Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My Two Cents On Raising My Munchkins!

So I often get questions about how we raise our kids and why we make the choices we do. So I figure I might as well blog about it!! Please know that these are my thoughts and experiences. I do not ask anyone to agree or claim to be an expert. I'm just sharing my experience as a momma.

I completely respect everyone's right to do what they feel is best for their babies. We ALL love them and work so hard to do what's right for our children. As my wise cousey says "The only way to be a REALLY good parent is to save a lot of money for them to get counseling!" I'm just another Christian mom trying my best not to mess up my kids too much.

So here is my basic theory on raising our children.... I want to do this work WITH them.... not keep them from doing it.

When our kids learned to walk they do it by watching an adult who already knew how. They learn how to talk by mimicking every sound we make.... When they learn their ABCs we encourage them to copy each letter by how we sing it. (Or in my case how they sing it on Leap Frog Letter Factory) In all these things we "walk" with our children and teach them how to face these new challenges. I think that's what we are supposed to do.

It seems that many times, as Christian parents, after that we get confused in how we should let them learn things. I mean it's easy with things that don't scare us like how to say "Mama." What about the things that are more frightening to deal with in life? What about when kids say mean things? What about when the lyrics of songs aren't the nicest? What about S-E-X? What about when an adult makes wrong choices and our kids are involved?

Some Christian parents have a situation where their home is an extremely loving, safe and PROTECTED environment. Then the kiddos face many of these things on their own in a school or child care environment. Parents hope that the safe place at home has prepared them to face the ugliness in the world. They encourage their precious little ones to come to them if they face these challenges so they can help them steer through it in a Godly way.

Some Christian parents feel they want to shelter their children from all the ugly that is out there. They keep their kids home or put them in a "safer" school environment. Things that are not Christian are not permitted into the child's life in an effort to protect their precious little hearts.

Then there's the way we do things which I admit doesn't usually fit into the norm. I find that many moms consider me way too liberal in the things I let my children watch, do, read and experience. I can understand that view since there is so much garbage out there. I spent a lot of time attending public school, private school and teaching both. I've seen what our kids face. I totally get the temptation to shield.

Other moms think homeschool for my children will cause them to be far too sheltered. I completely get that view too. I was homeschooled from 7th-12th grade. I know some homeschooled kids that went wild once they were let loose cause they didn't know how to handle freedom. I knew some that were.... frankly... just weird. Then I knew a lot that were cool people!!

I guess for me it comes down to my agenda. My goal is not to protect my children. My goal is to prepare them to be Godly women in a wild world. I have just chosen to prepare them by walking WITH them through everything I possibly can in an attempt to teach them to handle life well. I ask myself... is this something my kids will be exposed to in the world on a regular basis? If the answer is yes I want to expose them to it FIRST and teach them how to handle it.

I don't expose them to EVERYTHING of course!! If there are things that are NOT SAFE for them then we will stay far away. For instance, I don't expect that they will need to know how to handle mass murder on a daily basis so I see no need to expose them to violent horror movies. We will not watch graphic sex scenes as I don't expect them to see that in daily life. However, we won't avoid movies or shows where the topic of sex before marriage and living together is brought up. Bring it ON! They WILL face those issues EVERY DAY! Let's talk about how we feel on those subjects.

The basic deal is I want my kids to know how to make wise decisions and deal with difficult situations. I also want them to know that if I say they can't do something or see something it's for a very good reason and not because I'm being too sheltering.

We listen to pop music, rock music, you name it! We watch shows where the kids are disrespectful to their parents or the parents aren't around AT ALL! We don't forbid the words dumb and stupid. We watch movies that the family reviews don't recommend even if they have cuss words or magic. We study different religions and what they believe. We read books that other Christian parents may be tempted to burn.

This isn't cause I'm not paying attention. It's because I AM! We talk about what we see. We decide what we agree with and what we don't. We discuss it- learn to balance- learn to decide what to do if we face that. We use so many things we see to show kids a picture of what life without Christ looks like. We stay relevant and in touch with what's going on... we just don't BECOME it!

