''Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children,now I have six children and no theories''.
John Wilmot (English poet)
It was over 15 years ago when I first read Dr Wayne Dyer's classic book ''What do you really want for your children?''.
I had a baby and a toddler back then and I would devour every book I could get my hands on related to parenting.In hindsight,I can confidently and honestly declare that all of them were the crappiest waste of time ever.Because every parenting experience is as unique as a child,because theories only work on animal training,not divine human beings,because all these books ever do is raising unreal expectations and contributing more to the parents' guilt for not having 'the perfect child'.
Dr Dyer's book,now that was a different matter.That gem of a book proved not just the only useful and sound advice I ever got on raising kids,but a life changer too that totally rocked my ideas on how I perceived myself as a parent.I guess its message boils down to the truth that the only tool you'll ever need in raising happy,healthy kids is you being a good role model for every value you want to instil in your children.
In terms of traditional parenting,I am a lousy parent.
This is why:
I DO NOT BELIEVE IN DISCIPLINE WHEN IT COMES TO RAISING CHILDREN
That's because discipline:
a.is only useful when accompanied by the word 'self'.The only person you can ever successfully discipline is yourself.All other forms of discipline are doomed to fail because they violate a person's free will and therefore meet with either resistance or/and built foundations for neurotic personalities than only learn to obey blindly disregarding their own inner guiding system
b.discipline only serves to make a parent feel in control and vent his/her frustrations on children who have failed to meet parental or societal expectations
c.discipline is ultimately superfluous if a parent serves as a good role model because children are more likely than not to follow and model their behaviour after that of the most influential adults around them
d.God,whose children we all are,does not believe in discipline either.He just gives us the gift of life and a whole universe to play and create in,then gets out of our way and let us learn by exercising our free will
So this is what I really do want for my children:
-I want them to feel deeply loved throughout their childhood
These are the years that my kids are filling up their love tanks in preparation for their adult life which is inevitably going to be challenging and full of frustrations.If their love tank is empty they'll end up as neurotic adults unable to love or successfully deal with any of those life challenges.This is my primary role as their mother:unconditional love provider.
-I want my children to be able to feel good no matter what
Children instinctively know how to live in the moment by always looking for new ways to have fun,they just need their parents to show them by example that this is a habit worth practicing for the rest of their lives.
-I want my children to be risk takers
This.Is.The.Only.Surefire.Way.For.Them.To.Lead.Fulfilled.Lives.and not to watch life go by as they hide themselves in the sidelines.In order to teach my kids that I have to bite my tongue a thousant times a day and try not to stop them when they take risks,from climbing a tree as three-year-olds to staying out late as teenagers.I encourage and praise them when they are fearless and bravely face negative consequences of their risk taking (like falling and scraping knees and elbows),I refuse to show sympathy if they come to me whining about them.
-I want my children to have their own set of values
Hopefully they'll adopt some or most of my husband's and my values.Do I hope and strive for it?Show me a parent who doesn't.Do I try to impose them on my kids or brainwash them into adopting them?A big no!God gave them a free will for a reason!So I try to respect their choices and values even if they are radically different than mine.
-I want my children to be free thinkers
The greatest life lesson I can teach my kids is that,in order to become happy and independent adults,they have to avoid the herd mentality syndrome,learn to think for themselves,even if that means disregarding and defying all kinds of societal control and authority figures,including myself.
-I want my children to make learning a life-long habit
And this means I have to confess to my kids that,although I am a teacher myself,this is what conventional education stands for: SCHOOL=Seven Crap Hours Of Our Lives.True learning,of the kind that stays with you for ever,can only happen outside of a classroom(That's why I've given to my kids unlimited accesss to the World WIde Net,but I guess this is a subject for another post!).
-I want my children to be super-confident in all areas of their lives
So I am laying the foundations now by praising ten times more than scolding,by encouraging and urging on much more than disapproving and being sceptical.
-I want my children to learn how to keep themselves healthy
By keeping them out of a doctor's practice as much as it is humanly possible(even and especially when they are sick),by instilling in them a healthy fear and mistrust for man-made chemicals,drugs and pills and by teaching them that their body is almost totally under the control of their conscious and subconscious mind.
-I want,like every sane parent on this planet,my children to be happy
Of course I do.I want all the above for my kids because I hope these will be convenient means in helping them to find happiness.But I also do realise that,no matter how much I'd love to,it is ultimately out of my control to give them that.My children are both masters of their own destiny and also in the hands of God who loves them more than I can even begin to imagine.So I rest assure in that knowledge,which may deprive me of any fake notion of either parental omnipotence or inadequacy,but replaces them with a calm trust in the process of Life itself instead.
Now your turn.
What do you really,really wish for your children,or future children,grandchildren,great-grandchildren or children of humanity in general?
Love,peace and even more love
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