There’s an old saying, “When I was 20, I had no kids and seven different theories on how to raise them. Now I’m 60 years old with seven kids and no theories on how to raise them.”
I recall two different experiences that illustrate how true that can be. Years ago, I hosted a group of moms at my house. My 3&4 year olds were not accustomed to sharing their toys with ten other toddlers, and given the situation I thought they were doing remarkably well — with a little help over the rough spots. After our meeting ended and the moms were headed out the door, one woman whose only child was 16 months stopped to tell me exactly what I was doing wrong and how I ought to be raising my children. I smiled and thanked her, but was more thankful for the people behind her who were rolling their eyes at her audacity. In contrast, I once asked a mom of nine extremely well-behaved children for parenting tips. She just smiled, shrugged, and replied, “Every child is different.”
There are, however, some basics: love your kids unconditionally, be consistent.
I have a few favorite books that have contributed to my childrearing philosophy:
- The Way They Learn, by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias
- The Five Love Languages of Children, by Gary Chapman, PhD, & Ross Campbell, MD
- Why Gender Matters, by Leonard Sax, MD, PhD
- Siblings Without Rivalry, by Adele Faber
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