type.
I often idyllize these mothers that are so laid back and yet so in authority. I'd like to be like that. Or I look at these moms who are really into playing with their kids, getting down and dirty with them, coming up with all sorts of fun crafts and fun stuff and I wish I was like that. Fact is, It's OK to be me! It's ok not to be exactly that sort of mom. Why? Because I am growing to be the mom God created ME to be. Many parenting books out there have great ideas and I certainly have gleaned pertinent information from most of them out there. However, I am learning that I don't have to be a carbon copy of the mom next door (or the mom at church, or wherever your seeming "perfect" may be) in order to be a good mom. Because there are many different Parenting styles.
Enter the book "MotherStyles." You may have noticed it in my side bar as a book I have completed this year. Excellent book. I recommend reading it. There are personality tests throughout the book to help you discover what sort of mother you really are. What makes you energized? What helps you be the best you can be? This book really helps you to see the different styles of parenting out there and that we are NOT all created equal and yet we can STILL be great moms to our kids! Hallelujah! This book is helping me discover ways to recharge my batteries so I don't get these terrible slumps and low points. I am finding that by getting out and away from the kids (or even just with one child) that I come back feeling so much more ready to take on the challenges of parenting. Yes, it can be hard to take this time away-at least it is for me. But the two times that I have done it recently I have come back feeling so much happier! And you've all heard the saying-"If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!" It's really pretty true... And if you're in doubt about getting away for some time alone, just look at the example of our Lord and Savior. Jesus often went "away into a quiet place" to rest and recharge. We should feel no anxiety over doing the same thing.
In summary, I guess the point I am trying to get across is "Don't feel bad for who God made you to be." Don't try to change yourself into someone else because it's not going to work-no one is going to be happy. Rather choose to work with what God has given you to make you the best parent you can be and quit looking at everyone else and what they are doing. (speaking right to myself here people!!)
Go with God and be happy in your mothering and parenting. Love your children and seek God's will for them and for yourself continually and you will be blessed.

1 comment:

  1. You've got it, sista! JUST what I've been thinking lately too. It's OK to be the way we are!!! Just that makes things so much simpler.