As an older parent, and one with more experience than most, I am often asked what my parenting style is. Translated, that means â€œHow have you raised eight kids and not lost your mind?â€
The answer is simple. Keep it simple.
So much of the time you see parents that have so many rules for their kids that Einstein couldnâ€™t memorize them all â€“ and then on the other side of the teeter totter you have those parents that let their kids run wild. Somewhere, in between the two is the Zen of Parenting.
I try not to have many rules. I ask that my kids respect each other and their parents, and I ask that they are honest. I donâ€™t discipline for mistakes or predictable stages of development, knowing that they will grow out of them.
Most of all, I have learned not to let other peopleâ€™s opinions of my parenting rattle my cage.
Relaxed parenting is about letting your children experience the consequences of their poor choices whenever possible. Obviously you arenâ€™t going to let a two year old play in the street, but it doesnâ€™t hurt for a nine year old to skip lunch because she forgot her lunch at home or a seventeen year old to have to walk to work because he spent his entire check on concert tickets and didnâ€™t save anything for gas.
Relaxed parenting is about knowing when to help your children through a rough spot and knowing when they just need you to be a cheerleader, encouraging them on. It is about allowing them the freedom of self discovers, teaching them your views and beliefs and then letting them figure out their own.
If you have given your kids a good foundation of love and acceptance, let them experiment and question, knowing that they will make mistakes and learn from them, just like you did.
photo credit: marye audet