We get a lot of questions about our parenting style. We don’t ever know what to say because we made it up as went along. We were married for 3 years before we had a child. Rob and I were young, only 23 and 24. We have done things a little differently since our children were born.
When we first found out we were becoming parents we started our “parenting plan”. Rob and I come from very different parenting style homes. We had one thing in common. Much was expected of us. Rob’s father had a public job so there are expectations that come with being the child of someone with a public position in the community. I am the child of immigrants who worked their tails off to help us succeed and become contributing members of society. Much was expected of me. My husband and I had this in common, we understood the pressures and our parents expectations.
Our children grew up in a similar manner as ours. Being our child has many privileges but it comes with the pressure of our expectations. We have always been very firm in our parenting. From birth we have called the shots. I remember letting my newborns cry for a bit until their scheduled feeding time. Did it kill them? NO! They didn’t starve and always measured well above their percentile.
The big question: did we spank? Yes, we spanked but it was not necessary very often. Honestly, they were well behaved, for the most part. I think the last time we spanked them they must have been about 8 or 10. I know this is a hot button issue but like I always say, we did what we felt was necessary for our children, you do what is best for yours.
Sleeping, our kids spent about a week total (in their whole lives) in our bedroom, all of that time was as newborns. Our bedroom is our special place. Even when they were sick we would check on them often but they were not allowed in our special place. Our daughter went through a stage around age 3 where she wanted to come into our bedroom but she knew she could not come in. I would wake up in the morning to find her asleep on the floor outside our bedroom door, lol. Some chastised us and thought we were being mean but this showed our children that we valued “us”. You see we were a family before they arrived. They expanded our family but children don’t necessarily make a family. Two people can make a family.
As the parents you have to keep in mind that you are modeling marriage for your children. They see how you interact and it sinks in. Whether you want to be the example or not, you are. Our goal as parents was to show our children that we loved them and to produce productive, contributing members or society. At the end of the day you want to raise kids who don’t “need” you but “want” to be with you. Independent but with roots.
We provided a loving, supportive home for them to grow and make mistakes. We didn’t have a lot of rules (per say) our rule was: do what you are told, the first time. There was never any counting in our lives with little ones. If we said it was time to go, it was time to go. There was never a fit at the grocery store over a wanted item. Although my kids rarely asked, if they did and were told no, that would be the end of it.
Parenting teenagers, went better than expected. We set the foundation for our expectations when they were yound. We had little to no “typical” teenager issues. We had a few issues(emotional stuff) to deal with but not much. They knew our expectations of their behavior and complied. We gave them the freedom as teenagers to make choices for themselves and they did not disappoint us.
I know what you are thinking, you got easy kids. HA! I laugh at the thought. Both of our children were strong willed just like their parents. It makes for a very interesting family dynamic. We are a very close knit family. We home schooled and both of us worked from home most of the time. As a matter of fact it was weird when I was teaching classes at the gym because we were so used to being around each other so much.
Our kids are young adults now. Our son lives on his own in Chicago fulfilling his dream to become a comedian and our daughter is pursuing her dream in college. We are proud of what we did as parents however we did not do it alone. We had a very strong support system of family and some friends around us who trusted our “system”.
We are thankful that our “plan” worked. Two young kids winging it. We are confident our children have the tools to become contributing members of society. At the end of the day we are glad we did the things we did and we are happy we were able to invest so much time in their lives.
Please note, this is what worked for us and our children. I am not saying this is right or wrong but it worked for us and our situation. If you parenting style differs from what we did, more power to you. I thought I would share what worked for us for those who are still trying to figure it out. Feel free to shar your style and what works for you in the comments.