Summer vacation = more interaction with the children. More interaction allows me to take inventory of what I need to work on as a parent. But I’m curious…
My children need to understand why I do what I do. I've never been the dad that said, "Do this because I SAY so..." and not explain the reason behind my stance. This has always strengthened my relationships with my 13 children, and bred confidence in our family. "Let me show why we do what we do," has been a standing principle of parenting for me from day one.
I think I inherited that from you, dad. It was something I appreciated while growing up but when I witnessed as a young woman that this practice was anything but common place, I valued it even more in hindsight.
A close second for me is probably the ability to tell my kids “I’m sorry” and “I don’t know the answer to that, but let’s figure it out together”. An attitude of humility and honesty is important to me in parenting because I’m hoping my children will grow up feeling comfortable admitting ignorance and asking questions in the pursuit of truth, knowing mommy does that too. I am not all-knowing. I want my kids to grow up in an environment that is curious, studious and humble. I want to raise thinkers that highly value truth.
Yeah. There’s a faulty belief that somehow apologizing to your kid when you were genuinely in the wrong is somehow not okay. That apologizing at all to a kid means you are no longer an authority figure to them—but it’s been quite the opposite in my experience. There IS a way to apologize sincerely to a child without jeopardizing your own authority with them. And I think it’s fostering a sense of trust and respect in my children. Sometimes real injustices are committed against a child by the parent. Taking responsibility encourages them to draw near to you. Besides, kids will “do as you do” more than “do what you say”.
I love my kids unconditionally and let them make their own mistakes. Even though I know the answers to solve many of their problems, I simply give my opinion and let them make a decision on what to do; I don't give them a consequence if they choose the option I don't like (of course I am not talking about situations where there will be harm or laws broken! ;) )