Sunday, January 6, 2008

My parenting philosophies

I was thinking recently about my parenting philosophies, and how they’ve changed a little since actually becoming a parent (I had such different ideas about raising children when I was an educator rather than a mother). And so I sat down and started writing about my beliefs. I had a hard time putting them into words and I didn’t get too far but here’s a start:

I believe that when I respond to my child’s cries he learns that he can trust me, that I will provide for him and take care of him, that I am there whenever he needs me, that the world is a safe place. I believe that when I respond to his needs I foster his independence, as he learns that he can safely explore the world on his own because he knows that if he does need me I will be there to help him.

I believe that the need to be held, snuggled, comforted is as great a need as the need for food, warmth, good health, good sleep, cleanliness, etc. The feelings of loneliness, fear, or anxiety are real and need to be addressed just as much as the feelings of hunger, pain, discomfort, etc.

I believe that a baby deserves the best start in life, and that best start is human milk. I believe that most women are capable of producing enough milk to feed and sustain their babies. I believe that most breastfeeding problems can be solved if the mother is dedicated to finding a solution and doesn’t give up. It may take a lot of work, it may be painful, it may be incredibly difficult, but I do believe it is (almost always) possible if the mother is truly dedicated to making it work, at any cost. With that said, I believe that a mother has the best instinct on what her baby needs and she should follow that instinct.

I believe in making informed decisions regarding every aspect of parenting. I believe parents should research everything and make decisions for their children based on their own research, and not merely do things just because “that’s what everyone does…”

I believe women and men should become educated about child-rearing and discipline. I believe that being a parent is the biggest job a person could have and it should be approached in an educated manner. After becoming educated about children, development, discipline, etc, I believe a mother and father should trust their own instincts about the care of their children. As parents, they know their children best.

I believe that all children, regardless of gender, should be taught gentleness, sensitivity, empathy, kindness, and how to be nurturing. I believe that each child deserves the right to grow into who he or she wants to be. I believe that it is my job as a parent to allow my children to become individuals and pursuit their own talents and interests. I believe children deserve respect.

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