Keeping Your Sanity While Raising Sane Children (Part II)

Do you feel like you gained children but lost sanity? I know I do.

I thought this topic would make a great post, however, there really are two parts to the equation: 1) Keeping your sanity while doing the parenting and 2) Developing your parenting so that it raises sane children as well.

So, this awareness focus was covered in 2 posts; Keeping Your Sanity While Raising Sane Children - Part I came out one month ago and Part II today.

Part II: Raising Sane Children

Roger of A Content Life shared the four guiding parenting principles he and his wife followed when raising their sons. I could have listed each one here as my own, because I believe in those same things myself, and have tried to parent as such. Below are each of those principles, although his complete post is definitely worth your time to read.
  • your job as a parent is to prepare your child for adulthood
  • you prepare your children for adulthood by creating lessons that mimic adult life
  • let your child discover his own unique talents and interests
  • give your child responsibility as soon as he is close to ready
Are you a sane child? Did you have a good parenting example to follow based upon your parents and their parenting style?

I did. Even with the ups and downs, and my mom believed them to be mostly downs about herself as a mom, I had a pretty good childhood. I remember that my mom always encouraged us to be respectful yet curious, responsible but not burdened and a bookworm who wasn't lacking in the 'playing outside for hours' category either. In some ways, she was a mean mom. She actually asked questions about where we were going and with whom, and even required us to be home at some time that, to me as an adult now, was perfect but earlier than some of my other friends with 'cool parents'.

Even after coming home mentally exhausted, she was present to us. There were some quiet evenings when my mom, brother and I were curled up on the couch, ottomans or floor reading, watching TV, doing a puzzle, rubbing someone's feet or just laughing at our St. Bernard, who would readily mother any pet we had at the time, whether it be a kitty, rabbit or even a rat, or the antics of the fish in our huge saltwater tank. Sometimes the evening was spent going to the grocery store in our CJ-5 Jeep with the tops off and a friend to join us in our joyous, hair-whipping excursion. Many of those friends had 'cool parents' and I wished I was their kid...and those friends, longing for attention because their parents were absent to them either physically and/or mentally, called her 'Mom'.

As I only saw my dad every other weekend and for some time in the summer from ages 6 through 14, I don't recall much I learned from him about being a parent during those years. However, when I moved in to his household at 15, I did have the opportunity to learn from him then. In some ways my Dad and I are similar. We're both hard-working, loyal and don't need to rely on others. He provided a home that was comforting in its predictability and stability. Just for reference, stability is a big one as I went to eleven different schools during the 10 years I lived with my mom and just one for the 3 years I lived with him. And, even though my stepmom handles their finances, I learned from watching their interactions that you don't spend everything you have, that you save for the big things and that inexpensive is good enough.

Now you know a little more about me. I wasn't raised as a mini-adult but I also wasn't robbed of the opportunity to learn how to be one either. I am a sane child.

Without a crystal ball to look into the future, my parents didn't know for absolute sure that what they were doing at the time would pay off in the end, and neither do we. You just do the best you can at the time and call it good.

How do you feel you're doing in regards to those four guiding principles above? I sometimes get caught in the 'not good enough' quicksand but most times I show myself patience and grace because I know that I'm doing the best I can do at the time.

I believe that one of the greatest gifts you as a parent can give your child or teen is the ability to handle their emotions . This is an area I have struggled with for the past 3 years but I will not give up. It's too important! I also use this time I have with them to instill these important values: Honesty, Respect, Manners, Discipline, Sharing, Taking Responsibility for Your Actions and Love. All are critical components needed to help them evolve into better people and succeed in their adult life.

As my children are just 5 and 8 years old, their exposure to adulthood lessons has centered around creating harmony with those around you (i.e. making amends if you've hurt another family member's feelings), and teaching the "if everyone does a little, then no one has to do a lot" mentality about keeping up the house. As for personal finance, I have been fortunate to have children that ooh and ahh over the commercial for toys on TV or that are seen in the store, but don't pine for them for more than a minute. They are also excited by the possibility of spending allowance or birthday money but rarely do. They are fulfilled.

I do want to share my parenting mantra with you: Hug Your Kids. Seriously, I am *this close* to getting a personalized license plate on my car to remind folks of this. Even if they can't do so at the moment, I will be hoping that the message gets into their subliminal mind and that the action will occur later.

I just can't imagine a life in which my child and I are not physically in contact throughout the day, yet that is the reality for some people...very hands free. In our family there are numerous instances of shared touch: a stroke of their head, a sideways squeeze, highfiving each other, a random rib tickle and the amazing warm embrace.

Actually, while getting in the writing mode for Part I of this series, I found an interesting post regarding spontaneous connection with your kids. Thankfully, the writer's really meandering beginning didn't steer me away from reading the whole thing. (To be honest, I didn't even enjoy it until the "Practice Positive Discipline" subheading.) So, now I'm reading "Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers" and hope to finish it within my 3 renewal periods from the library (yeah, I'm that kind of reader when it comes to making time to actually read a book :-).

FYI: If you buy a book through my affiliate link, Amazon will share a little something with me.

In closing, I completely agree with Lisis. These 5 Delightful Ways to Torture Your Children are positive parenting at its best; fun for us and they'll love you for it too. OK, maybe not right in the moment but sometime. Count on it!

I am by no means an expert and would love for you to share your parenting wisdom with us. What inspired thoughts can you add about your parenting journey? Have you come out the other side and raised sane children? Please, share your success story with us. We'd love to read it.

Until next time...Take Care Of You!

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Suzanne Sergis said...

I'm fairly certain that this is the best thing you've written yet. Way to open yourself up more!

Suzanne Sergis said...

Thanks Lisa. I'm not sure how all that spilled out but it just did. Maybe inspired by your touching post about one of the rare pleasant mother-daughter moments? Thanks for the encouragement and inspiration I always receive from you!

Suzanne Sergis said...

Hey, Suzanne! Funny, I was just reading that very post to Hunter a couple of days ago. He loves to act like it tortures him, but he knows without a doubt he's a lucky kid. :)

As for your lessons above, numbers 2 and 4 are the ones where I tend to disagree with most of the parents and "experts" I know. Most people think kids should spend their childhood learning how to be adults. I think childhood is the ONLY time a person can be 100% happy because they can spend most of their time doing exactly what they love, and minimal time doing the boring crap we all have to do. Because of this, I don't want Hunter spending 7 hours of each day in a school, I don't have him doing all sorts of chores, I don't make him be more independent than he wants to be... in other words, I don't force a grown up life on him.

When he gets closer to adulthood (15-ish?) we may start focusing on the boring stuff... chores, jobs, etc. But at least he'll have a long time of just being a kid. Maybe because of that he'll be able to approach his life in a totally different way and create something he really enjoys.

Anyway, great article, and thanks for the link love! :)

Suzanne Sergis said...

You're very welcome. Thanks for your inspiration, as always.

BTW, from guest posts I've seen you write and the interactions between Hunter and you that you've described in your blog, on Twitter, etc. you are raising him to be a sane adult. There are so many ways to go about it. ;-)

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