Be who you are, say what you feel. Those who matter won’t mind and those who mind don’t matter. ~Dr. Seuss
I realized early on that our parenting styles went against the cultural grain. We were told (and often chastised) that we were overprotective, too strict and that our kids would not turn out well. They would rebel. For the record, we were protective but not overly so. We were strict but not too strict. We had rules and guidelines that fell in line with our purposeful methods of parenting. We felt like we kept a healthy balance and that our children knew without a shadow of a doubt that all we did, right or wrong, was done for a purpose and under the umbrella of our love for them.
By the way, our kids turned out pretty great!
I understand that even the best parents with the best methods have kids who stray from the hopes and dreams they had for them. There is no fail proof formula when it comes to parenting. We’re all doing the best we can with what we have and we have an ample supply of God’s grace and mercy to cover the rest.
A few of our “overprotective and strict” rules, to give you an idea of how “horrible” we were, included:
*No two-piece swim suits for the girls. Although, when the tankini came out we gave in to that trend (because it’s ridiculously challenging to use the bathroom in a wet one-piece) but even then, modesty was of the essence.
*Our son could not have sleepovers with his guy friends at the same time our daughter did with her girl friends.
*Our daughters could not have girls over when only their dad was going to be home. This was for his protection more than anything but it was a rule that outsiders thought silly.
*Our girls could not go to a friend’s house when the mom wasn’t home. This was most definitely for our girl’s protection. There are just too many horror stories out there for my comfort.
*One music lesson and one sport at a time. With three kids in one lesson and one sport, it was crazy enough. This was all we could justify and still be able to fit in family time.
*Movies and TV shows were controlled. Among other shows, my kids weren’t allowed to watch Rug Rats. Yep, it’s true. The commentary in that show was very sarcastic and sassy. I don’t know any kid who needs encouragement in that department.
They still got to swim, they still got to have fun sleepovers, they still got to spend loads of time with their friends, they still got to enhance their creativity and play team sports and they still got to watch TV and movies. We have a treasure trove of fun family memories to last a lifetime.
They enjoyed funyuns and powdered donuts with a balance of healthy options. Curfews were set on a case by case basis. They got loads of screen time with a balance of activity.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11 NIV
Our oldest daughter and her husband are raising our first grandson. He is almost 3. I am pleased that they are “overprotective and strict” with a healthy balance of freedom. She called me from an event recently in frustration. She was in an environment where she was feeling very much like “that” mom. I told her that it was okay. Being somewhat cheeky but also truthful, I told her that I was “that” mom too and look how she turned out.
Young moms, find a balance in your parenting techniques. Instill rules and guidelines that work for you, your kids and your family. It’s your job to keep your kids safe and healthy. Keep your motives pure and your purpose clear. Love your child fully and fiercely. One day, we will have to answer to God for all we did and didn’t do.
In being a purposeful parent, you’re going to feel like “that” mom at times. And you know what? It’s okay!
Andrea Stunz is a committed wife, an incredibly blessed mom, a grateful mother-in-law and a ridiculously proud Gimi. She is a seasoned traveler from south Texas. Having visited countries all over the globe and lived in Brazil, Singapore and the UK, she finds hope and comfort in a beautiful sunrise and a good cup of coffee. Andrea is a self-proclaimed stumbling pilgrim who is ever so grateful for grace. She longs to encourage others in their stories by sharing a part of hers because “a story worth living is a story worth sharing”. Find more of her work over at www.emptyplatefullheart.com and www.notherhood.com.