Parenting by the Numbers?

You’re a new parent – now what? Your mind floods with questions. Will I be any good as a parent? What do I do if they if the baby food comes up faster than it went down? Why are they crying? How will they do in school? What if they don’t get good grades? What if they are bullied? What if they don’t make the sports team? What will happen when they start dating? How am I going to handle them learning to drive in my car? What if they don’t get into the college they want? ? ? ?

You feel the burning desire have to race to the bookstore and get every parenting book there is! Surely, all of these experts know the answers to these questions! Wouldn’t it be great if there were a definitive manual that would tell you what to do, step-by-step, for each age period that your child will grow through?

Calm thyself. Take a deep breath and breathe out slowly. It will be alright. For thousands of years, parents just like you from all over the world have had the same anxieties about parenting . . . and the human race has managed to survive and thrive. You will too.

There are countless books that offer innumerable theories, each prescribing a process or methodology to follow – a “paint-by-the-numbers” approach to raising your kids. Some of the information is valid and can be very helpful. Some is great kindling for your fireplace.

But hey, don’t sell yourself short by underestimating the power of your own mind, your own ideas, and thoughts. After all, you were once the object of your parents’ experimentation in the field of childrearing and they didn’t know any more than you do now.

So, what did you learn from that experience? What did you resolve to never do with your kids? What are you glad your parents did with, for, or to you for which you will always be grateful? Use this as the beginning of a foundation from which you will build your parenting skills. The practical approach to parenting is a down-to-earth, logical approach that capitalizes on your childhood experiences, good and bad.

Based upon your experience as a child,
– What traditions would you like to pass down to your kids?
– What will be your approach to discipline?
– How will you teach them about respect for others?
– How will you teach them about what it means to have personal honor?
– How will you convey the importance of having responsibility?

As you reflect on your childhood experiences, continue to expand the list. And remember, nothing is cast in stone. Your list will become a fluid document that changes, both with time and the needs of each individual child. What works for one child may not work for another.

Remember, parenting by the numbers, while simplifying the task, is not the solution. Take a more practical approach to parenting and have fun along the journey.