12 August 2012

Why I am a stricter mom.....

This post is not about me having the one-and-only formula to be the perfect mom or to have the perfect kids. It is just about me being me and to be true to myself. It is about what works for US, for now..... that does not say that I know it all, nor does it say it will always work this way. Circumstances can change, and when the time comes, we will adjust to that.

I am a strict mom.

Yep, it is out now! I've outed myself, and chased half of my readers away..... But I kind of like it. Even though I have to admit that it is not easy to find a good balance between the love-you-all-the-time-no-matter-what attitude, and between the tough love that children sometimes need from their parents. After all, as parents, we love our children, and because of this love, we feel the need to discipline them.

So yes, I can be tough. On my kids. Sometimes, the Hubby says, I can be too tough. That is hard to hear. Because I DO love my kids so much. They are the most important thing in my life. I feel motherhood is a calling for me. I have fun being a mom.  I love to spend time with my kids.

So why am I strict?
Good question!
Well, I have this big fear of adolescents that are completely out of control! I mean lying, stealing, drugs, unemployment, .... to name just a few. And I really do not want my kids to be part of this!
No, I can not look into the future, and I can not predict, that after all my hard work, they won't turn 'bad' anyways. I can't. All I can do now, is to teach them right, teach them about good choices, about God, and PRAY! Pray that they will copy us, as parents, to make good, or preferably better choices! Pray that if they do fall off the right path, they will come back to the right one. Pray that I will keep my promise to them of always being there for them. Pray that we all become wiser through the process.

So it makes more sense to me to lay down strict rules NOW and loosen them up once they understand what obedience means. Obedience to their parents AND to God. I believe that the only thing God requires us to do is to OBEY. He gave us a free will, but He wants us to obey Him. Because He knows what is best for us. And obeying Him shows our love for Him.
I think this is the same with children. We want them to obey us, because as adults, we know what is best for them. We are able to protect them from harm. We are able to make good choices for them, as an example. And hopefully, one day, they will copy us, because they see that it works. Through our kids obedience, they show us that they are listening and learning, and that they are loving us. That obedience results into the family's harmony. And who doesn't want to live in harmony with their family members?!

Raising children means to shape them, to prepare them for real life. A life without us as their guides. And that life is not always easy, and can come with alot of trials. Raising means guiding them through the good times and the tough times. It means teaching them to make choices every day. And when they make bad choices, we are there to catch them and put them back on the right track.

Being strict does NOT mean to talk down to the kids! It means laying down the law; it means having a strong guidance and showing them cause and effect in a system of punishment for misbehavior, and praise for good choices. 
As adults, we have to follow the laws of government, so kids need to be taught HOW to follow those rules. First there are our rules as parents, later they include also the rules of the school, then college, and then work. Teaching them HOW to follow rules is very essential, because there is no way around them. We all have to pay taxes, if we want or not. Sometimes we have no choice. They need to learn that their actions are causing reactions in the world, even when that 'world' is just their family for now. But they will get bigger, and their world will become larger, which means that actions will effect more and more people around them.

So I am talking about necessary discipline that is always presented with LOVE. My kids know that they are loved no matter what! We tell them that we love them always. That we love them when they are good, and that we love them when they are making bad choices. We are their security net when they fall. We love them.
And we tell them that what we don't LIKE are their actions! And to teach them that difference is important. I want my children to know how to behave around other people, how to treat them, and that their actions can cause happiness or suffering for other people. I want them to be considerate of others. I want them to be polite. So thank-you's and please's are not just optional, they are a must! Without the 'magic word', Mami is not budging. Saying 'I am sorry' is only acceptred when it is meant as a sorry. I also think to say NO to my kids will teach them that they don't always get what they want in life. This is a very important lesson to learn! Life is just not always fair.

Now there is no perfect formula for raising your kids! We all have to make choices that work for OUR family only. What works for us, might not work for another family.
But what I find so important is that we as parents can support each other without pointing fingers of righteousness. We are not failing when things don't work out. We are just being tested - and believe me, I have had my share of testing. And I KNOW that we are not at the end of the road. My oh-so-defiant middle child is only three..... so I see a long road of trial and error in front of me. But I believe in ME, and I believe in HER. And I believe that we can make this..... to a loving relationship.

Now what does that mean for MY life right now? Sacrifice! Big time. I have to sacrifice my own time to spend it with THEM! I believe the younger they are, the more time we should spend with them. Why? To nip any bad small behavior in the butt before it becomes a big problem. So as a mom, I do not get to go out with my friends all the time - I go on play dates for my children. I don't get to watch TV all day long, because I think that it would be bad for them. So if the TV is on during the day, it's a kid-friendly program. It also means that I get to spend most of my free time with my amazing children. I get to see their first step, how they learn to dress themselves, to write and to read, how they become their own little personalities. And I think it's a privilege.
Our days are spent with playing games, sometimes games I don't necessarily want to play, but I do it anyways because I might be able to teach them something - like how to be a good loser, or how to count, or how to let the ladies go first (to be a gentlemen). But they need to know that I am there for them - especially as a stay-at-home-homeschooling mom. It means I hide in the shower playing hide-and-seek. It means gluing pieces of paper all over a pretend robot. It means to build a volcano out of clay and try to explode it. It means to dress that doll with real cloth diapers and real baby clothes for my pretty girl. It means putting a theater show together with puppets. Or putting lap books together - those are a big hit these days.

It also means NOT to do things I like, at least not as much as I would like to. I can't read all day. I can't saw all day. I can't get a bucket of ice cream and veg in front of the TV. I can't talk on the phone all day with my friends - even though I would really like to that.

I am their example. And I want to be a good one.

So this is my little philosophy for today. Parenting is not easy, but for me, it's a calling and I want to try to do my best to fulfill that calling. It's  a privilege and a blessing to be their Mami.


C. Beth said...

I think this sentence you wrote is key: "But what I find so important is that we as parents can support each other without pointing fingers of righteousness." And I think there are lots of parenting philosophies that work, but they all must be done with love, love, love, and that is what you do!

Leslie said...

i love the last bit! Thats how i view my parenting right now. a lot of play and silliness and yes, sacrifice.