I can't say I am doing this all right. NO, I can say with certainty that I am NOT doing it all right. All I can hope is that, with God's grace, when my kids go off on their own they will face decisions equipped to handle it. I hope this world won't knock them for a loop right off the bat because they'll feel they've walked this road before... with Mom and Dad. Just like when our kids take those first wobbly steps watching us carefully to see how to do it. Before we know it they are off running.

Love, Angel :0)


Julie said...

This is such a great post Angel.

Finding the right balance is SOOO hard and something I struggle with every day. My husband tends to lean way to the other side. I'm not QUITE as far toward your side, but more so than he is.

Part of it maybe comes from feeling like I don't have TIME to discuss everything they watch, hear etc. so it's easier to just not let them listen to it or watch it. (We do talk about why we choose not to watch something.)

The verse that we keep coming back to is Phil 4:8-9 "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

I know how hard it can be for me when I've seen something or heard something that is NOT noble to have it keep popping into my head. And yes, I've had to cut certain TV shows out of my viewing schedule because of this. But yet we don't want to carry this to a legalistic extreme and end up with kids going off the deep end either.

Your post has brought up some really good points and hopefully can be a conversation starter for hubs and I to see where each other is coming from and come up with the right middle ground for our family.

Keep up the hard work. It is obvious that you guys are doing an awesome job raising your kids!

missy said...

right or wrong, i couldn't agree more...this is exactly where we fall too and it has been difficult to fit into the homeschool community at large sometimes...then, i run into that one mom who is relieved to have met someone else who wears tight jeans, has a tatoo and cable and takes the their daughters to the midnight premiere of twilight...

great post, angel. thank you.

Polkadot said...

lil Holy Spirit tears...don't ask me why...I don't know....but yes yes yes..........

Zoe said...

I think you are a wonderful momma. Thanks for sharing this. It's good to hear :)

Tara said...

OH Angel...you are SUCH a great role model for those girls and for your blogger buddies like me! I've learned so much from you... I feel like you wrote this post JUST for me! You did, RIGHT??? LOL Thank you for taking the time once again to write an amazing post about something SO real and being SO real!

nancy said...

well said!

Darlene said...

Great, thought provoking post. I am just now entering the phase of parenting where I really need to think about these things. Your post, and Julie's great comment are excellent food for thought and prayer. Love these great posts of yours!

Candy said...

You know I have never thought about the fact that you have your three home all day every day. I am not sure I could do that at this age anyway. My two can't stay in the house all day or we all go nuts and I can't think of that many places to take them. Although after researching pre school and the fact that Kya does not want to go to school anymore and Jagger still crys and tells me NO Thank You when we get to his school...maybe I could do it....I know I know you think I will end up homeschooling in the long run and you are prob right. We actually figured up for what we will pay for them both to go to Private School we could just homeschool and hire a private teacher for some subjects or extra help....Ok Love ya and miss ya girl

Wendy said...

I can't agree more. My mother once told me that the key to raising kids is to teach them how to handle things, but never allow them to get into a situation they are not ready to handle. Sounds simple but in reality...well, let's all agree it's challenging! The biggest thing I always stress to my kids is that the consequences out there in the real world do not always match the crime. One small slip in their decision making ability can result in a disastrous ending. Remember the car crash Kaytee was in when she was 14? The 14 year old driver was allowed to drive by her parents all the time, therefore she thought she could handle the brand new Mustang. The grandmother who handed over the keys to the older boy who started out driving, well she didn't consider that other children were in the car. That boy, who then handed the keys over to the girl caved to her pleading with him. And Kaytee never thought twice about hopping in the passenger seat next to her friend. The night ended with a near-death experience, a totaled car and Life Flight.

Parenting scares the heck out of me!

The Morgans said...

Rock on girl!!! I totally agree with you. Sometimes its harder to go against the flow, but well worth it in the end. THX for sharing!