Tuesday, October 25, 2011

one night, two posts aka Parenting again

Now that I've confessed the thing that's been eating at me this evening....let's talk about something else.  How about more parenting stuff?

How do you choose a parenting philosophy?

Well, you don't.  That is to say, you don't want to strictly adhere to one particular parenting philosophy.  I, personally, feel that you should read a lot and glean as much information about a number of parenting philosophies.  Why?

Well, a friend of mine said to me once that you can fix anything with duct tape and WD40.  (Can it fix the leak in my ceiling that I discovered today?  Having a bad day, sorry.)  Yes, they are good "fixes."  But if a plumber showed up at your door with only those two items, you'd probably not hire him again.  Most plumbers walk in with the main tools in their belt or tool box.  They access the problem.  If they discover that your leaking ceiling seriously needs something else then what they brought in (perhaps a new drainage system for the shower in the apartment above us), then they probably have that in the "truck" or will order it. 

To me it's like parenting.  Yes there are two things that can work for most any situation, but you wouldn't be a good parent if that's all that's in your tool box.  And hopefully, you've read enough or are willing to read outside your comfort zone to find something else should those tools that you come equipped with not fix the situation. 

Shouldn't one parenting philosophy be better than the others?  Certainly there are some parenting philosophy's that are better than the others and some that are worse.  Joshua Komisarjevsky, whose on trial for a killing a woman and her two daughters during a home invasion, can attest to the fact that some parenting philosophies are borderline abusive. 

However, it's easy to root out the stinky parenting philosophies from those that you should have in your tool box.  Research them.  If you find the media has reported on how one particular parenting philosophy (*cough* the Pearls) is linked to a child's death, then I suggest you not even bother.  Other's, like Dobson's book The Strong-Willed Child, are more controversial.  The title doesn't necessarily tell you everything, but it can clue you in.  Things like "gentle" or "positive" in the title are talking about one style of parenting.  And obviously "strong-willed" evokes something else, but not necessarily something to disregard.  I would read people's reviews, particularly the views of someone raised in that style.  I would also read the book having those reviews in mind.  You may find there is something if only one thing that might be helpful and the rest purely garbage.

How do you know if it's garbage?  Well, if it's not working for you then it's garbage.  If it doesn't make sense to you or doesn't fit in with your family particularly your child's personality, then it's garbage.  Don't continue to use stuff that isn't working.  If you've given it a good try, then it's time to try something else.

Why have a bunch of tools?  Because every child is different and every family is different.  There's a whole debate about nurture versus nature.  So no one parenting philosophy is going to fit perfectly with every child in your household.

Segue to Nature versus Nurture 

Now I've said this before, that I was spanked.  And obviously I turned out just fine.  A lot of people say this.  A lot of people like Joshua grew up in strict households or were abused.  Not all of them are in jail cells.  Would you say that molesting a child is a great parenting style because the vast majority of those children aren't criminals?  No, of course not.  Child molestation is horrible.  The likelihood of a person under Joshua's circumstances turning to a life of crime is certainly higher, but no more definitive for an individual then a child who grew up in a loving nurturing household growing up to be the mayor.  Sometimes nature plays a role too.

I'm sure you've heard it yourself.  "I just don't understand how Sally could have turned out so bad.  Her parents were so great with her."  Yes, one could speculate that maybe Sally's parents sexually abused her under the nose of her neighbors.  But it's also just as likely that they were great parents and Sally just has other physical issues.  Perhaps Sally is bi-polar.  Perhaps Sally experience abuse at the hands of someone else.  Raising a child isn't as simple as checking a box.  We all spend a lot of time on our knees hoping that no matter what happens we don't screw them up for life or that life doesn't screw them up or that whatever they will physically struggle with, God will help them overcome it.  Just ask St. Monica.  If there's anyone to emulate about how to deal with a child, that's the person.  Get on your knees.  Forget about which particular parenting philosophy to follow.  They are meant to be tools, but they are not cure-alls. 

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I love to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!