By Phyllis Rosen Before writing this last article on parenting, I want to state something for the record: I HAVE SIX WONDERFUL CHILDREN! But I didn’t always know that. There were times during their upbringing when I wasn’t convinced they were all that […]
Suppose Queen Elizabeth showed up unexpectedly at your home. How would you respond? A) Invite her in but continue to watch your Netflix. (only ten minutes left!) B) Invite her in, talk to her, but at the same time post her picture to your Instagram. […]
As my husband and I were discussing parenting (we often do) we realized that a large part of parenting is supporting your spouse. You may wonder “what does that have to do with parenting? Turns out it plays a large role.
There are many ways to show support to your spouse:
- Being there for big moments
- Upholding the rules set by partner
- Recognizing when help is needed and giving it
- Being happy for each other’s successes.
- Listening to the problems/triumphs
- Bragging about spouse to others
- Touching: a hand squeeze, a hug, a high-five
Parenting is a tough job. It takes time, hard work, perseverance, patience, creativity, and divine help. When you feel overloaded or alone, it’s hard to endure through the tough moments (yes, everyone has tough moments). I’ve found that the only way to get through it is to have support. Unless you are a single parent (a topic for another day), that support ought to come from your spouse.
These moments of support are not time-consuming or costly. It can be as simple as walking in the door at night and giving your spouse a hug. It might mean showing up to his or her presentation, performance, or work party. It could even be as easy as asking “What can I do for you today?” One of the best ways to support your spouse is by continuing to “date” each other. Taking the time to do fun things together allows you to remember why you got married in the first place. Weekly dates keep the fires of romance burning and they help you remember that there is more to life than parenting!
Over the years, my husband has given me tremendous support. When I held piano recitals, my husband would always be there early to hand out the programs—a huge show of support since it meant he had to leave work early. He would also hand out treats after the recital, allowing me time to visit with the parents of my students.
But how does this help our parenting? Happy spouses make for happy parents. When you know your efforts are appreciated, or even noticed, you feel valued as a person. Feeling valued as a person allows you to focus on others—the kids—and not yourself.
Another part of being supportive is being willing to sit down together and come up with a parenting plan. Although you can’t cover every possible circumstance, you can set some guidelines for yourselves that put you and your spouse on the same parenting page. When parents take the time to do this, something wonderful happens. The kids soon realize that their parents are a team. The kids will not be able to manipulate or pit the parents against each other. (If you don’t think kids do this, you don’t have kids yet!) This is a big step in positive parenting! Even though kids express the idea that they wish they could pit one of you against the other, the truth is that if they know the parents are united, they feel secure and confident.
If your parenting feels disjointed, if you feel alone even though you have a spouse, if you need encouragement or recognition, now is the time to take your honey on a date, sit down somewhere, and discuss how you can support each other in ways that matter to the two of you. Your kids will thank you for it later.
Written by: Phyllis Rosen
Consistent Parenting There’s an old saying: A jug fills drop by drop (Buddha). In light of the saying: What do these stories have in common? My daughter was home schooled for two years of middle school. Each morning we had school: math, history, reading, science, […]
My husband and I have six children. Six!!! Who can believe it? This fact puts Dave (my husband) and I into the “experienced parents” category–especially since the youngest is now 23 years old. Parenting is not easy. Should I say that again?? Parenting is not easy. […]
I had so much fun analyzing parenting styles in “Arthur” last week that I decided to do another cartoon animal related post. Although the Crosswires and the Barneses are a little bit more dysfunctional than the Reads, the Baxters, and the Frenskys, they still pass parenting muster.
The Crosswire family:
The Crosswires are Elwood City’s equivalent of the Rockefellers and they very much fit into the rich parent stereotype. You know the one—whenever their daughter needs quality time, the parents buy her a new toy and leave her with the butler. Mr. Crosswire gets very little screen time and Mrs. Crosswire gets even less. As such, Muffy is quite spoiled and frequently relies on whining and wheedling to get her way, rather than actually thinking about the problem she needs to solve.
