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This last little while, I have been working on learning how to be a better parent and discovering how to raise happy children.
This feels weird to admit but, things came easy for me when my little ones were babies. It was innate in me, natural. I relished it. Infancy is like a drug to this mother. I can’t get enough of it. Unfortunately, they can’t stay babies. Overnight, things change. It seems like one morning I woke up and they were children, Manly was constantly traveling, and things were harder… a lot harder.
So, what can a gal do?
I guess take a long look in the mirror and a deep breath then, move forward, prepared for growth.
I was a very blessed little girl. I was among the increasingly lucky few who had great parents, who were and still are incredible examples. One thing that I really admire about them is that they were constantly trying to better themselves. They read books, attended classes, talked to friends, went to seminars, tried new things, and were always learning something. They genuinely wanted our family to be strong, loving, and happy and were willing to work hard to make that happen. They wanted life to be fun. And, guess what? It was! That’s not to say there wasn’t hard times, because trust me, there were. There was money, a family business, 6 very individual children, my sweet brother’s tumors, extended family, learning struggles, illness, teenagers, my dad’s many church callings, math, me, time or lack there of, money, long hours, our family business, did I mention money? But, when push came to shove, my parents were on the same page. They were united in a joint cause. I think that is what made us into the family we became. Oh, they made mistakes. But, they made those mistakes together. That’s the point.
Manly and I have the united part down. We agree on most things, parenting wise that is. We made a conscious decision long ago that we wouldn’t let our kids pit us against each other. We are on the same page, which is great, but now what? The truth is, we’ve never parented children before. Babies were delightful, but kids? And, I am not even ready to THINK about teenagers!
I guess here is where the learning process kicks into a higher gear.
I’m pretty sure that there isn’t any one person who has all the answers. Every single child is different and your experience with each of your children will be unique. We have a son who is gentle, incredibly smart, and quite soft-hearted. We also have a daughter who is a strong, sassy, courageous little spitfire. Parenting Sassy doesn’t work the same as parenting her older brother. It just doesn’t work. We love them both with all our hearts, but this is a whole new ballgame folks! Then, add in the other wildly individual personalities of our other two daughters…
That is why it is so important to study so we can grow, not only as parents, but also as a family.
I recently rediscovered the Eyre’s. My mama did Joy School with me when I was a preschooler, and she used many of their techniques… Gunny Bag was one of my dad’s favorites. Every so often you can still get him to sing the “Gunny Bag” song. Too cute. Anyway, Richard and Linda Eyre have written several books on parenting, have a great website, write a newspaper column here in Utah, and make guest appearances on several shows, my favorite being a local morning show called Studio 5. Not only that, but now a couple of their daughters have made big waves in the blogging world…71 Toes and The Power of Moms. It is really neat to see what kind of people their children have become. That, I’d say, is a huge testament of the kind of parents the Eyre’s are.
I recently got to be part of a webinar that the Eyre’s did with their daughters, April and Saren. I went away with new found excitement for what I am trying to do as a parent. Yes, there are rules, but there is also a lot of fun to be had. They said something in the webinar that really struck me. They said that “when they (your children) think of your family, you want them to think JOY.”
That’s what I want.
When all is said and done, and my children look back at their childhood, I want them to see the joy that was our family. I want the bad stuff to be overshadowed by the sunshine. That’s going to require some work on my part, mostly because of my other big a-ha… I am going to have to teach myself consistency. I lack consistency. There, I said it. I admitted it. I have a problem. Surprise! If I want to teach my children and create a happy home, I am going to have to learn to be consistent. What’s the point of having a reward system, family economy, family “legal” system, aka discipline, etc, if I don’t follow through with it.
Man, I’ve got junk to figure out. YIKES!
If you’d like to watch the Eyre’s webinar, go HERE. I promise that you’ll learn something.
In the mean time, wish me luck!
This mama’s got a lot of learning to do.viaThe Eyres and Values Parenting
*What parenting lightbulb have you had lately?*