I’ve always been a little suspicious of a purist philosophy that some parenting experts bring: “If you do this, your kids will be this way.” I always EXPECTED my kids to work their problems out nonviolently, and we constantly worked on their having the tools and ability to do this; however, the reality that I experienced was quite a shock to my system.
I’m one of those gentle souls, an attachment parenting and LLL-type, and was predisposed to thinking that I could nurture my kids a certain way and get a certain outcome. And then my kids proved different! What I now think is that nurture is VERY important – and I’m proud that our way of parenting has helped our boys know the importance of moderating and not being Lord of theFlies-ish. But I also think that nature is very important, and that kids’ bring genetic components to personality and energy level and competitive spirit that will shine through despite my best efforts to promote collaboration and contemplation!
My youngest son in particular is off the charts in terms of competitiveness, high energy, persistence, etc. He has challenged me to not only nurture his artistic side and help him curb his more uncivilized tendencies, but also to set boundaries and recognize a need for providing balance when my own”nature” is much more peaceful.
I chuckle to myself every time I hear Cesar Milan say this on his show, The Dog Whisperer, “You don’t get the dog you want; you get the dog you need.”
At my house, that’s worked kid-wise. I probably needed three highly-competitive boys to mitigate my belief that I was powerful enough to shape human nature. My third son in particular caused me to develop some perspective and interpersonal skills that I would never had developed had I not had a kid who needed a mom with those skills – some of which have been very challenging for me to try to acquire.
Jeanne Faulconer is a former articles editor at Home Education Magazine and a homeschooling Mom of — you guessed it! — boys. This post was an originally written as part of a thread on the HEM-Writers List. We’d been discussing my HEM article, “Fight!”, which I wrote about here, and that led us to wonder and write about how our parenting style affects our boys — and how our boys affect us.