About a year or so ago, I read an article by a black mom blogger that I added here. I enjoyed the article and I felt it was thought provoking and posted the following on Facebook. I feel that it is still very relevant and it echoes some of the themes that I have previously mentioned here. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, saying the same stuff over and over, so I’ll add it here and move on. Lol!
"So I consider this quite often, how I am raising my son and what kind of images do I portray before him that could hinder his growth or to cause him pain, harm or hurt him psychologically or emotionally. I always consider that I have a strange sense of humor and that no parent is perfect. While his dad is hugely instrumental in his life, we (Daniel and I) are geographically separated from a consistent positive male role model. I recognize the need for a consistent positive male influence in his life and would never attempt to be that, because I would ultimately fail. However, I am, in most senses of the term, raising this baby alone."
My approach, which was slightly different from the approach in the blog, was to empower my child through his decision making process and treat him as an individual. By empowering him through making his own decisions, I've learned that he is able to decide what a good decision is versus a bad decision and he finds himself proud when he is able to make good decisions. In addition, he has become aware that bad decisions often come with consequences.
Treating him as an individual was very important to me. I didn't feel this as a kid, adolescent, teen, or young adult. I felt that I was parented, and well, but not treated as an individual. I wanted to ensure that I took time to understand who my child is, what he likes and why, while introducing him to new experiences along the way. With this understanding we have been able to communicate better. Treating him as an independent thinking human being, in my opinion, helps him feel good about himself and the way he treats people. However I do realize that my parenting style must be flexible to accommodate changes, for example, moving from place to place.
This finally brings me to my last point to close this post (because it lengthy). I have gotten nothing but rave reviews about Daniel in public or when he's out with other folks. He's pretty well behaved (even though he gives me hell - but that's a different post), has great manners and treats others with respect. I have observed him with friends and I have seen how impactful he can be. We have been out at restaurants and other places and people have offered to pay for our meal because he was so respectful or were blown away by his interactions with them. He's four, so he's gonna be four. He is going to do what a four year old does, but my responses to his four year old behavior are clearly helping to mold him to be an exceptional young gentleman.
As parents, yes, we have to be flexible, we are almost always mentally exhausted, we need a break, but most often we don't stop to realize that we are actually doing something right sometimes.
This blog was very introspective and I truly appreciate her for it. It helped me realize that I am doing something right so I thought I'd share. There's so much more I can say, so many things I left out.