Sunday, March 15, 2009

fear based parenting

we just got home from church and the message was so powerful and so relevant to me today. the sermon was about fear based parenting and the dangers of it. i remember when bryson was a baby and reading somewhere that there is no way to spoil a baby and to not worry about discipline until they are at least 18 months old or so. it was such a relief! i didnt have to worry about saying no - i just had the charge to unconditionally love that baby...which was fine with me! then...before i knew it i had to start parenting. still the thought is new and wierd and bryan and i are really trying to take steps together and be purposeful in our actions and decisions as parents. MOPS has really helped me, so have the other mothers i have met through our church. we started amassing books on how to raise spirited children and how to raise boys and how to keep your sanity through it. we are still collecting...and still talking about it and still figuring it out, which i am sure will be a long journey! i am blessed to have a husband as determined to instill character development in our children as i am and who is such a great example of that love to them as well. at church pastor lou gave some diagnostic questions to see if you are parenting out of fear - which i am sure any first time mom can relate to, since that is pretty much the state you live in the first year of your first child's life - fear and worry...fear about their health, about their growth, about their development, about their safety, about their SCHEDULE, about their happiness...whatever you can find time to fill worrying about most moms will...back to the point - the questions:
1. Am I controlling or overbearing?
he talked about the dangers of this of teaching the kid that being good is self-referential and what you get if you are - you get either a kid who follows the rules and becomes self-righteous or you get a kid who doesn't and becomes hopeless, resentful and rebellious.
2. Am I overindulgent?
as a parent your fear of their pain and struggle leads to overindulgence and rescue. what you get if you are - you get kids who blame others for their mistakes and self-indulgent kids.
3. Am I insecure?
the danger of elevating your kid to the role of peer or friend. what you get if you are - you get kids who think their role is to make others feel better.

i think these are interesting points both for the parents and as grown ups for us to look at ourselves and see what pitfalls we have fallen in as well. Lou went on to say that we need as parents to use God as the reference point and to teach God's values to our children - his main point being "God is bigger than parenting mistakes" so true for us as kids once as well.
hope this blesses someone else as well!

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