Then I could be assured of raising happy, healthy, responsible children.
Through my reading, I developed a form of parenting that I believed was the right way and went about raising my three children following as best as I could the concepts that I believed in.
I didn’t hit my children. I didn’t yell at them. I loved them with my whole heart and soul. I was there for them. I listened to them, nurtured them, and thought the world of them. It worked well – not perfectly, but well.
As adults, they have their issues, but they are good and responsible people.
However, in the 40 years that I have been counseling, I have discovered something very interesting: there is no one right way to parent.
I have worked with people whose parents were authoritarian and controlling and they turned out to be loving and responsible people.
I have worked with people whose parents were permissive who also turned out to be loving and responsible people.
I have worked with people who seemingly were raised by loving parents who turned out to have huge entitlement issues.
I have worked with siblings – even twins – where one turned out to be loving and responsible and the other highly dysfunctional.
How can this be? I have come to understand two important things about parenting:
1. The intent behind your parenting choices is as important as the choices themselves.
2. Children are so inherently different from each other that what is right for one child is wrong for another.
Let’s look at each of these.
THE INTENT BEHIND YOUR PARENTING CHOICES IS AS IMPORTANT AS THE CHOICES THEMSELVES.
** When you truly have the highest good of your children at heart, they feel it. You can make a lot of mistakes that don’t result in long-term negative consequences when your intent is to love your children and to nurture and support their highest good, as well as nurture and support your own highest good. You might not even know what is in their highest good, but when your intent is to support them in being all they can be and all they want to be, they will feel that love. I do not advocate hitting and yelling because it is violating and disrespectful. I do not believe that a parent ever has a child’s highest good at heart when the parent is trying to control the child with any kind of violence. I once had a chiropractor tell me that in her experience, the wound from a kick from a horse was less damaging than a wound from a kick from a parent, because the horse didn’t mean to hurt the child while the parent did. The intent behind the kick made all the difference in the world.
CHILDREN ARE SO INHERENTLY DIFFERENT FROM EACH OTHER THAT WHAT IS RIGHT FOR ONE CHILD IS WRONG FOR ANOTHER.
** Each child comes in with his or her own unique soul and soul’s journey. One child comes in highly sensitive, another very outgoing, another affectionate, another inward. What rolls off one child’s back feels deeply violating to another. As parents, it is your job to tune into what your particular child needs rather than following a single way of parenting. One child may need clear boundaries and consistent discipline, while another needs to feel free to follow his or her own inner voice. Loving parenting means that you do not become rigid in your parenting, believing that you have found the right way to parent. It means that you stay tuned into your Guidance with each child and each situation.