It’s not a secret that parenting is the hardest job in the world. You hear it all the time. I love being a mom, obviously. It fulfills me in ways I could have never imagined. It comes so natural to me. But it’s the most important job I’ve ever had, and that makes it really hard sometimes. Knowing when to rock and when to let them cry it out. Knowing when to let it pass, or when to discipline. Knowing how to not pull your hair out in the throws of potty training… this job has tested me more than I could have ever imagined.
Lately I’ve been thinking about my parenting style. I hadn’t really ever thought about it until one day my sister-in-law had told me she had gotten a book on attachment parenting and wanted my tips since I was a good “attachment parent”. Before this minute, I had never considered myself an attachment parent. I had never really considered myself any kind of parent. A good one, I hoped, but I had never really thought about it before then. At church, Brady and I have been taking the family strengthening class and it’s been really great. It’s made me reflect on my own parenting and has helped me to be more intentional about my parenting.
I ran across this graphic a few weeks ago and really, really loved it. It definitely fits my style of parenting and I wanted to share it here.
I think a lot of parents get stumped on having different kinds of kids. They have their rules and disciplines set out for the whole family, but sometimes that doesn’t work for every child in the family. From the very beginning of my girls’ life, I realized how different they were. I mean, from pregnancy they were polar opposites. What Harlo liked as a baby, Stella didn’t care for. What Stella enjoyed, Harlo didn’t. As they grew into toddlers, these differences became even more apparent. Harlo eats the most in the morning, Stella eats most at nights. Harlo is particular in what she wears, how she has her hair, etc. Stella is really not particular about anything at all. Stella is busy! Always getting into something, climbing on things, touching things she knows she shouldn’t. Harlo is very well behaved that way, never into anything she’s not supposed to be. Always my little helper. It became very apparent that my parenting style was going to have to be slightly different with each of them.
One of my girls fits the “fun-loving child” perfectly and the other is 100% my “sensitive child”. When Stella is upset, it’s almost always because she’s tired or bored. She doesn’t like to be too cooped up, and she likes to play with me. If I’ve been working too much in the morning, Stella’s behavior is my first clue. Rather than disciplining her for acting out, I know that she needs more from me. By simply engaging with her or getting out a game to play, or taking a walk outside with her, I can solve both of our problems and no tears were involved. Harlo is my little tender heart. She plays well by herself, but she gets very emotional if she hasn’t had enough attention, or if she hasn’t had much say in her day. When she starts crying over small things, I know that I need to connect with her. Sometimes all she needs is me to hold her for a few minutes. She likes playing quiet games with me like board games. She likes doing things with me and helping me with projects. Fighting her to act right only amplifies our problems.
Of course there are times when the girls misbehave or throw tantrums and they need some time to themselves. Sometimes we have to facilitate time outs or take away privileges, but I’ve found that staying connected with our children and listening to their behaviors, we really don’t have a lot of disciplining to do. I hope to stay close with my kids through their life. I want them to be raised in a home full of gentleness and grace and comfort. Being intentional about how I’m raising them is so important to me.
Do you think much about your parenting style? I’d love to hear about it.
Happy parenting, friends!