Parenting Styles, there’s many to choose from and all of them have some valid point or ideals. Permissive. Attachment. Helicopter. Authoritative. Indulgent. Etc. Etc. They’ve all got fancy names and good ideas but something is still missing. So, I’ve decided to come up with my own and just know that it’s going to change the world. 🙂
I give you the B.A.M. method.
First off, give yourself permission to mess up, do the wrong things and/or change your mind half way through any given “plan”. If you have your heart set on breastfeeding, and it goes horribly wrong, it’s okay. Try something else. If you swear that you’re never going to let your baby sleep in bed with you, and you later figure out that your little one or you sleep much better that way, just do it. If you buy cloth diapers only to discover that once you started having to actually wash poopy diapers that it really isn’t your thing, oh well. Do not set your mind and your heart so strongly on an ideal that you can’t recognize when it’s no longer “right”. Things don’t always go as planned, and that is SO okay.
Trust your instincts. If something feels wrong to you, that’s a good enough reason to not do it. Period.
You know your child and yourself better than anyone else. Never forget that. If you truly believe that you’re a better Mom working full-time while your child attends daycare, that’s your choice. If you and your child have your best “times” together at 11pm, who cares what all the books say about schedules? If your child needs a soother to go to sleep, give them the stinkin’ soother. I can promise you, he won’t take it to kindergarten. Listen to your child first and foremost.
Don’t coddle your children but don’t always make them cry and scream and work things out for themselves either. You CAN teach your children how to self-soothe and how to entertain themselves without ignoring them, and letting them scream until they’re blue in the face. Be a present reassuring voice and your child will feel safe. When kids feel safe, they can do anything.
You are not your child’s best friend, you are their parent. Don’t be afraid to stand up to your children and be their boss. Sometimes the strongest love is found in the word “No”. Children need to get used to authority figures in their life from early on, as they will have them at school, in work, and in their marriages. 🙂 Why not make their first exposure to that healthy and normal? You can still be in charge, and be able to laugh and play and enjoy time with your kids. They just need to know that when Mama says “enough”, it’s enough.
Give your children choices, but do not overwhelm them with a huge number of things to choose from. There is nothing wrong with offering red or blue, ice-cream or slurpee, shorts or pants. You do not need to open the closet doors and say “pick your outfit”. Give them options so they feel a sense of control but don’t offer them the world. Their little brains easily get overwhelmed, so make their choices simple and clear, and you’ll both be happier for it.
Do not turn your kitchen into a restaurant. Give your kids lots of different foods to try, and even set a one bite rule. But do not make a separate meal because someone doesn’t like something. Once you begin this, it is almost impossible to stop. Children will not starve themselves, they will eat when they’re hungry.
Set expectations for your children. Kids thrive when challenged. Give them many opportunities to “achieve” something and watch them flourish. If they know that they can do the little things, the big stuff won’t seem so scary.
Teach your children manners. Not just please and thank-you, but things that we don’t always think about. Respect your elders. Speak when spoken to. Don’t butt in line or push people out of your way. Look people in the eye when you speak to them. Give without expectation. Be the bigger person.
Tell your children how fabulous they are. Speak words of encouragement and positivity over them all the time. When they say, “I can’t or I’m stupid”, correct them immediately. Do not give insecurity any opportunity to creep into their lives.
Teach your daughters their value. Make-up, revealing clothes and a boyfriend does not a woman make. Teach your sons to treat women the same way they’d treat their Mothers. A strong sense of self-esteem and self-worth is one of the best gifts that you will ever give your children.
Help your children see the good in things. Whether that be in circumstances or in other people, there is always something positive to focus on. Make sure that they know that it’s okay for people to do and believe other things. Show them it is not their place to judge but to treat others with kindness and respect. Do not raise a bully, be the example that you want them to follow.
Teach your kids right from wrong. Don’t assume that they’ll figure it out on their own. There are opportunities to teach all the time, don’t let them slip by.
In case you didn’t notice, I haven’t really come up with any new or fancy way of parenting. I’m just asking you to consider the bigger picture while you’re raising your children. Look ahead to the future and what you want them to become. How fast they potty train, learn how to walk or say the alphabet will not matter. If they know their colours but have no self-confidence, who are you really helping? Morals, values and ideals will always be more important than the stuff that everyone seems to brag about and compare. Do not make the mistake of following a crowd, follow your heart instead.
Breastfeeding. Co-Sleeping. Babywearing. Natural Consequences. Spanking. Yelling. Time-Outs. Grounding. Etc, Etc, Etc. Do what feels RIGHT TO YOU. Make the choices that work for your family, and do them. Don’t get caught up in other people’s passion or battles if they don’t affect you. Do not feel guilty or less than worthy if you are not doing the same things as your peers. Who flippin’ cares? Your kids don’t, so why should you?
Enjoy your children, laugh with them, cry with them but always lead them. Let common sense rule your decisions. Don’t over think things and don’t go looking for problems that aren’t really there. Some kids develop really early, and some take a really long time to find their way. Does it mean that you’re doing anything wrong? Absolutely not. What it means is that you are raising a unique individual that isn’t like anyone else in this world. It’s up to you to figure out what is best for them. It’s not for anyone else to decide.
When people ask what parenting method you follow, just say BAM and give them a smile. Be. A. Mom. That’s all that matters.
Be sure to check out my blogging sisters and their Day 2 posts. You’ll love them.