Ben and I are super lucky in that we come from incredible parents that all love us, love our kids, were always able to provide great opportunities for us, prioritized family over all other areas of their lives, taught us good strong values, came to all of our athletic contests, punished us appropriately when we misbehaved, spoiled us just the right amount, still emphasize the importance of staying in touch with your siblings and their families, teach us things like how to change a window screen and how to financially plan for our future, and call to remind us to wish our family members a happy birthday on their special day 🙂
We know how lucky are that we have always gotten those things, and still get more every day, from our parents and how they have always chose to raise us…because we all know that the parenting role never ends, right? They still parent us in the way that they each individually believe to be right.
But, what we find to be so interesting is that while we have learned those things from them and try so hard to teach our own kids all of those things, the way we parent our own children is so dramatically different from how our own parents raised us.
We walk around naked. We make dance videos. We post just about everything on social media. We sleep in the same beds together and spoon so strong. We have different guidelines for “socializing” with friends. We encourage publicizing our faults, insecurities, and the way we are so “abnormal” and “untraditional”. We have step-parents and step-siblings and friends that we, literally, consider members of our family. We have an open door policy. We keep very few secrets from our kids…on almost all levels. We are very strict about keeping sugar, processed foods, and bread out of our home…or, at least in very limited amounts. We talk about sex. We regularly want to know what our worst qualities are so we can fix them. If they don’t want to eat, we don’t make them. And, we never make our kids wear coats outside because if they’re cold enough, they’ll ask for something.
Having said all of that, we know our way isn’t the “right” way. It’s right for us and our situation and our particular family dynamic, but it’s definitely not some sort of gold standard. Not even a little bit.
I guess the point I’m trying to make is that you have to do what you believe is right for you. You need to take from all of your experiences, figure out what things you believe in and what ones you don’t, and be open to change and trusting your instinct.
And, I think one of the most important things we do pretty well is this: we are always hungry for learning and getting better. We will take advice and listen to stories from anyone willing to share with us. It doesn’t matter if your kid is a high school drop out or a teenage mom. We want to hear it all so we can figure out how to constantly tweak and change our “way”.
Because our way is only our way until a better way comes along.