Parenting at Christmas

I am often accused of over thinking parenting.

Or worse.

I honestly think that, as parents, we can give all due consideration to the same issue and come to very different conclusions.  I work hard not to judge the decisions that other parents make as right or wrong.  Except when it comes to physical discipline.  I don’t even bother trying with that.

My opinions, are often twisted into judgements and attacks when I express them.  The most frequently recurring themes being princesses/marketing/gender and good old Santa leverage.

‘Tis the season so I’m going to stick with Santa and the whole good kids/bad kids thing.

I don’t judge my kids as good or bad.  I just love them and am trying to do my best to teach them to be loving, giving, and happy people.

I guess where I differ from most people I meet is on the how to teach my kids to be loving, giving, and happy people.  I don’t for a second, as some people seem to think, question that we are all trying to get to the same place.

When I think about Christmas and what it means to me, I think about giving.  And when I think about giving I want to do so unconditionally.  For me, Santa is an ideal representation of the spirit of unconditional giving, love, and joy.

To me, doing the right thing should be the reward itself.  Doing the right thing because you want Santa to bring an extra gift or fear having a gift taken away is not something I am comfortable teaching my kids.  Intentions mean everything to me and teaching my kids to have good intentions is more important than the action itself.

So the naughty/nice list has not place in our home.  I won’t teach my kids the “You better watch out” song.  There are no elves hiding on shelves watching for good/bad behavior at Casa Ryan-Jacobson.

Christmas is like any time of year in terms of how we teach and model behavior for our kids.  I don’t threaten/coerce/bribe my kids into behaving in a way that pleases me.

Okay maybe the occasional brib.  But I don’t feel good about doing it…although the few minutes of peace that bribe affords feel pretty darn good 🙂

Sometimes we screw up.  Sometimes they do.

I’m okay with that and I wish other people would be too…even if they have thought it through and come to a different conclusion in their parenting decisions.

Maybe I think too much.  Maybe I don’t think enough.

Hopefully neither.

Probably both.

I am terribly human in that I am totally fallible.

And I know precious little about anything.

I know zippo about how my parenting decisions will play out in the end.

There are different ways to get to the same place.

Perhaps I’m taking the hard way.

By all means, ask me why I am choosing this route as I am secure enough in my navigational hypothoses to withstand the questions and sometimes try a different route.

Just don’t tell me that I’m definitely going the wrong way.  Nobody wants a backseat driver in her car… or in her parenting.

I promise to stay out of your parental backseat too.










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