Today’s writing prompt is “Core Values.” Since today is my son’s birthday, I’m going to write about my “Core Values” as a parent who has raised five children. This is NOT a comprehensive list of my parenting ideals/values, just the first things that popped into my head when I started the timer:
I raised my kids with respect. I respected them as humans, as the adults that I was raising, not as kids who were mine to control (Or to live through vicariously). That does NOT mean that they got to do whatever they wanted, not at all (just ask them). BUT that I respected their differences, helped and encouraged them in their strengths and maybe most importantly, expected (and received) that same respect back from them. It works wonders.
So many people say that you shouldn’t be your kids’ friend. I think that’s bullshit. Yeah, if you’re talking about being that pushover friend that let’s them get away with anything so that they still think you’re cool… don’t do that. But it kind of just blends with the above statement. Mutual respect.
I was my kids “friend” in the way that they always knew that they could come to me and talk about anything. ANYTHING. They talked to me about friendships, heartaches, alcohol, drugs, sex, girlfriend/boyfriends, religion, future plans and goals, beliefs, all of it.
We still to this day have the type of relationship where every one of my kids talks to me about the things in their lives. Most of them are grown and out of the house, but they stop by often and we talk about alllll sorts of things.
Treat Them Differently
Another thought on parenting is the idea that you should treat all of your kids the same. I fully disagree with that. I don’t even think that you can treat them all “equally” all the time, because all kids are SO different. Again, I think it comes back to the first two. If you respect your child for who they are AND you take time to have a real relationship with them, then you will know or learn what they need from you. Kids need for you to help guide them, to find their talents, their strengths and their “bent” (that thing that brings out the passion in them, the things that they are naturally good at, lean towards and want out of life.)
One Last thought on that subject: Learn the Five love languages and give your child the type of love that They Need. Not what is easiest for you to give, but what they need. More importantly, talk to them about love languages and explain what your is, what you think theirs is an WHY you make the choices you do. It will help them to think outside of themselves and help them in their own relationships with you, their siblings, their friendships, everything.