Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Today I am enough


The world's myriad of parenting ideas, wisdom and advice floating around can leave me panting in anxiety. Recently I've read books, articles, Facebook posts, and blogs that have taught the following:

Praise your children--positive reinforcement is the best way to encourage good behavior.
Don't over praise your children--kids shouldn't think that everything they do is fantastic when they are simply meeting expectations.
Don't praise your child's accomplishments, praise their work ethic--NOT "you're such a great artist," INSTEAD "you worked very hard on that picture." You know, because if you simply tell your kid they're a good artist, that could just blow their world to bits.

Spanking is child abuse--It only teaches them to hit others.
Spanking is biblical--Those who "spare the rod" hate their children.

Sacrifice all for your children--When you chose to become a parent, you decide to make your life about your children. Everything else is secondary.
Don't let your world revolve around your children--Kids today are so dependent because we teach them they are the center of the world.

Foster a strong work ethic--Children can do household chores as young as two or three.
Let kids be kids--Don't drown your children in jobs. This is the only time in their lives they get to be kids.

Let babies cry it out. A baby can't be spoiled. Pay allowance. No allowance. Forget sleepovers. Monitor their Facebook account. Breastfeed. Wean at 1. Wean at 3. Keep their carseat rear facing until they are 6'4 and 200 pounds.

The shoulds and should-nots go on and on and on.

Just when I think I'm doing a good job with my children, and that they're developing into happy adults, some new wisdom tells me I've done it all wrong and they're likely to end up in therapy because of my mistakes.

Enough!

I think the information age has made parents lose some common sense and trust in our own abilities. I firmly believe God hand picked each of us to be the parents of our individual children, and we know what is best for them. There is no "one size fits all" parent.

So today I'm telling myself I am doing a good job. I am doing a dang good job! And I think its OK to acknowledge my abilities for once instead of wallowing in the feelings of how I miss the perfect parent mark.

My kids may watch a little too much TV. They may eat a little too much sugar. They may have sibling arguments every single time we get in the car. And I might yell too much. But there are lots of things we do right.

We pray. We read scripture. We have holiday traditions. We have monthly Dad interviews and monthly testimony meetings. We have "special dates" with each of our kids. Our kids get tucked in every night. Their homework is usually done. They are usually clean. They are always fed. They have had some exposure to books and reading every day. They make it to school. They go to church. They play. They have chores. We go to the movies, on hikes, to festivals, and on drives together. We teach them about sex. We kiss in front of them. We fight in front of them too. We hold Family Home Evening. We talk about safety. We praise their abilities and their work ethic. We tell them they are beautiful and handsome. We go on trips. We talk about what we're thankful for. We are frugal. We try to know them each individually and provide opportunities for growth in the areas that pertain to their talents and desires. We talk about our children and their needs. We eat healthy and we eat unhealthy. We walk and ride bikes. We hug. We kiss. We love each other.

And today, that is enough. That is more than enough.