Raising two little girls is quite an interesting thing. Especially when they are so completely different. Adeline, who is four, is ridiculously strong-willed and EXTREMELY smart. She has been headstrong and ready to roar since the very beginning. She is funny and witty and very quick on her feet. She was talking nonstop at 18 months and knew all her letters, shapes, body parts, and a jillion different songs by two. Now, at four, she can write her name, is beginning to read, and this basically going on 30. Abigail is 18 months and very much the baby. She is a snuggler, always wants to be held and is very silly. She knows most body parts, but would rather play than learn them. She is saying a few words and is right on track with development in all areas. They couldn’t be more different.
Parenting children is not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. Each child learns and behaves differently, so what works with one might not work with another. There was a point in time when Superman and I were at wit’s end trying to parent such a strong-willed child. We reached out to Pastor Marcus, who is the associate pastor and after giving us some really good ideas and advice, he gave us one sentence that has really stuck with me:
Rules without relationship breeds rebellion.
Now, Superman and I made a decision from the beginning that no matter what, our kids would know that they were loved unconditionally, no matter what they did, how they acted, or anything else. They would know they were loved by their parents and their God. They’d never have to search for love anywhere else. So many mistakes I made was because of searching for approval in the wrong places and it was important to me that our kids never had to do experience that.
And although we always made that a priority, we struggled with finding a balance between discipline and love. We want our kids to know we discipline them BECAUSE we love them. So when Pastor Marcus told us that one sentence, everything started to make sense. Relationship is key. We had that. But what we struggled with was this: Rules are needed. They are key to raising functioning adults. And when rules are created they must be followed CONSISTENTLY. And when they aren’t, there must be consequences.
BUT, when we create rules for our children and strictly enforce them, but do not show them that they are loved NO MATTER WHAT and in spite of their performance, they can and will rebel. They need to know that they are loved despite their performance, but that specific performance IS expected.
What’s the best parenting advice you ever recieved?
Love to my loves,