Sometimes when I finish a post, I laugh at myself as I shake my head and say to myself, “You really need to take your own advice” haha. I mean seriously, I hope you all realize that people who blog about different topics, or teach, or preach, or life coach, or whatever, do not have it all together. I have to admit, many times my posts are just me speaking to myself! Today is one of those posts, although I hope you all get something out of this one, too!
I recently raved about a book that has been rocking my world! This book, Families Where Grace is in Place, by Jeff VanVonderen, is so timely it’s ridiculous! I began reading it forever ago and for some reason never finished it. When I picked it back up, it was just what I needed. I am generally not a self-help book kind of woman, but this book somewhat fits in that category. My on-going struggle right now is with the topic of discipline for my kids, specifically my oldest, Makenzie. This spunky 3-year-old girl tries me on a regular basis! It seems that when I made the commitment to stop yelling, she decided to turn up her antics and try me even more. So, we struggle.
Like any parent, my husband and I are trying different discipline methods, just looking for one that “works” (that might be a whole other post in itself). A Facebook associate of mine recently posted an article talking about how corporal punishment (aka spanking), as a discipline method, breeds violent kids. A dialogue ensued on the post and people chimed in about their thought on spanking or not spanking a child. Funny thing is many of them prefaced their comments with, “I am not a parent but…”. I don’t like to tell anyone they can’t have an opinion on roles they don’t personally fill, but all I can say is until you are in the actual shoes of parenting it really is hard to speak on any aspect of it. As my Dad would have said, “you can have as many degrees as an oven” and think you are an expert at child development. However, it is not the same as actually raising and taking care of children on a daily basis.
Sadly, I was once one those people who spoke on parenting/judged, out of turn, and now I promise God is sitting back laughing at me! In a nutshell, I realized that there are soooooooo many opinions, research, evidence, examples, suggestions, etc. on parenting and how to do it all. However, at the beginning and end of the day there is no one way to parent. There is no parenting class required before getting pregnant and having a child. Most of us just parent based on our own upbringing. You pick a method and just hope it works. Then an article comes out and says the method you picked will cause your child to have “X”. Then you panic a little and feel like you must go back to the drawing board. Too much stress!
As I commented on the post regarding discipline, it is all a gamble. We cannot rely solely on a parenting book, or opinion, or suggestions, or body of research. We really have to focus on learning our children and parenting according to that child’s particular needs. This is what author, Jeff VanVonderen, has taught me most in his book. There is an endless amount of good information in his book, much of which I would like to implement in some form. However, he talks immensely about knowing your child and making sure you do what works for them. This has been my prayer with Makenzie and Brayden. I have literally been praying for God to show me how to parent them. After all, He made them! He knows what will get their attention and help them to make better choices and I know he can reveal this information to me! I have also been praying for God to change me in the process. Like most parents, I want control, but true discipline is neither about control nor “punishing” your kids. Coming to grips with that has certainly had an influence on how we are doing discipline. While our methods are not yet set in stone, we are doing much better than we were even 3 months ago!
As every parent knows, parenting is an on-the-job training role. You literally learn as you make mistakes and sometimes get it right. If all parents were honest, we would all have to admit that we are out here STRUGGLING! This is why it is so important to have a network of parents in your corner for support. I think I have said it before in a previous post, the main goal is to just make it out alive each day! SO even on the days where I don’t quite get it right in the discipline department, I still pat myself on the back when I put them babies in their bed alive at the end of the day!