Just like reading a beauty magazine could make you feel ugly , reading parenting books can make you feel as though you are doing everything wrong.
Years ago, when I would go and see clients in their homes, they had piles upon piles of books on parenting – I still now often get asked which books I would recommend and my answer is NONE. You can’t parent from a book, you parent from your values.
Just like brand filters in business, create a few filters for yourself and then parent around those, don’t also worry about the moment, think too about the big picture, what do you want long term for your children.
To give you an example, my goals and values for my children is to allow them to grow and be independent from me (long term). I’m not saying that I want them to not want to be around me, what I am saying is I want to be able to give them the tools to help them make sound decisions and stand on their own two feet. My train of thought has always been – if something happened to me, I would want to know that they would be okay.
I’ve also wanted children that get along well and respect each other, as an only child growing up, I didn’t have anyone to share my upbringing with, so one thing I always say to my children is that eventually, they only have each other to remember and talk about the things they did growing up during families holidays etc, as no one else was there. They are the only people in this world, who share those memories with them.
A few of my Family filters are:
1) You must always tell the truth, on the basis that, if you don’t, and you do get into trouble or do something wrong, I can only help you if I know the truth.
2) Under no circumstances are my children allowed to talk rudely to each other, I won’t tolerate it, and if they do, they have to say sorry and I will enforce a hug.
3) We must eat dinner together, as often as possible, dinner is at 6, and you have to have a bloody good excuse not to be there.
4) They must always say good night to each other, and I often have my older two put my youngest to bed, tuck him in and read him a story.
5) Each child can choose dinner for one night of the week, be respectful of each others choices, and if you don’t like dinner, you still sit at the table, eat what you can, and there is nothing else except one piece of fruit after.
6) You must always be polite to everyone – manners do not cost anything.
What are your filters / values?