Thursday, April 2, 2009

On Parenting

I never thought I'd be a lenient parent, but we had a discussion about Santa at our small group this week that started to make me feel like one in some ways. :) Confession: my kids watch Disney Princess movies, bad guys and all. We talked them through the scary part once or twice and now they remind each other that Prince Eric comes to the rescue, and they are excited to see how it turns out, each time. We tell our kids about Santa, and probably will do the Tooth Fairy too. I let my kids jump and climb on the furniture often sometimes. There are times when you're 2 and you're coloring, and the most convenient position is on top of the dining room table. Plus, with 11 months of winter around here (not that I'm frustrated;), they have to be able to play somewhere! If they want to run around and it isn't hurting anybody and their noise level isn't higher than the general roar, we usually let them. The exception to this (that comes to mind) is restaurants. People often tell us they are amazed at how well our kids behave at restaurants. We require them to sit still and keep their voices low, and they have had lots of practice since we like to do that as a family.

But my kids know how to pray for each other and us. When someone is sick or hurt, they usually ask to pray before Nick and I even think of it. We require them to be kind to each other, no exceptions. They love to read Bible stories, and specifically ask for ones about Jesus. The way we eat is very strict, out of necessity. They say please and thank you. They love to help put away the silverware and their toys. Hannah is working on making her bed and does it with joy. The girls love to pile in the rocking chair with me and read books for 45 minutes at a time. They love to sit at the piano and bang and sing. Hannah's even making up her own songs already.

It's fascinating to me to see the contrast between families, and I (don't miss this part!) wholeheartedly believe that what God has told one family to emphasize may be completely different for another family. We are currently reading Grace Based Parenting, and have been mostly challenged by it in the area of understanding God's unconditional love to us, the parents. Only after understanding God's love can we pass it to our children. He doesn't love us based on our performance, but based on Jesus' sacrifice for us and the perfect holiness in God's sight that we receive through faith in Christ. Incredible.

What about you? What are your non-negotiables with your kids? What things (that other people might be strict about) do you let slide?


  1. Ha! I love this. This is just how our family runs. I've been criticized about it a time or two and wondered if I really was wrong. But I came to the conclusion a while ago that, like you said God has different plans for different families. If everyone grew up with the same rules and such then everyone would kind of turn out the same, and that's just not what is meant to be. So for us whats not going to hurt them or turn them into serious hooligans (not that that is my standard for them but you know what I mean) I'm fine with them doing things as long as they respect us, each other, and other people and know what kind of rules apply at other peoples houses/restaurants etc. Oh and one rule I'm firm on is that everyone must be tickled at least once a day. No exceptions. ;)

  2. This is such a timely post for me today. We are in the process (maybe should have done it a bit sooner)right now of figuring out what are our values in terms of parenting. Weighing what's important and how to communicate/teach that is challenging and must be done in a proactive manner.

    Any other books you recommend?

  3. I had a mom in my MOPS group who said, " while there are wrong ways to raise a child, there are many right ways..." That has stuck with me. We, as moms are quick to judge each other thinking, "my kids would never stay up that late, or I would never let my kids do that..." We all have our things that we are strict on and not so on others. I agree that we expect respect from our children and obedience, but they have a lot of freedoms especially in our own home. This is the time for them to be kids and enjoy life like this. I embrace it.

  4. Irene - Well, the tickling is certainly important! ;)

    Marelize - I think each developmental stage in a child's life, you have to do new evaluating and figure out what's most important all over again. So I doubt you're at all behind. :) I love Dobson's books, they have provided parents with answers for three generations. They feel safe and reliable to me. Aside from those I really haven't read lots of parenting books. I rely mostly on the advice of wise older women, and the direction the Holy Spirit gives us for our own family.

    Janet - The staying up late...I totally forgot to even mention that one! Ha! That's a great quote to remember, for sure.