Monday, March 15, 2010

Listen to your child; question yourself

A hypothetical: Electrical storms are going to wipe out the Internet (perhaps forever). You have one day left to write about your passions: what do you want to say to the blogosphere in 300 words or less?

father and toddler on the ferry boat

If I could sum up my parenting philosophy in — well, it's me, so I won't say one word, but a few words — I would say it's about respect and exploration.

Respect is about listening to your child's needs and honoring them. Exploration is questioning how things are done and being willing to break new ground — or return to ancient.

Respect: Listen to your child

Listen to your children's needs before their arrival, preparing your body and home. When you hear your baby’s first cries, respond to expectations by holding to your skin and feeding.

As your children grow, respond empathetically to their joy, grief, pain, adventuresomeness. Don't see conflict where there is none, but honor their emotions and seek to understand.

See in them not the seed of a person but a real person already — with wants, needs, preferences, and rights. Respect those rights, and meet those needs as you are able.

You won't parent perfectly, but take even mistakes as opportunity to listen harder.

Listen to your own intuition and honor its whispers.

Explore: Question yourself

Even as you seek your intuition, it might be clouded by indoctrination into a path not honoring your children or yourself.

mother and ERGO baby toddler on the ferryThink about the way you were raised — adopt only what is beneficial.

Think about the way the culture around you treats children — research and challenge. It may be you come back to the same conclusion you started with, but at least you will know why.

Continue listening to your children — individually — and be willing to change anything, even new parenting beliefs, to meet particular needs.

You will grow, respecting yourself and honoring your children's true selves. Your children will grow, confident of your love and their foothold on this planet.

This is my passion for both of us.

This post is an entry for Mabel’s Labels BlogHer 10 Contest. Stay tuned to see if I get to go...


travelbirds said...

That was really beautiful. I think if I'd have to label my parenting philosophy, respect would be the first word that comes out, too.

Lindsay said...

I especially love the part about a baby being a "real person". I unfortunately have some relatives who don't behave like they believe that, which has been an attitude I had to break away from. I think the generation of women becoming mothers now is a lot more willing than our own mothers were to question and break away from practices advocated and practiced by our families and doctors. And I think it's generally a good thing!

Unknown said...

Oh can I steal this idea? I love the idea of the one thing you would say if the Internet were goin away!

I love your parenting philosophy!

Anonymous said...

Love it. Simple, sweet and important. Those two things would definitely top my parenting philosophy.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful entry. Good luck!

Jessica said...

Yep. That pretty much sums up mine, too. It makes everything easier, if you ask me :)

Geeks in Rome said...

very nice! it's a delicate balance between intuition, limits and respect.

It's also amazing how many fewer conflicts there are when a home is set up for children. Italians have a tendency to have very museum-like homes where nothing can be touched and all must be neat so there is always a lot of yelling and boredom for children in those situations. I love our messy house where everything below adult waist level is pretty much game (except electrical outlets and the oven :)

Melodie said...

Nicely done. Good luck Lauren!

Robbie said...

Nicely put, thanks! I try my best to practice these things daily. I have recently been thinking about sayig "thank you" when someone compliments my boy. I don't say it. They aren't complimenting me, yet I feel like they are looking for that very response. I don't say it because he is not my property, and he is so wonderful & sweet, because of HIM. If I compliment a child, I address the child vs. the parent, regardless if they are speaking English, yet.I would love others input on this topic in a blog or something. Any suggestions? The topic being children treated like property, accessories, little performers here for our entertainment, second-class citizens,not "real people" yet, you know, all that jazz.

Lauren Wayne said...

Geeks in Rome: Totally agreed. Even with my already low standards on neatness and value of belongings, I've had to lower them even further to be comfortable with having a toddler. I just can't get hung up on whether my child plays with the knickknacks or writes on his books. I find the more I respect his care for objects, the more he respects them. He doesn't always view objects with the same perspective (ie, books aren't for coloring vs they are), but he is being very respectful in his own way, not mindlessly destructive. Anyway, it's been interesting watching the changes this has necessitated in me!

Robbie: I love your perspective of complimenting the child and speaking directly to him or her. I don't have a specific article to link you to that addresses the topic of speaking to children, but I do have a few that address respect of children. They're at the bottom of this post: Crying it out vs. the responsiveness of attachment parenting. One of my faves listed there is Raising My Boychick's Dancing between the tables: on the personhood of children. But I would love to explore this topic even more in the future. I've always had a problem with, and this will seem trivial, people who talk about dressing their babies as if they're dolls. It just seemed so skewed to me, right from the very beginning, an idea that a baby exists to please the parent. No problem enjoying dressing a baby and choosing cute clothes; I just mean I've heard a certain type of language from certain people. I will have to delve into that more in the future. Thanks!

Luschka said...

Really beautiful post, totally inspirational. I agree so much with the 'research & challenge' concept. It has been my mantra since the day I found out I was pregnant.

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