Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Confident Parent

I am thinking about writing a book called “The Confident Parent.” I don’t know how catchy that title is but it has been lurking in the back of my mind since a recent Facebook discussion.

I had taken one of those dumb Facebook quizzes…you know the kind I’m talking about, where you have nothing better to do (or maybe you do but you are wasting time anyway) and so you take a “fun” quiz. It was about your parenting style. It claimed that I leaned more toward “Attachment Parenting.” Apparently I am into natural births (hmmm...that doesn’t fit with the epidural I received on my first birth), homeopathic remedies (pass me the Children’s Motrin please!) and living green (I stubbornly refuse to buy a reusable bag—Al Gore wouldn’t like this, but give me paper bags any day!).

Now there were some aspects of the results that I do agree with—I am not bothered by the way some may question my parenting style. I do feel strongly about the way I am raising my children. And I do tend to trust my instincts when it comes to raising my children. I believe those are God-given instincts. I think that comes down to being a confident parent…not a perfect parent, mind you. It is also not a confidence in my own abilities. It is confidence that I believe comes from God, my faith in Him. I trust Him to show me the way when it comes to parenting.

When I posted my results on Facebook, I received a couple of comments that I found interesting. One was about negative criticism of their parenting rubbing them the wrong way and the other was about being sensitive to criticism of their parenting. I think these feelings are probably the majority when it comes to moms and how they view the negative feedback or comments they may receive. I appreciated hearing that feedback because it was honest feedback and like I said, I believe the way most moms feel.

When it comes to parenting, we protect our little treasures. If someone questions the way we are raising them, the choices we make, I think it is pretty natural to become protective of that. I have been there many times. I have had to defend my reasons for doing things over the course of my children’s lives—why I homeschooled, why I stopped, why I chose to not medicate, why I didn’t take a doctor’s advice—I finally reached a point in my parenting that I decided I no longer needed to defend my choices. I could spend my whole life defending or I could spend my life confidently following the direction I felt was best for our family.

This has not happened overnight. My oldest recently turned 15, my middle child is about to turn 12 and my youngest just turned 10. It has taken a few years for me to reach this point, where I don’t question every decision we make as parents. My husband and I are pretty cohesive when it comes to making decisions about our children. We both have learned to trust in one another and in God.

One of the comments made on Facebook was how God knew which child was right for which parent. That is the amazing thing about families—they are all different! No one family is supposed to mirror another. When you look about creation, all that God has made, you find diversity. You find uniqueness and creativity. If every flower looked the same, if ever animal looked the same, it would be a pretty boring world. So I like the fact that as families we choose different ways of doing things, whether it’s how we choose to educate our children, the discipline methods we use, and so on. We need to value those differences and we need to go about parenting our children with God-given confidence. I hope and pray you each have a WONDERFUL, AWESOME, and CONFIDENT Mother’s Day!

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