Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Thoughts on Raising Children: Controversial?





Having never been one to follow the masses, I find it quite disturbing at the way most children are treated. I have sought to raise my children with love, respect and trust. I did not do everything perfectly, but my children are wonderful! 

I never wanted to be the parent that was lied to and kept in the dark, so I listened to my children and tried to keep an open mind. I wanted them to be able to come to me if they had a problem or needed advice with an issue they were facing.

I tried to honor who they are as individuals rather than trying to conform them into what I thought they should be or what was "acceptable" to the mainstream.

I gave them freedom to be who they are. We went through periods of goth dressing and frequent hair color changes and more. They needed to experiment to find their identity in the world. That season passed and we survived. :)

I chose to homeschool my children to give them the freedom to learn at their own pace and to have time to pursue their passions. Oh, the criticism was fierce! But I did what I felt was right for my children. It was never to keep them locked way from the "evil" world and influences. I saw the spirits' being crushed out of my two oldest and I could not allow that to continue. My youngest has never attended traditional school.

I have often been criticized for letting my children go walking across town to the park, etc. Yes, I understand we live in a world that can be dangerous, but there comes a point when you have to trust your children. You cannot keep them locked way forever. Yes, they will make mistakes. They are children. But that comes with learning how to navigate the world. Adults make mistakes every day!

My children have always had friends over (girls and boys) and were allowed to go stay with others (girls). If my children wanted to come home in the middle of the night, I'd go get them. 

Their wants and needs were just as important as ours. We looked for ways to get what they wanted: videos games, instruments, art supplies, cds, computers, magazines, whatever. They always had nice clothes whether they came from the thrift store, Walmart or the mall.

We took them places: out to eat, running errands, shopping, to parks, beaches nature trails, zoos, museums, bowling, mini golf and concerts. We go to birthday parties and family gatherings. I did not isolate them. They need to know how things in the real world work.

So I wrote all this to say - you had a choice in bringing your children into the world. Your children did not have that choice. They are not your little servants to do all your work. If you want respect, give it. Your child is an individual. He/She is not you. 

If you want your children to trust you, build that trust by spending time with them, doing things with them, and listening. Don't fly off the handle because they said or did something you don't agree with...that's a surefire way to be the parent that never knows the truth!

If you mess up, apologize. Guide your children and trust them. If your children are really so horrible that they can't be trusted (never, ever) then maybe you should look at your parenting. That may sound harsh, but try as you might to control them, they ultimately have free will and it will backfire on you. They will rebel. Stop automatically assuming the worst about your children's intentions!

Your children were entrusted to your care to be loved, guided, and cared for. Just because they are smaller and less powerful doesn't mean you can treat them like crap, talk to them like they are idiots, and disregard their needs and desires.

You can be your child's friend as well as their parent.


6 comments:

Julie Lill said...

Well said - even tho' I live across the pond (L iverpool -UK)I have raised my 4 children, on my own, exactly like you have done yours! With the exception that they all went to local schools. They all had sleep overs, friends for tea etc and although i never had much money - had days out when I could afford it. I, like you, always made time to talk to them and listen to their worries. They are now young adults, from the ages 35 down to 28, and I am so proud of them!! Children do not need the latest games, clothes etc but just need to feel loved and be given respect - just like an adult really.

Julie Lill said...

Well said - even tho' I live across the pond (L iverpool -UK)I have raised my 4 children, on my own, exactly like you have done yours! With the exception that they all went to local schools. They all had sleep overs, friends for tea etc and although i never had much money - had days out when I could afford it. I, like you, always made time to talk to them and listen to their worries. They are now young adults, from the ages 35 down to 28, and I am so proud of them!! Children do not need the latest games, clothes etc but just need to feel loved and be given respect - just like an adult really.

Tracy Lee said...

Exactly, Julie! We are not rich by any means, but we do the best with what we have and we are there for them when they need us. I think that makes up for a lot. Thanks for commenting! :)

Theresa F said...

There needs to be a balance. I want my kids to tell me things and be able to trust and be trusted. I do have rules and expectations though and expect them to be followed. I do not want to give the world two more kids who think they are entitled to everything without giving anything in return.

Tracy Lee said...

Theresa, I agree. My children certainly do not have everything their hearts desire, but their wishes are not disregarded as unimportant either. Of course, every family has general rules rules and expectations, but many adults use their position of power to control and belittle children.

Scrappy quilter said...

I agree with this wonderful post although there were times when I made many mistakes. I've since apologized and asked for forgiveness which wasn't easy yet has made my life so much better. There are certainly things I also regret I did as a parent yet I know I'm forgiven by the One who always forgives.