Welcome to Educated, Common Sense Parenting! This is my parenting education/commentary blog. Start here and read About This Blog.

I believe too many parents today have let their children rule their households. Their children dictate their daily lives, demand every ounce of their attention and do not show any respect for their parents. This needs to change. The only way to do this is if parents start letting good old common sense start dictating their parenting practices and stop letting their children run the show. You're the parent. Act like one.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

What Do You Want for Your Children?

Sometime during your child's life--whether it be when they're still in the womb, a busy toddler or a sleeping angel--you may have thought: What do I want for her in life? What kind of person do I want her to be? I think most parents immediate reaction would be happy and healthy!

Health is one thing that we are not 100% in control of. We can make sure our kids are safe, not let them drink soda out of their bottles or visit McDonald's on a daily basis. We take them to their well-child visits and comfort them when they're sick. Other than that, a lot of health problems are not within your control. So let's just assume health is given. You want your child to be healthy. Duh.

Moving on--happy. Sure, we want our kids to be HAPPY. But that is not attainable at all times, nor is it completely within our control. I guess you could say you want your kid to have a generally happy temperament.....that's fair. But to expect them to be happy at all times is ridiculous. No matter how hard you try, your angel will experience heartache and have emotionally and physically painful things happen to them (breaking bones and getting dumped in 11th grade come to mind). Yep, we'll have to see them through all of the pain and unhappiness. That's just life and it's not always within our control to make sure our kids are happy all the time....although it's a good goal to have.

So forget happy and healthy for now--we'll do our best on those two things, but let's think about things we may actually have more control over.

I hate it when other writers take your thoughts and succinctly paraphrase them far better than you ever could. Gary Ezzo, author of the Babywise series, does that to me quite a lot. In fact, after I started this blog about common sense parenting, I began reading Childwise and in the Introduction Ezzo writes,"Childwise is filled with helpful strategies that will not make you feel guilty of fearful, but will cause you to think through each [parenting] challenge with that old-fashioned thing called common sense." Darn it!!! So being a common sense parent wasn't all my idea!!!

But I digress....my point is that I am always thinking about, "So what do I want for my kids??? How to I want to raise them?" I pick up Childwise, and there I have it--all written out in three concise bullets. These are unlike "health and happiness," these are more attainable goals and goals that parents can have strong control over, if they choose. See if you agree:

Goals of Parenting

1) Parents want to enjoy their children. Why have kids if you're not going to enjoy them?? You want to try and enjoy them at every stage--even if they are smashing peas onto the TV or slamming doors in your face. Parents need to find a way to control behavior so it makes it possible to enjoy their children.

2) Parents want to raise children who are a joy to be with AND for others to be around: Every parent loves their kid and (should) find it a joy to be around them (at least 90% of the time-missed naptimes and travel meltdowns/blowouts excluded!), but not all others may share a parent's rose-colored glasses. For some parents, their child can do no wrong. So another goal should be: Parents want other people to enjoy their children. It's a lot easier for other people to enjoy your child if they are polite, well-mannered, respectful and well-adjusted. I think "happy" fits in here--people would obviously rather be around a happy, cheerful kid than a whiny brat. It was the biggest compliment when Brookey's daycare teacher would say things like, "She is such a joy to have here!" Sure, she's a joy to ME but that is worthless if she's a pain in the ass to other people.

3) Parents want their children to be well-prepared for life: Parents should want their children to be socially, intellectually and morally ready to handle the outside world when they're not around. And don't think of this in terms of when the kids are 18 and out of the house. This applies the first time they go to the babysitters or their first day of Kindergarten. Skills like manners, moral decision-making, and handling disappointment are good examples of skills we can teach to help our kids be prepared for life.

Parents have control over all three of these goals--for the most part. We attain these goals by instilling good values in our kids--and this means different things in every family. We can control behavior so they're not out of control brats. And we can give them the tools they need to make it in the world...and as Ezzo says, "without GIVING them the world."


  1. At what age does a child understand the meaning of "No!" Or, "Don't pull Mommy's hair?" I'm beginning to realize when I have a happy voice -- she loves it. But when I am stern and mean business -- she gets that too. But, does she really?

    I really like the three ideas and it totally makes sense. I also like the saying that having a child is, "An addition to your life; not an inconvenience."

  2. Somewhere around 6-12 months, I think. Right now she might just be reacting to the sound of your voice. If it's stern, it might scare her a little, but she probably doesn't understand NO quite yet. SOON, though! Don't even underestimate what they can understand at a young age.

    And what's up with the hair pulling?! I think now I know why Kate Gosslin has her hair like that! :-)