Monday, May 14, 2012

Parenting Styles: there’s one for everybody

Recently, we had some friends over for dinner. They came with their clan that mixed with our clan and a glorious time was had by all…until one of the boys decided to send a chair down the stairs with our little angel on it.  She survived without being battered or bruised, and his parents took him to task for his carelessness.

As I thought back to that night, I realized it set up a great dichotomy. My husband’s reaction to the manner our friends parented was that it was overly-strict. I simply reminded him that he tends to be grace-laden. So far that’s worked with our kids, but I won’t be surprised if one of our younger two requires a firmer hand.

This got me thinking. There are so many factors that go into parenting.
  • o   The temperament of each child
  • o   What issues/vices that child is struggling with at that point in time
  • o   The parent’s background
  • o   The age of the child

I’m sure you could add to my list. I tend to be very black and white. As a result, I’ve focused on asking God to help me see each child and the heart issues that need to be addressed if any. I’ve also tried to remind myself that dependent on the age of my child, sometimes the things that seem blatantly out of line can simply be the child…being a child. There’s no intent behind the action…but there’s also no wisdom. So my job then is to help them find and remember what wisdom looks like in that environment.

Aren’t you glad that God entrusted you with the kids He did. It wasn’t some celestial mystic. Angel approaches God, “Sir, sorry, but those two got away from us.” No, He fully intended your children to be placed with you.

There are days it feels like a cosmic mistake. When those days come, ask God to reaffirm why He placed them with you. And ask for the wisdom to know how to partner with Him to parent your kids. I have a feeling that’s the kind of prayer He delights in answering.


Anne Mateer said...

It took me much farther into my children's lives to get to the place you are, Cara. I so agree that we can't parent each child the same--and that we have to look to the Lord for the wisdom to parent in each child and in each situation. I'm so grateful for the kindness and the grace and the boundaries He gives to me. I finally got to the place where I wanted to mirror that kind of love to my children. And yes, He has honored those prayers of my heart when I have asked Him to parent through me instead of me taking charge of "my" children. By His grace, I have some great young adult children now!

Cara Putman said...

I just hope I can walk this out. As such a black and white person, it's hard to remember that the way to each child's heart may be a different path. Thanks for the encouragement that it works, Anne!

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Thoroughly enjoyed this post! I've told myself (and others) many times that God placed OUR children with US as parents for a reason. Somehow, he's going to make my kids into what they need to be, despite my mistakes.

Jonah said...

Every kid is different...isn't that the truth! My sister probably never needed a spanking in her life, while I'm so strong-willed that it seemed rare that I went a day without getting one.

I have a friend with 9 amazing kids who has some great tactics to dealing with misbehavior. When two kids start fighting over a toy, she just tells them she's going to set the timer for two minutes, and when the timer goes off, the kid who's been playing with the disputed toy has to let the other kid have it. As she says, by the end of two minutes, they've both forgotten all about it anyway.

Other times, if a kid gets in trouble and he's cranky, she'll ask, "Do you need to sit in Mommy's lap?" and scoops him up and just cuddles with him for a while.


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