I grew up with a strict tyrannical father. “My way or the highway,” was his motto and we felt we had no other choice, but to abide by his rules. I didn’t want my kids to have that same militant discipline.
Which is NOT to say that I didn’t discipline my kids. I never hit them because I hated being spanked. I used the time out method when needed. I told them how I expected them to behave and allowed that to steer them with the understanding that proper manners, doing your chores and homework in a timely manner and being a loving part of our family was important. How about you?
It wasn’t until the divorce that my parenting style changed. Although to be fair, I was the main parent throughout the marriage since their dad traveled often when we were married.
When you’re a divorced mom of two adolescent sons, there’s no back up. No ‘wait until your Dad comes home’ because he’s abandoned the family and chosen to be their pal when he occasionally communicates with them. So you’re it. And you have to take it seriously, but also you can’t be so obtuse that you are blind to what is.
I made a choice that I am grateful for which was this: we are a family of three now. While I am always MOM, we work together through it all. Kindness, caring and understanding are pivotal here, but also responsibility, manners and the ‘all for one and one for all’ mentality. Because what each of us does may affect the rest of us, let’s do it together. We bonded as I listened to them, they listened to me and we all chose to work through the obstacles. I was so grateful that they were on board with me.
The template for the family (we’re in this together) was set from the start and it has grown. I am thankful for that part. We have struggled, but the dynamic has helped to ease the painful moments. Interestingly enough, when I discipline one kid, the other will either ‘co-parent’ with me or explain how I am not being fair to the one in trouble. And then we can discuss it. Because I can admit when I’m wrong. I’m a Mom and sometimes I can only see the situation in one way, so hearing an explanation from a different perspective helps. And sometimes I am wrong. And sometimes I’m right. But it’s a round table here with me still being the Queen Mum. LOL
Now they’re older, college-aged, so it’s a little different as you saw in my last two posts. It’s a difficult line to walk when they’re ‘adults’ but living in my home during a quarantine with the threat of the virus lurking invisibly. We’ve not had this experience before so there’s bound to be some upheaval. So far, I think we’ve gotten through the roughest waters. Time will tell.
My aim is to teach them to be independent, kind, caring, smart men who live their lives with integrity and a sense of family. My intent is that they understand that there’s a give and take in relationships. We pick up the slack when someone needs more help. We feel confident that the people who love us will do the same when we need it as well. In our home there’s not a ‘tit for tat’ mentality. There’s appreciation, kindness and compassion.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but raising young men this way I think makes them stronger, not weaker. Because forging connections with integrity and love makes for stronger bonds between people. Stronger bonds within themselves and with others grows self-confidence, self-worth and the all-important skill of managing stressful situations. Resilience and the ability to pick one’s self up to try again. That’s my prayer for these two. Well, that and may they find someone who brings out the best in them and inspires them to be the best men they can be (and vice versa). And…may they never forget me.
You know I only have the girl’s point of view here which is why I found a male therapist in case they needed an elder male to talk with about ‘guy stuff.’ Luckily, he’s been a great source of help when needed. Does any of this make sense? Do you agree? Did I miss something? I’d love to hear how you parent in your home!