Sunday, May 25, 2014

Surprises in Parenting: It doesn't have to be just one way

Before Bean was born I did some reading on parenting philosophies. I'd listened to some friends talk, read some blogs, and done a lot of thinking.  I had my mind pretty set on a particular style of parenting and planned on reading more about it and following it.  I figured that a solid base of one particular parenting style would be what I needed to get started on this journey of being a parent.
I was wrong.
I still don't have it all figured out, but I have learned that it is okay, and perhaps even good, to draw from multiple parenting philosophies to create the base upon which Husbandy and I want to draw as we figure out this parenting thing.
I've learned that it is okay to read through the tenets of a particular philosophy, choose the ones that work in our context and let go of the rest.  I've learned to be okay with modifying tenets of various philosophies in order to make them work better in our setting.  One example that comes to mind readily is how we looked at the Montessori guidelines for allowing an infant to start exploring self feeding - giving the child real dishes (plate, cup, pitcher, etc) that are their size, yet identical to the corresponding adult dishes, which means glass.  The Montessori guidelines emphasize that even very young children can be taught to use appropriate care when handling breakable objects.
The Montessori guidelines, in combination with the new Health Canada infant feeding guidelines affirmed our decision to skip the sippy cup and go with an open cup (child sized) right from the time we introduce a cup.  However, we could not get around the idea of giving a 6-8 month old child a glass cup (often a shot glass or votive candle holder is used to get a child-sized glass cup).  So we put our heads together and came up with another option - a slightly weighted, translucent plastic cup.   For us that was a way of modifying existing philosophies to make them work in our context.  We kept the idea of a clear, realistic, open top, child-sized cup, but decided to make it much harder to break.
Naturally we'll see how well it works when we try to introduce a cup in the next couple of months - We could be in for another surprise!
Overall, coming to the realization that parenting Bean doesn't have to be based on just one style or philosophy of parenting has been very freeing.  It has allowed me to relax more about what I choose to do (or not do) and not worry about breaking the "rules" of a particular style/philosophy.  In a sense, it's given me freedom to make my own rules and develop my own style - which, if I am to believe what other mamas have told me, will be completely different with Bean than it is with any future children!
And now, to finish off this post, a picture of Bean, Husbandy, and Wifey at Husbandy's graduation.

1 comment:

Valerie Minnich said...

This post makes me happy! Every person is different, every family is different-- embrace what works for yours. <3