This is part one of a three part series on parenting. I have been reading through some new and very interesting research that is being conducted on mothering and fathering. I am going to start from a personal view as a mother of ten (amazing) children. Next I will focus on the biology of mothering followed by the biology of fathering.
I don’t often tell strangers how many children I actually have. It never ends up being a very comfortable conversation. However, the people who know me will often respectfully ask how I do it. I would have asked a mother with 10 children the same question back when I began my parenting journey too. In all honesty, I actually have no idea how I do it. One day at a time, I guess. But I do have five pieces of advice that have been useful to me as a mother and I think they will be useful to you too.
- The first and most important thing I think mothers need to know is to trust yourself. You will find all sorts of conflicting advice on how to get your children to sleep and how to feed them, dress them, educate them, etc. Your children are yours. You know your children better than any sociological or psychological expert. So don’t worry. Trust your instincts and your ability to parent your children because what your children really need most is you. And having said that, take the other 4 things less seriously.
- I believe that parents and children do best with a good solid religious foundation. Religious people learn to govern their own behaviors. As the world has moved away from religion, more and more laws have been formed to make up for the lack of morality religions offered. And as a perk, studies have shown that “teens who are religiously-affiliated are 40 percent more likely to graduate high school than their nonreligious counterparts, and 70 percent more likely to enroll in college.”
- I think that reading makes family life happier. Parents should read and read a lot. Reading leads to successful people who know how to communicate and use their language well. Parents will be their children’s biggest example. If you want smart, successful kids then let them see you with a book and let them see you put down your book to read to them.
- In today’s world, I would say that kids need more playtime and less structured time. Kids learn best through play. And quite frankly, it’s a lot easier to tell your kids to go and play than to take them to several organized activities. So give yourself and your kids a break and send them off to play.
- And finally, I have learned that chores are good for kids. Helping your kids to learn the value of work will benefit them for the rest of their lives. I’ll be the first to admit that it is often easier to just clean it up myself than to battle my kids to get it done, but whether or not a child learns to work hard can make or break them in the future. And let’s face the truth, if you had someone pick up your coat each time you tossed it on the floor as you walked in the house, would you want that to change? Kids will resist, but truly, teaching them to work will eventually benefit you too.