So last week we talked about other peoples kids (and their parents). This week we want to look a little more at ourselves, and what we think matters about parenting.
The funny thing is, I never thought of myself as having a particular style of parenting. In some respects we have been very hands on, and in other respects we let them stand on their own as much as possible. We do some things our parents did when we think it works, there are other things we do differently because their way didn't work. Its not by any means a child run house, but it is a child oriented house.
Of course my children aren't really children anymore, being 13 and 17. Things that mattered when they were younger, doesn't show much now. Of course other things that didn't matter in the past do now. For example neither child would have been crushed to lose phone privileges at 8. Now it would be a whole different story.
Frankly though we never had to do much grounding of the kids. Once or twice was usually sufficient. Both of them got grounded from the computer once for bad interims when they were in grade school. They got their privileges back when the good report cards came home six weeks later. We never had to do a long term grounding like that again.
What we have done is keep our kids involved in activities, and stayed interested and involved in what they were doing. We have both been Scout Leaders. We both log a lot of time at baseball practices and games, and at the dance studio. This time of year, baseball season, there is at least one activity going on every single night, often more, so that we play my kid, your kid a lot. To maintain some sanity, we made a two extracurricular at a time rule. Over the years both have also done a lot of school activities with after hour events (like choir and orchestra) so its still kept us busy. Its not something that bothers me though. To me it's part of why we are parents.
When we could we have traveled with our kids, and tried to find things of interest to them in the places that we went. We started taking them to museums before they knew what museums were, and now that's the first thing they look for in a new place.
We have tried to be supportive parents. We try to listen to them when they have something to say. We commiserate with the down times even when we can't do anything about it. I always preferred to see the kits and games and art projects assembled in the living room, where we could all be a part, even if it made a mess; rather than off in a bedroom somewhere.
I doubt there is a right way to raise kids. Everyone has to find what works for them. Its hard telling how much is parenting and how much is the genetic luck of the child (or children) you have anyway. I think you can do everything you think is right for your children, and you may still have problems with your kids. But if you don't do the things you know are right for your kids, you will have problems.
In the end the only real parenting style is to love them, everything else comes from there.
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