Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What's your parenting style?

The other day, a friend asked me a very intriguing question:

What is your parenting style?

As simple as the question was, I found myself at a loss for words...I had never really taken the time to define my parenting style.  I fumbled my way through a description, constantly seeking her approval and understanding.  Then, in an attempt to distract the attention away from my rambling, redirected the same question to her.

Without skipping a beat, she eloquently laid out the expectations, methods and intentions behind her parenting style.  It was simple, succinct and straightforward.  She did not present it as if she were superior to me, or even as if her style was "right".  She just confidently described the way in which she brought up her children. 
I smiled and nodded and our conversation moved on to a different topic, but in the days that followed I found myself thinking about her question, and even more so, her response. 
What is my parenting style? 
I could easily define what it was NOT,
but couldn't seem to articulate what it was.

There's the helicopter mom, the doormat mom, the drill sergeant mom, the lazy mom, the active mom, the attached mom, the detached mom...
I fell somewhere between all these extremes, but wasn't sure where.
I had read a number of posts on mommy blogs that inspired me to be a better mom,
to yell less,
to clean more,
to be more fun and spontaneous, 
to create a routine/to break free from the same old routine
and on and on they go...
I aspired to be more like them. 
I tried out their methods, crafts, chore charts etc.
In a way, I'd been trying to define my parenting style by stealing bits and pieces from each one.
Then it hit me, the proverbial "aha moment".
I'm a "big picture" person, so I usually figure out what I want the end result to be and then work backward from there. For instance, if I am working on a project, I usually figure out what it will look like in the end and then lay out the steps that it will take to get there. 

What if instead of focusing on "how I parent my children?",
I shifted my focus to "what kind of adults do I want them to become?". 

I've always said I don't care if my kids are
the most academic,
or the most athletic,
or the most gifted musicians...
if they could just be genuinely kind-hearted, empathetic, and respectful,
and have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ,
that would be enough for me. 

So if that is the desired end result, what are the steps that it will take to achieve that?

Once the steps are laid out, how much easier is it to execute each one when you have the end result in mind?

How much more confident are you in your parenting when you know WHY you are doing things the way you are?

I'm only about 2 weeks late, but I'm ready to answer my friend's question now!
I'm a cultivating parent. 
cultivate (v): to promote or improve the growth of (a plant, crop, etc., my child)
by labor and attention
What's your parenting style?