What’s a mama to do with so many parenting philosophies to choose from and activities available to keep your kids up to par? You can’t possibly take your child to swim lessons, music classes, soccer games, and boy scouts every single week. In regards to parenting philosophies, most parents come up against the debate of attachment parenting vs. mainstream discipline.
There is no right answer to these questions. Attachment parenting can be wonderfully freeing to parents who aren’t comfortable with the standard recommendations of the medical model. It can be a burden to other parents. The way you find your path through these many options is to do what you love. Do what feels most alive to you.
If you are running your kids around, frantic with fear that they will fall behind, they will learn to live a life motivated by fear. In evaluating what you are teaching your kids, remember the cliché, “They will learn what you do, not what you say.” They will pick up on the deeper vibe of how and why you are leading your life the way you are.
If running around is motivated by competition with other parents, then your kids will learn the importance of keeping up with the Jones’s. If you drag yourself to activities just because everyone else is doing it, you are teaching your kids to follow the crowd. They will pick up on the vibe of why they are doing what they are doing more than the purported benefits of whatever the activity is.
This doesn’t mean you have to sit around all day. It just means you have to do things that you love, and that stimulate you. Then your kids will learn that life is about doing what you love and exploring the world. Sometimes I take my kids to many activities a week. I love the feel of using my kids as an excuse to pretend I’m at summer camp. Of course, they get to go along and be exposed to many things and their minds are stimulated. Most of all they pick up a vibe of fun and excitement about trying something new.
When I tell my son we’re going somewhere, he always asks why. I just say, “For fun.” I hope that I am teaching him that fun is a good reason to do things; that having fun is just as important as doing things well. Fun is what makes life worth living. As a parent, you might be fearful that fun won’t pay the bills or that fun won’t get your child through school. That’s not entirely true. Even for a doctor or lawyer, fun can help pay the bills.
A doctor who loves to learn about the body or a lawyer who loves to practice law will be more successful than the one who does it because it makes Mommy proud.
A lot of experts are saying that doing what you love is the path to worldly success. There is also evidence that emotional intelligence is a robust predictor of success in life, more so than IQ points. Maybe you can take some of this research to heart and learn to honor your own interests as you parent your young children.
Focus on Fun
There are many reasons why focusing on fun is essential to your child’s health and development. First, the best way to fuel attention and focus is to let your child channel their love into developing specific skills. My son loves Thomas the Tank Engine. Because he loves it so much, he begs me to read books on Thomas every day. He loves to build puzzles with images of Thomas the Train. He likes to play matching memory games with Thomas on the computer. He loves to color in drawings of Thomas. He builds so many skills and develops his capacity to pay attention by following his love.
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