Thursday, June 28, 2012

If My Daughter Wrote A Parenting Book

Ok, Mom here. When we started this conversation, I really wasn't sure of where it was going, and part of me thought: there's a reason why kids don't write parenting books, because they're kids!
But instead, I reached into my let's use this as an awesome mom moment and take the conversation further. I had to admit, I was impressed with my daughter's thought process. 
I also had a little flashback to when she was in preschool. As an avid NON-reader of any parenting magazines or books that would have been helpful, I was somewhat clueless when it came to my first child. So, the preschool teachers were my teachers. Through them, I learned that kids need to feel empowered. They like to be given choices and encouraged to make the right decisions or give the correct answers based on those choices. With that in mind, I said, "Ok. Your principal was right- we were all kids once and no one likes it when people get mad at them, but discipline is important. What would you do?"
The result was the Strike System. After a lengthy discussion about positive vs. negative parenting and what strikes meant compared to earning stars (which we have been doing for the past five years) I came to a conclusion. From the moment our children are babies, we try to read them and interpret their needs based on non-verbal communication. As time goes on, and verbal communication develops, we are still trying to figure out what is best for our kids. Which begs the question: why NOT ask our kids what they think (once they reach an appropriate age to have that discussion)? Why not engage them in some decision making? It helps them feel empowered, and when they are old enough, they can actually participate.
As a parent part of me wonders, is this the right move? Am I giving up too much of the Mom role? Which is quickly followed by; if I involve my daughter and she doesn't respond to the new strategy (or better said her strategy) then do I go back to old ways?
However this all ends up, it provides a platform for discussion. An open dialog between parent and child in a time when as each day passes, our children move closer to independence and farther away from us.  I'll try the Strike System and see where it goes. Just that change alone could keep things interesting over the summer but more importantly my daughter and I will be able to test her theory together.
If the Strike System doesn't work, we'll have to talk about the next option. Together.
But, if this new strategy (of empowerment) fails after three strikes, I might be back to figuring this out on my own.

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