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  • Writer's pictureChristina Rhyser

How to CLARIFY our Parenting Philosophy

bronze sculpture of the thinker to represent philosphy

Dear Christy,


Am I being too strict? I believe that kids should be respectful and well-behaved and that means they need discipline. I don't want to be one of those dads at the mercy of my kids thinking they run the show. I don't hit them or anything, but I do expect them to follow the rules and there are consequences when they don't. The problem is my kids don't really want to spend much time with me because of it. Maybe that's the trade I have to make? I'm their dad, not their friend but should I also force them to do family things together? They're not even teenagers yet but I see bad attitudes developing and it's mostly aimed at me. My wife is much softer on them so of course they prefer her. I don't think it's fair though. Am I supposed to just let them do whatever they want?


I feel lost... help?

Jason


 

Dear Jason,


Thanks for your open, honest question - it's a tricky one that's for sure and one that every single parent needs to navigate in some form. It all boils down to our parenting philosophy. What do we want for and from our kids, and why? Where do our expectations come from? Are they working for us? Do we want to keep trying the same thing or is it time to consider new ideas?


There is no single right or wrong answer for anyone. The important thing is to understand what we believe and why, then implement strategies to support it. Bonus if both parents are on the same page but that isn't always possible.


Many parents ask about parenting strategies so I put together an article with some suggestions. Check it out and let me know if you need some extra help to navigate the specifics.


Good luck!

Christy


 

PARENTING PHILOSOPHY


Parenting is a journey filled with joys, challenges, and countless decisions. From the moment our children enter the world, we are faced with choices that shape their lives and our own. But behind every decision lies a deeper philosophy—a set of values, beliefs, and principles that guide our approach to parenting. Yet, often these beliefs operate beneath the surface, influencing our actions and reactions without our conscious awareness. In this blog post, we'll explore the importance of clarifying our parenting philosophy, identifying our core values and beliefs, and cultivating a framework that prioritizes grace, honor, and choice.


Unpacking Our Worldview

Our worldview, or the lens through which we perceive the world, is shaped by a multitude of factors, including our upbringing, culture, religion, and life experiences. From an early age, we absorb messages about what it means to be a parent, how children should be raised, and what constitutes "good" or "bad" behavior. These beliefs become deeply ingrained within us, influencing our parenting choices and behaviours.


However, not all beliefs are created equal. Some may be rooted in love, empathy, and respect, while others may be tinged with judgment, control, or fear. To become conscious parents, it's essential to examine our worldview and discern which beliefs align with our values and which ones detract from our ability to parent with compassion and integrity.


Identifying Our Core Values, Beliefs and Parenting Philosophy

To clarify our parenting philosophy, we must first identify our core values and beliefs. These are the principles that guide our actions and decisions, shaping the kind of parents we aspire to be. Reflecting on our upbringing, personal experiences, and the kind of environment we wish to create for our children can help uncover these underlying values.

Ask yourself questions such as:

  • What qualities do I hope to instill in my children?

  • What kind of relationship do I want to have with my children?

  • How do I want to respond to challenges and conflicts in parenting?

  • What values do I want to model for my children?

By exploring these questions with honesty and introspection, we can gain clarity on the values and beliefs that underpin our parenting philosophy.


Choosing Grace, Honor, and Choice

With a deeper understanding of our worldview and core values, we can intentionally choose a parenting philosophy that embodies grace, honor, and choice. Here's how we can incorporate these principles into our approach to parenting:

  1. Grace: Embrace the concept of grace in parenting by offering unconditional love, acceptance, and forgiveness to ourselves and our children. Recognize that we are all imperfect beings, and mistakes are inevitable on the journey of parenting. By extending grace to ourselves and our children, we create an environment of trust, empathy, and growth.

  2. Honor: Honor the individuality and autonomy of each child by respecting their thoughts, feelings, and perspectives. Avoid imposing rigid expectations or labels onto your children, and instead, celebrate their unique strengths, interests, and identities. Show appreciation for their efforts and accomplishments, no matter how big or small, and cultivate a sense of dignity and worthiness within them.

  3. Choice: Empower your children to make choices and take ownership of their actions. Offer them opportunities to express their preferences, make decisions, and learn from the consequences of their choices. Encourage open communication and collaboration, allowing them to participate in problem-solving and decision-making processes. By honoring their autonomy and agency, we instill a sense of self-confidence and resilience in our children.


Understanding Common Triggers

As we strive to embody grace, honor, and choice in our parenting, it's important to recognize our common triggers—those situations or behaviors that evoke strong emotional responses within us. These triggers often stem from unresolved issues or unmet needs from our own childhoods, and they can cloud our judgment and influence our interactions with our children.


By identifying our triggers and exploring their underlying causes, we can respond to challenging situations with greater empathy and awareness. Practicing self-regulation techniques such as deep breathing, mindfulness, and positive self-talk can help us navigate these triggers more effectively and maintain emotional equilibrium in the heat of the moment.


CONCLUSION:

Clarifying our parenting philosophy is an ongoing journey of self-discovery, reflection, and growth. By examining our worldview, identifying our core values and beliefs, and intentionally choosing to parent with grace, honor, and choice, we create a nurturing and empowering environment for ourselves and our children. Embracing this philosophy allows us to cultivate deeper connections, foster resilience, and nurture the inherent potential within each child. As we navigate the challenges and triumphs of parenthood, let us remember the power of conscious choice and the transformative impact of parenting with love, compassion, and integrity.


 

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