WRITTEN BY: GERI ASH
One thing that I learned from my mother is that my feelings are valid. That I should express them and not hold things in (something I'm still working on). When I became a mom fourteen years ago, I adopted particular principles of parenthood from my mom. I never wanted to tell my son Devin who he was or would become. Devin has been able to dress, date, think, worship, and speak the way he wants too. I was more interested in seeing this creature develop into someone magnificent. I wanted him to become who God created him to be. I felt like as his mom it was my job to aspire him not dictates every moment in his life. He is aware that he should respect adults. He knows this because of what I've shown him through me and my mom's relationship; not because I lecture him about it. I am a firm believer in teaching children through your actions. Let's admit it; sometimes words don't mean shit. Be the example for your children!
Now that I'm in love with a man that has three children I incorporate this style of parenting with them while they are at our house. Thankfully my boyfriend grew up with a similar background. He was able to talk to his parents about anything. I never wanted to have children that were afraid to speak to me because of how I might react. I want them to come to me when they got a crush on someone, if they are thinking about having sex, or if they get bullied at school. We have an open forum in our house. It usually happens around dinner time. The kids are allowed to express themselves openly without judgment. They can say that they are pissed off or if someone is a jackass without Mike and me flipping out on them. We all participate. Being a parent is a combination of knowing what is going on with your children's emotions. I can look at these kids and see that they need to talk. I don't like that kid’s hold in their feelings because they might get in trouble for having an opinion. I tell the kids all the time that their feelings matter. Mike and I never want to flex our authority so much that the kids wish they were somewhere else. That doesn't make you a good parent; it makes you a correctional officer with inmates.
Parents if you expect your kids to do things you couldn't accomplish yourself you might want to look in the mirror. It is not fair to push your aspirations on to your children. They were created to write their story not to revise yours. Sometimes as parents we put too many expectations on our kids. We never think about the pressure they could be facing on a day to day base. Home should be a safe space to where everyone is understood and respected. I remember being in middle school and my friends coming to my house to talk to my mom about sex or how to use a condom. They refused to go to their parents because they were afraid of the reaction they would receive. It shouldn't be that way. We can't be naive to the fact that little girls become attracted to boys around the age of thirteen. They might speak on the phone or hang out with a group of friend. We as parents cannot cancel out their attraction to someone. We have to let them be who they are.
What ways do you allow your children to communicate? When they speak to you about certain things how do you react? Do you take things away from your children when you don't agree with their choices? How did you grow up communicating with your parents? Do you incorporate your parent's style of parenting?
Thanks for reading,