"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." A.A. Milne

Friday, October 28, 2011

Trusting Your Instincts

We decided long ago to follow a different parenting path. We have a rather specific idea of how it would go. We would be child led in pretty much everything. We would trust our instincts and not buy into the baby gurus. We would pray. We looked for the natural and logical path for raising our children. We would not let everyone in our lives have a vote in raising our children. If we did, we would go insane and we knew this. We were set on our course.

I am so glad we were and more importantly we were on the same page as parents. We would have never weathered the coming storm nearly as well if we had not been firm in our committment.

Our basic philosophy was we would follow a path of gentle, non-shaming, non-punitive, non-manipulative parenting. We would feed our children when they were hungry eshewing schedules. We would snuggle and love on our children without fear of spoiling them. We would not condemn our crying 10 month for being manipulative. Instead we believed she was trying to communicate with us in the only manner she had available. We would not constantly be vigilant for the for the much dreaded sin nature. Instead we would look to see what was age appropriate developments and go from there.

There were so many people in our lives simply horrified by our beliefs. We were told that we would ruin our children. We would teach them to be selfish self-centered brats and they would control our lives. How would we get anything done if we didn't immediately get them on a sleeping and eating schedule??? It would be anarchy! And my favorite, if we did not spank our children we would put them outside the grace of God. Didn't know we were that powerful did you? You thought Christ did it all but evidently not hitting our children could undo His work.

But we held our ground. We used gentle methods. We introduced our children to healthy food and allowed them to decide what and how much they ate. We let Hannah potty train when she was ready. Low and behold after all the threats that if I didn't crack down on her it would never happen, she potty trained herself in 2 days when she was 3.5 year old. There were no fights, no screaming, and no threats. Just a couple of parents dancing around like hyperactive cheerleaders on speed and some M&Ms.

I will be honest, in some ways we have felt downright bullied for our beliefs. The shaming, punitive mindset, and fear-ongering we desired to shelter our children from was dumped all over us. A few of you may know it just caused us to dig our heels in deeper and hold tighter to each other.

Well, it is working. Our children are only 2 and 4. I am sure there are people out there thinking, even hoping, we will be taught a lesson as they grow older. But I don't think so. Our children are happy, loving, and age appropriate. No they don't always do as they are asked. They are kids. I don't want children who fear the consequences. They are strong willed and full of fire. And I love it. They will be leaders, not followers. They will make some poor choices but I know it will be their choice and not something they just went along with because someone else told them to do it.

I am writing this because I know there are some out there who want to follow this path but they are afraid. They are afraid all the naysayers and grace stealers might be right and they could ruin their children if they are too loving, too compassionate, or too merciful. Don't be. They will be fine.

I look at how God parents me. He is forver loving, merciful, and compassionate. He doesn't hurt me or scare me into doing things His way. He doesn't shoot lightening bolts down to hit me when I choose to do wrong. His patience is infinite. Yes, there are times natural consequences are hard to deal with but they are natural consequences not hardships He set up to punish me.

So trust your instincts. Listen to what your heart is telling you. There is a voice in there guiding you how to love, honor, and respect your children. In turn it will teach them to love, honor, and respect others.

We are so happy we chose this path. We love the relationship we have with our children. We are so excited to see where this journey will take us.

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