Screw Parenting Styles - Teach Kindness
Let me preface this blog and all future blogs with this: I am blunt. Really blunt. If I've ever had the privilege of taking you or your children's photos or even stepping in and helping during your session you may have seen a hint of it. If not, just know I am not out to offend anyone or tell anyone how to live their life. What I am sharing is simply my opinion and I feel it's best shared straightforward.
Today I wanted to talk about different parenting styles and how they are all a bunch of nonsense.
I am sure there are a lot of different parenting styles out there these days with no small thanks to Pinterest, Facebook, and all the other social media platforms. A quick google search will reveal that there are four generally accepted parenting styles out there:
Authoritarian Focuses on obedience. Punishment over discipline.
Authoritative Create positive relationship, enforce rules.
Permissive Don't enforce rules "Kids will be kids."
Uninvolved Provide little guidance, let them figure it out.
Do any of those styles sound like you? Yeah, me neither. Pair those with the other "parenting styles" being thrown around in the news these days like helicopter parenting or free-range parenting and suddenly it all sounds so confusing.
My wife and I don't fall into any of these categories.
We are fairly relaxed parents. When the kids are hungry they eat, when they are tired they sleep. We have a semblance of a schedule but we just roll with the punches. My sister is pretty similar to us but sticks more to a schedule. I also have a cousin who has every second of every day scheduled and planned out for her kids.
When my daughter breaks the rules I set her down and explain why what she did was wrong and she has to fix it. When one of my friend's kids breaks the rules, they go straight to time out. When my cousin's kids break the rules she shrugs it off and says "kids will be kids." We are all so vastly different in how we parent. That leads to one important question.
Are one of us better than the others?
No. Not even a little. We all do what works best for us and our family. Even though me, my friends, and family are all different in our approach, we all have one common thread to our parenting. We all teach our kids that kindness is the most important thing they can learn, practice, and do. That's what should matter most, in my opinion.
Kindness can go a long way.
We have a lot of problems facing our youth right now. I firmly believe we can alleviate, or completely eradicate, a lot of these problems by being kind to one another. And it starts with us as their parents. Kids learn from watching us and from what we say, not only with our mouths but on our keyboards as well.
As someone who was bullied relentlessly through high school, I know the impact one kind person can have. I wasn't bullied because I was dumb or because I was poor. I wasn't bullied because I was bad at sports. I was bullied because I was an easy target and it made me hate going to school.
During my senior year I was having a particularly bad day when one person went out of their way to show me kindness. Chase Quinn did something that he probably didn't think was a big deal. He simply reached out to me and told me that I was a good person and he wanted to be friends. That single act of kindness took me down a path that would lead me to marry an amazing woman and have two amazing children.
Chase was, and still is, one of the most important people in my life, whether he knows it or not. He taught me a lesson that I hope to pass to my kids.
All people are deserving of your love and respect and you show it through your kindness to them.
It's this lesson that I think we should be more concerned with. Not how you parent your kids, not if you feed your kids a gluten-free diet, and not if your kids can speak five languages by the time they are ten. We need to focus more on teaching kindness and we she should start teaching by example. Bruce Lee has a quote that I love, It's "Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do." I challenge you to not only start teaching kindness, but to practice it as well. Our world can do with a lot more kindness in it.