Parenting is HARD work! Like really hard! Not in the sense that it is not enjoyable or daunting (although it can be at times), but it is hard because of the responsibility we have as parents to raise our kids into sweet, respectful, knowledgeable, God-fearing, and giving individuals. One of the reasons I knew I wanted to marry Nick was because of his personality and how he treated those around him. He encompassed all that I wanted to instill in my future kids.
Being around children most of my life with my mom's childcare center, nannying, and by watching parents with their kids at church I had an idea of what type of parenting I wanted to emulate down the road. Little did I know how much investment, time, and energy would be needed to help raise my own kids into the types of individuals I desire for them to be. Children are sinful from birth. So with any parenting style there are days that--despite your best child-rearing efforts--your kids simply do not obey or do what they know is right. Frankly, it's these days that I find the hardest. But like anything in life, practice makes perfect (almost perfect). Picking our parenting style has changed over the years but it was something we talked about very early on with Calvin because much of what is implemented at a young age will shape children for years to come.
A parenting style is defined by a psychological construct representing standard strategies that parents use in their child rearing. We like to believe that we are authoritative in our parenting style (go over options, listen to our kids, set boundaries and consequences, promote independence, discipline appropriately, and nurture them when appropriate). Nick and I have an unwritten list of things that are black and white and things that are more open-handed. But being on the same page as parents is the most important thing and we are learning to communicate with one another on what does and does not work with our kids. I am with the kids more than Nick since he works all day, so many times I am re-telling for him what the day looked like.
We were both raised with different standards, ways of discipline, and we also have realized that when children turn into adolescents, the ways of parenting for boys and girls can be different too. Calvin is a first child like myself and automatically will become our guinea pig. We are learning together what works best for our family. I have learned that grace trumps all. Even through my best efforts with being consistent I can easily let my frustration get the best of me. And every morning my kids show me grace and are smiling ear to ear just to see me. It's in those moments where God gently reminds me to give them grace as he has given me. And I should also treat them as human beings. I do not liked to be yelled at so why would my children? I do not like chaos so why would they?
So what does our parenting style look like? It's a hybrid version of so many things but I have liked the results so far. We try our best to be soft spoken, to look our kids in the eyes, to be forgiving, to give boundaries but also grant some independence, to leave room for messes and opportunities to learn a lesson, to give the boys the comfort of a routine, to always prioritize rest, offer a healthy lifestyle, and to demonstrate love and respect. Our biggest accomplishment in life will always be our kids. The love we have for them is unconditional and will never be based upon how they preform or how well they obey us. But the responsibility and privilege we get to raise them by God is something we do not take lightly. As you try to figure out your own parenting style know that there is no one right way. Being consistent and agreeing on your philosophy as a couple is the key to ensuring your kids are given a firm foundation. Trust and pray that God in Christ would guide your words and your actions.
Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it."
Ephesians 6:4 "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."
Psalm 78:4 "We will not conceal them from their children, But tell to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wondrous works that he has done."
Books that have helped influence our style: Bringing Up Bebe, Love and Logic, Give them Grace, and the Bible.