Tuesday, November 23, 2010

On Parenting

I like to write. I also love to read. I puzzle over things. I seek solutions. I try not to dwell on negative things.

I decide I want to write in my blog and I open a "new post" window. I may not have a clue what to write about.

I write about the first thing that comes to mind. If that evolves, I change my subject. And usually what I want to write about is something I spend a lot of my time reading, puzzling, solution seeking, and dwelling on: parenting.

It's a job I take pretty seriously. I expect that as my children get older, I will have other things to do to occupy my time.

My kids/step kids (who I refer to as "my kids" regardless of parentage) are vastly different. Some are easily motivated, others are not. Some are logical, others are emotional. Some are "tuned in" to the needs of others, others much less so. Some strive to do well at all things, others prefer to get by. Some are athletic, others are not. Some like to help out, others avoid it. Some are self-assured, others are not. Some are easily distracted, others are... well, they all are that - just to varying degrees. Some sleep well, others do not. Some are very truthful, others are not. Some eat anything, others do not. Some are tall and some are short.

From my career thus far as a parent, this is some of what I have learned:

#1 - genetics has a huge role to play in personality. Kids are born different, and it's amazing how little "control" parents have on who their child *is*.

#2 - structure and routine is the way to go, but not every child will adapt ably to it. Consistent expectations are necessary, the framework for what to expect is necessary, however all children will still need reminders of what those expectations are for years and years. Some children need the reminder more often than others.

#3 - "bad" behaviour comes from bad feelings. Children need to learn how to handle negative emotions - but a lot of adults have not learned how to do this effectively.

#4 - you can ignore most undesirable behaviour. You can redirect most of what you can't ignore. You can say something nice to your child about what they are doing every time you speak to them or see them. These three things will foster a desire from the child to behave well and do what is asked.

#6 - If you are married, your family will benefit the most from a solid marriage. Therefore, the #1 thing you can do as a parent is invest yourself in your marriage.

#7 - screen time is inevitably bad for your children/family. Video games and watching television needs to be done sparingly. Quality of life improves when "screen time" is at a minimum. The less your children spend in front of a screen, the easier it will be for them to occupy their brains without it and the less they will nag you to use screens.

I plan to write my thoughts and feelings and opinions on each of these as my next seven posts... and I hope you will share your insight as well :)


  1. Great list! :D

    Good topic. Looking forward to it. :)

  2. "however all children will still need reminders of what those expectations are for years and years."

    And years.


    And I'd like to add that all children need reminders that they are loved. For years. And years. There's a lot of security in knowing that Mom (or Dad) loves you.