When it comes to parenting Lizzie and David, I am encouraged by two separate camps of parenting. Both have excellent points and both have wonderful results for them. As with every parenting issue (formula vs. breastmilk, co-sleeping vs. crib in separate room) I have to find what works for me and my kids.
What is the end goal here?
To keep my kids safe and teach them to respect my authority as well as the authority of others and be able to make wise decisions on their own.
Here are the two methods/philosophies of parenting that I am met with.
Expect instant, respectful obedience
These people believe a child should always instantly obey their parents, without question or hesitation. Obedience is required. It keeps the children safe and teaches them how to respect authority. Any questions of “why” or “but -” or obeying with a foul attitude is quickly met with discipline. Some in this group (not all) also believe in spanking as a form of discipline.
Allow kids to discuss the options and decide together
This group of people believes their way is more gentle. They believe in helping to foster a child’s decision making abilities by discussing options when they give the child a command. They offer choices and if a child is acting in a way that contrary to the task at hand, the parent will find a creative solution. Instead of “you must obey me because I am your mother,” this group believes “how can I as the mature parent help my growing child make the best decision?”
My (growing) position
I am totally stuck in between the two positions. I understand the importance of teaching my children to obey and respect me. However, I get so angry when I see them “disobey” my direct orders. I hate that feeling. I am the more mature person in those situations. I need to change my thoughts and harness my emotions. Instead of viewing Lizzie’s “no” or “why” as an insult to my authority or her being “rebellious” I need to view those moments as teaching ones. My compassion rather than my anger needs to kick in. I understand that children should obey their parents and instant obedience is needed for safety (picture kids running in the street, you can’t discuss at that moment) – however, I cannot demand instant obedience 100% of the time without feeling anger. If I view every incident – like completing chores, for example – as a teaching moment and try and see it through her eyes, then I believe we both can grow.
Where do you fall in this spectrum?