However, things aren’t all bad in the Crosswire household. True, Muffy’s mother is rarely seen and when she is she never says anything. She gets a line in the head lice episode where she reminisces on her own experience with lice, but it’s the nanny (who only appears once or twice) who’s actually washing Muffy’s hair. But Bailey, Muffy’s butler/mentor, is a wise character who helps acquaint her with opera and get a book club started. And Mr. Crosswire himself isn’t all that bad. He takes Muffy to the opera and to art exhibits. He also takes over coaching the soccer team when none of the other parents will step up. Mr. Crosswire enables Muffy’s spoiled lifestyle, but he genuinely seems to care about his daughter and just wants what’s best for her.
The Barnes family:
Binky is first introduced to the audience as a bully in a gang called the Tough Customers, and his parents are apparently unaware of his bullying tendencies. However, as the series goes on, Binky sheds the stereotype more and more as it’s revealed that he likes ballet and catching butterflies, both hobbies that his parents fully support.
Binky, like Buster, seems to be a victim of helicopter parenting—there’s an episode where he finds out that he has a peanut allergy and his mom kicks into High Mom Mode, trying to protect him. As a result, Binky sometimes acts out to assert his own independence. At the end of the aforementioned episode, though, because he tells his mom how he feels, she agrees to be a little less involved and he agrees to check in with her a little more often. The fact that they communicate and continually reassess their standing is the signal of a healthier relationship to come.
Both the Crosswires and the Barnses want what’s best for their kids, but that’s not enough—they have to communicate with them. The best parents tell their kids their reasoning for rules that seem arbitrary, but they also listen to feedback and adjust accordingly.
You don’t have to be perfect to be a good parent. Just listen to your heart*.
*listen to the beat, listen to the rhythm, the rhythm of the street…
—Becca Barrus, Stance
Do you ever find yourself over-analyzing your favorite shows from childhood? If so, then this post is for you. Today I’ll be looking at the different parenting styles of three of the families in the popular PBS kids’ show “Arthur.” Arthur’s Parents: As David and […]
by Jenna Hoffman
I was ready to move out of my parents’ house long before I actually did. By the time I was eighteen, my family was practically begging me to leave. My mom and I argued more often than not, my dad and I barely spoke, and my siblings were just nuisances to be tolerated.
When my mom dropped me off at my dorm the first day of freshman year, there was nothing in my heart but joy for my new found freedom. Although my parents only lived twenty minutes away, I can count on one hand the number of times I went home that year. I was having too much fun pulling pranks on the boys across the way and hosting spontaneous game nights with my new friends.
For the most part, this attitude continued through my sophomore year and into my junior year as well. As I had opportunities to live with and learn from a variety of people, I realized that everyone else seemed to have been raised much differently than I had. I started to make dangerous comparisons, comparisons which led to confusing thoughts and subsequent unfair accusations.
I was frustrated with the way I’d been raised. In my limited scope of life, I felt that I might have turned out better had my parents practiced “the right” parenting techniques. I might have been a better communicator and friend, a more competitive student and athlete. I might have had a stronger testimony of the gospel and a better grasp on the complexities of life.
According to my young and selfish self, everything I wasn’t and everything I didn’t have was my parents’ fault.
In the following months, I put my brain through a metaphorical meat processor in an attempt to figure myself out. I wanted to dig into the vaults of my upbringing and unearth the causes and effects of the person I had become. It was a long and emotionally painful process, punctuated by intense arguments with my parents and teary conversations with friends.
During one such conversation, a friend, who was a parent herself wisely told me, “I’ve learned that part of becoming an adult is accepting that your parents made mistakes, and forgiving them for it.” This piece of advice revealed two things to me: that everyone else had imperfect parents, just like I did; and that my parents were not just parents, they were people. I could not claim perfection, so why did I expect them to be able to?
This realization was the first step in accepting my parents for who they were rather than trying to change them into who I wanted them to be. Instead of blaming them for what I felt they’d done wrong, I took a deeper look into their own ideas and experiences, and I began to appreciate them for what they’d done right. And when I really took that time to evaluate my family in a fair and honest way, I discovered that although there were flaws, and grievances, and mistakes, at the core there was only pure and unadulterated love. And that is the way things are.