Friday, May 20, 2016

(more) Thoughts on Parenting

I'd like to point out that this is not parenting advice. I've been an active parent for about nine months, so I don't even presume to think I have enough years under my belt to start theorizing about raising children.

This is more of a collection of my thoughts about how I want to parent in the coming years. To gather my ideas on raising Reuben and of course, for you to tell me how you want to raise your kids. And, if you've been a parent for a few years longer than me, please by all means critique this. Even if you are not a parent, I would love to hear your thoughts as well.

My first desire is to raise Reuben in a Christian home. I know most of this will be done by example. I want to show him a mom who reads her bible, who prays and who memorizes scripture. I want to be active in my church and will require him to attend church as well. I know that he may never accept Christ, and I am honestly okay with that. I feel so much peace about it--because I know it is up to God to reveal himself to my son, and my "job" is only to seek after God with all my heart.

I reread my parenting fears post and honestly laughed. I don't have any of those fears anymore! My main fear is that he'll grow up so fast and it will pass in a blink. He's so wonderful.

For the younger years: we have decided not to spank our children. Now, my mom spanked me and I do not feel it was abuse: she did so ethically and not in anger, and quit by the time I was 7 (so it was only when we were very young). I was not afraid of her. I have just decided that spanking is not for me. There are many other ways of disciplining and disciplining; spanking does not have to be a part of it.

I want my kids to be kids. No electronic devices: I want to be outside, or doing an activity inside. No more than 30 min of tv time a day, I want them growing and learning and interacting with their environment. My 11 year old will not have a personal cell phone. He will not have an iPad. He will not have unfettered access to the internet, or a computer or television in his room. I want to make this normal: I don't want him asking for these things or being surly about it (but I can't know for sure how this will be). He will have lots of books. I am sure I will screen his books when he is very young, but eventually I will move away from that and let him choose what he reads. If he is an advanced reader like I was, I don't want him to read about a sex scene or orgy when he is eight. He may not even like books and may prefer legos for hours or something. Who knows?

No sleepovers. This is not negotiable. As for going out alone with friends or on dates (I have a no dating before 16 rule) it would depend on how responsible he is. Can he or his date drive? Do I have to drive him? All those things I would have to take into account. Certainly by 16 I will let him go out in groups and with friends and other families, if he wishes. And get his drivers license.

what parenting looks like now, mostly
I've had lots of thoughts about food. Should he be paleo like me? Or hybrid like daddy? I don't even want to use the words "bad food" or make him think eating is sinful (I mean, eating can be sinful as overeating or indulging, but I don't want my mannerisms and words to lead him in that direction). My thoughts on this is that I will not talk about food much. I'll just cook and offer and let him eat what he wants, and if daddy wants to take him to fast food for a special son/dad date, then that is perfectly fine.

My main parenting mantra, besides wanting a christian foundation, is that of more and more freedom as he grows. For example, I go back with him to the doctor, and probably will until he hits around 15/16, or if he asks to go alone sooner. What I don't want is to shelter him until he is 18 and for him to suddenly have a bunch of freedom--I want to give him bits and pieces of freedom really slowly while I am here to monitor it and pull back if he disobeys or isn't ready. This way it isn't all at once: its gradual. By 18 he should come to me for advice if he wants to (and I hope he does, but it's his own choice) but his choices from then on are that: his choices. I can give council but not ultimatums. At 16 he should be making most of his own choices too, but with me watching and guiding and offering feedback. 16 is making choices in a safe environment (our home) so that 18 he will be ready to make them on his own. I don't really know exactly how this will go but this is my current idea on how to parent.

I want to homeschool, and plan on doing that until high-school age. At that time I will offer to continue homeschooling or put them in a Christian school if they want. They can try it for a year or stay home or go for all four years. Public school is not something I would ever consider for my children.

I think parenting is fluid. As these are just my thoughts about possibilities in the future, they should and could change at any time. The main thing I want to do have a loving home and raise a son in a Christian environment.