Catholicism, Life, Unschooling

Parenting Rules

I’ve realized that it is okay to break the so-called parenting rules.

I get it. I get consistency in parenting. I really do.

But you know, when that toddler had a temper tantrum in the food hall because he wanted Coke to drink , not water, it made him quiet (and thus I and all the patrons happy) when I gave him a smidgeon of Coke in his sippy cup. And, no, contrary to the rules, that son did not grow up to become a child or young adult who believed that having temper tantrums and making a fuss would gain him his way. Rather, he is a pleasing, determined young man and university student, much harder on himself than on others.

Similarly, waking a bit earlier every morning to ensure that the two/three year old had his favourite He-Man shirt clean and ready to wear, that we had rice bubbles for breakfast, patted into a pyramid shape in his Sesame Street bowl, with milk poured carefully around the edges, sounds, well, bizarre. And definitely catering to a young child’s whims. Yet that son is now an adult with a deep spiritual life, one who thinks of ,and prays for, others.

Or allowing a teen to spend a year playing video games sounds like shameful neglect when, in actuality, it was a much needed year of growth and development and maturity. And that son is currently a university student who earns High Distinctions and is very involved in campus groups at a Catholic college.

So, why did breaking the parenting rules work?

I think what actually worked was that, in spite of the seeming no rules existence, what was present was commitment, a few unbending Tiger Mother parameters ( never be mean ) and authenticity in my parenting life. I might be me, I might be imperfect, but I really shared ME.

Authenticity.

“Families, be who you are!” Blessed Pope John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio 

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10 thoughts on “Parenting Rules”

  1. Wow! What a beautiful story. Some parents don’t realize that we should not be too hard on our kids because it will just keep them away from us. We should give them their own space to learn and grow. Thank you for sharing this wonderful thought. 🙂

  2. Wonderful! I am finding that true unschooling has a lot to do with the “Golden Rule”. I am constantly asking myself if I would treat a friend etc. the way I sometimes treat my children and whether or not I would want to be treated that way. It is helping me be a more gentle, joyous and loving mother. I like the living “by principles instead of rules” philosophy. True Caritas! 🙂 Thank you for sharing your wisdom born out of experience. It is a gift to all of us!

  3. Meant to comment on this earlier, but gosh, yes, what Leonie said!! Especially the part about the year of video games. An astonishing amount of maturing happened that year, and now the boy is going to college a year early, and well prepared.

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