Monday, 4 March 2013

Parenting Philosophy

This blogging thing has introduced me to a lot of fabulous and talented people from all walks of life, some right here in my hometown.  Today’s guest blogger for “I Get a Day Off From Writing and Feeling Pressure to be Funny and Get to Laugh at Your Stories and Share Some Blog Love Monday’ is one of them.

Elizabeth is the youngest of 6 kids to the ‘Best Mom’ who ever lived, she grew up in a small southern Alberta town and escaped shortly after turning 18 to spend more years in post-secondary education than the other kind.  Elizabeth was married for 18 years to the number 1 ex-husband around. Elizabeth says “seriously, getting divorced was the best thing we did for our relationship plus it got me a bonus "wife" when he married a woman I am proud to call friend --> if they ever split, I think I'll keep her”
They share a one-of-a-kind girl-child who just turned 15. Elizabeth currently works as legal support after leaving the legal profession over irreconcilable differences. Or as she puts it “it wanted my soul, I opted to keep it”.
She is spiritual seeker and happily owned by 2 dogs and 2 cats.

Elizabeth’s story and writing makes me want to be a better person. After she emailed me to be a guest blogger, I of course stalked checked out her blog. Her writing is raw as she shares her many lessons when faced with two tragic events within days of each other. Seriously, read her story and think about how you would handle it.

So today, Elizabeth shares her parenting philosophy. Enjoy! I think it is very wise. Check out her blog 'A Collection of Mind Lint', and then share with me your parenting values and who your influences are.

After all, isn’t that what this parenting thing is all about? It doesn’t matter if you stay at home, work outside the home, have a new baby, tweens, teens or empty nest, our goal is to raise them well.

Although today's post is a bit more serious and heartfelt than my own normal ridiculous ramblings of crazy...I want to know, how do you do it? 

My parenting philosophy was learned from my Mother.  My job as a Mom is to support my child in becoming who she is and letting her show me without judgment who that person is.  I always joke that Mom gave all of us enough rope to hang ourselves and once we were dangling she would cut us down and ask THE question:  "What did you learn from this experience?"  She believed that the only bad experience in life was one from which nothing was learned.

I use a lot of positive reinforcement but have a few absolutes:  No wearing clothes with anything written across the butt; no juggling knives; and always be KIND because everyone is dealing with their own demons.   The result is I get to hang with her amazing friends who are all unique and funny.  Getting to know your kids' friends is the single biggest thing anyone can do to be a good parent.  

But all in all, so far the ride has been an adventure and I have made the following observations about my philosophy of parenting:

First, our job as parents is NOT to mould, train or educate our children into the adult they will be.  Our job is to give them a safe place to figure that out for themselves.  It isn't OUR life and when we remember that fact and do not give into a need to preach to our children what WE believe to be the Truth, our kids will grow beyond any limited idea we may have for them.  I specifically remember my own mother NEVER telling me that couldn't do something -- even if she knew I couldn't.  She let me figure it out on my own and I am glad I recognized that 'gift' and was able to thank her for it while she was still on this earth.

Second, if you don't have your child's back, who will?  When I was in college, I remember going home for a weekend and telling Mom how one of my classmates had been afraid of going home for the break because she had gained a few pounds and she just knew "my Mom is going give me a hard time".  My Mom, without looking up from her coffee said:  "I don't get that.  The world gives kids so much negative and criticism, parents shouldn't add to it."  Criticism, even 'well meaning' criticism, eats away at person's confidence and joy. 

Third, get to know your child's friends, classmates, teachers -- basically their 'world'.  I've heard many parents of teens say that they can't connect with their kids.  While this breaks my heart, I want to ask what steps they have taken to nurture and build the connections they are missing.  I work overtime or take vacation days so I can go on school field trips and participate in my daughter's activities.

I still remember the first time I had to make a 'choice' between career and the Pumpkin.  She was in preschool and I was still working as a lawyer in the North.  I had taken a Legal Aid file with a custody trial set for November 1.  About 2 or so weeks before the trial date, the Clerk called to ask if I would be okay moving the trial to October 31, since the matter for that date had settled.  My answer was no, I had other plans.  Those plans (as you may have guessed) were the Halloween party at the Pumpkin's school.  My reality check was that in 10 years no one would remember what day the trial was held, but I would remember if I missed the Pumpkin's party -- and so would she. 

In sum, the parenting philosophy I learned from my Mom is simply that we are here to support, love and cheer on our children.  If we do our job right, our children will become all they are meant to be.
Every now and then, we need to take a good look at where we have been to know where we are going, what we want to achieve and how we are going to succeed.

I wish I had the honour of meeting Elizabeth’s mom.

Now I am off to cheer on kids finishing grade 7 Science Fair Projects.
I hope I get they get an A+!!

xo J


  1. BLUSH . . . I'm honoured . . . Thanks, Jessica

    And I hope your girlies kick butt at the science fair without blowing up the school!

    1. I HATE science. Always have. Always will.
      But I love your post!

  2. She's right, Rhi.....your post is dead-on, and your mom was awesome. I learned a lot from her, and now I'm learning a lot from you. Thanks for sharing! No-official-secret-nomdeplume-yet

  3. Always a pleasure to read your insights, Betty!

    1. Mine or Elizabeth's? lol.
      Very wise women with a very wise mom.

  4. "In sum, the parenting philosophy I learned from my Mom is simply that we are here to support, love and cheer on our children. If we do our job right, our children will become all they are meant to be."

    Simply beautiful, Elizabeth. Thank you.Your mom sounds like a warm and wonderful human being.

    Be well and once again, thank you for an insightful and enlightening read.

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