Saturday, October 25, 2008

Notes from the Trenches

A few days ago a friend sent me a very kind email. (She's a new mom who I enjoy spending time with and see far too seldom.) My friend wondered if we had any parenting wisdom to share with her and her husband.

My goodness! Ben and I have been parents for a grand total of five years. We've barely scratched the surface of this adventure called parenting! Our kids constantly throw us curve balls and test our limited abilities. We feel ill-equipped to offer any sort of parenting advice.

Therefore, I'll share my thoughts with the following disclaimer: Ben and I are far from perfect and our kids are not angels. We make plenty of mistakes. We definitely don't have this parenting gig completely figured out!

Here are a few things we've learned from our journey thus far:
  • Hungry kids + Tired kids = Meltdown city. (The same applies to hungry and tired parents.) Regular meals and good sleep can prevent tons of aggravation.
  • Routine is wonderful. Our kids thrive on it. We're not strict about keeping a minute-by-minute schedule but our days do have a predictable flow.
  • Ben and I intentionally choose to socialize with families we admire. We're learning to make friends with parents of terrific teens. (We figure they have a lot to teach us. The proof is in the pudding!)
  • Focus on the Family has hugely influenced our marriage and parenting. I often visit their website and we subscribe to the Canadian magazine. The FOTF podcasts are great too.
  • Consistency is key. Ben and I always try to follow up our words with actions. (For example, no means no.) We don't cave to whining, complaining or manipulation. Giving in only reinforces poor behavior.
  • Our kids need lots of hugs, kisses, snuggles and tickles every day.
  • We try to keep our home clean and uncluttered. I'm naturally a neat freak, but I also think a tidy home helps kids feel peaceful and secure.
More to come...


Anonymous said...

well said and spoken with great wisdom... 5 years of God's wisdom is more than 50 without HIM and you have that wisdom... praise the Lord... miss you stax

love Tracy

The Nilsen's Journey said...

Amen amen amen to all your advice! Thanks for sharing with us as we commence this parenting journey. You guys have been a huge blessing to us as well! We have found the routine has helped our home also. It keeps us fed, rested and a sense of security in the familiar. There aren't many cries we don't know what they mean with a good routine of both rest, play & meals. Bless you guys!