What is the most important thing you want to help provide for your children as you are raising them?
Think about not what you want them to be, but ONE SINGLE THING you can provide for them every day that can foster their growth and development (other than food, clothing, shelter and education).
I see 100s of posts, articles and blogs about raising awesome kids and I feel like I ignore most of them. I don’t usually go searching for some advice on how to raise my children. I have been listening to a bunch of books-on-tape/audiobooks in the car during my commute and have occasionally listened to some quasi-parenting books that fit my mindset – not necessarily books that tell you how to parent but more books about what you want for your life and your family’s future. Much of what I’ve been listening to have resonated deeply for me and I will post about other things as they formulate in my head. But for me, I’ve been thinking about one simple question.
What kind of home will I provide?
I do want to raise a kid who is kind, motivated, resilient and morally sound. I want my children to be great people and have happiness and success. But I think instead of trying so hard to make all of those things happen, what I really, really want to do for them is to provide a home that is full of LOVE and CONNECTION. The biggest thing I’ve learned in the past few years is that CONNECTION (which includes LOVE and BELONGING) is the most important thing to your children as they grow up. If they don’t have love and connection at home, they will look to their peers. And we all know how unconditional (NOT) peer support can be through our development years. For me right now, the most important thing is that I realize how much what I do, not what I say really is. And how I need to walk the walk to really make this a reality for our home.
I’m starting off with the visual reminders that can help nudge us along the way. I was thinking about those FAMILY RULES posters that you see everywhere. It made me think that I want our own set of rules that my family has crafted and wants to live by. So, I’m going to write up a few for a family meeting and make it into our own poster once we feel like we have a good foundation.
Here’s what I have so far:
• This home is your safe place
• We will not judge or shame here
• You are special and important, warts and all
• We will not name-call, we will use nice words (especially with ourselves)
• We can do hard things
• We will embrace failure and challenges
• We will practice gratitude
• Easy, fun and fast isn’t the value we strive for
• We will make time for each other and unplug together
• We will go on adventures (and mystery rides) together
• We will play and be silly and creative together without fear or judgment
• We are always learning and developing together
• We are interested in each other’s growth
The shifts may be slow and awkward and maybe weird but I think we are almost there already. As parents, we will focus on walking the walk, constantly, in everything we do and how we deal with things. At dinner, bedtime or other time that we have each other’s undivided attention free from distractions, our discussions will be more focused on:
- Something new we learned today
- A mistake we made & learned from
- An obstacle or stressor or fear
- What kind of things we want to do together
- Kind talk – no shame
- What we are thankful or happy about today
We will make sure that the moms are practicing the mantras and that we can call each other out when we are blatantly forgetting one of our mantras! I’d love to hear if anyone else has family rules, guidelines or mantras.
NOTE: There are 2 books that I’ve really enjoyed lately related to this topic and credit should be given to them if I’ve lifted any ideas, words or suggestions:
The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting by Brené Brown (yes, everyone knows how much I love her. I do recommend the audio version on this one because, well, it’s Brené)
Parenting without Power Struggles by Susan Stiffelman (I listened to this in audio form, which was tough – I recommend the written version)