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.
Think 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...