I wish I could say that they are a product of genetic perfection. My husband and I breed a superior race and they are perfect toddlers... much like Christ was. But that's just silly... my chilren are decidedly not overachievers. None of them can read, they count to ten by saying "one, two, three, ten", our 18 month old is too curious for her own good, and our oldest who is four barely even talks. But I've been told many times in various ways, "You have good kids."
So when I told the lady, "I don't know." It was totally a cop out. I know when she asked she didn't really want to hear my parenting philosophy so I didn't whip out my soapbox and give it to her. Besides, I'm not sure I really have a parenting philosophy, per se. Am I allowed to say that? I haven't got a library of parenting books because I was told when I was pregnant with our oldest that I should read books on development and parent according to their development. I liked that advice so I took it and I give it to others. I did read and recommend one parenting book: The Strong Willed Child by James Dobson.
And while I may not be able to tell you the exact formula for a well-disciplined house, I can tell you unequivocally that I DON'T HAVE GOOD KIDS. My kids are sinners and they need guidance. But I'd be selling them short if I left out the part where I tell you that my kids are delightful and they make me laugh.
But since she asked, I've been trying to think of what it is that I do differently than many of my parenting peers. I think it's the little things that add up. This is in no way comprehensive and I'll probably add to it in my memoiors someday.
- Why? I insist on sitting at the table because I have four children and not as much time as I need to clean up after snacks and sticky things that are scattered to the wind. But more importantly, I think this is an essential boundary. Children like boundaries. They feel safe within those boundaries.
- Why? While it would be easier to sit them in front of the tele, I find that they are whiny and demanding afterwards. They ask for their favorite shows over and over again after just one 45 minute episode. It helps them learn self control. They don't always get what they want.
- Why? Children need more sleep than grownups do. Their behavior is a direct reflection of the amount of rest they've had. I see cranky tired children everywhere... let them sleep. Sleep begets sleep. And if your child wakes up at a pin drop, have them checked out by a competent medical professional. I know a gal whose 3 year old NEVER slept more than 90 minutes consecutively... that's not normal. He was lacking an important hormone.
- Why? I tease sometimes and tell people that I don't give them sugar because I'm too lazy to deal with the sugar high. That's part of it. But the other big reason is that I'm sensitive to sugar. I've found that I get a high then a subsequent crash with just a few grams of sugar. That's in part because I'm hypoglycemic, but if that happens to me and I weigh significantly more than they do, I figure that they can do without those undulations. My hope is that they won't be addicted to sugar like I am when they grow up.