I work with a lot of families from all different walks of life. I love hearing their stories, supporting them and also learning from them.
I recently spent the week with the 10-year old son of some friends, as they needed to go away for work. I was very inspired by their parenting, the way they are with their son and what this is teaching him.
They really instil in their son that he is part of the family and that he also has a responsibility to contribute to ensure that the house flows, that everyone does their part and that they support one another.
Spending a week with this boy was amazing. Each morning he got up with a bounce in his step and went about getting himself organised for school. He would take the dog for a walk around the property, clean up the yard and any mess left by the dog, then he would come back inside and start to prepare his lunch for the day. He didn’t see this as a chore. It was just what he did. He would often ask what was for dinner and then ensure that any food needed was taken out of the freezer to defrost during the day.
It was awesome to see a child onto things like this. He displayed an awareness that went well beyond himself and just his needs. His parents are attentive of what is going on for him and talk to him about his day. They always support him to take responsibility for his part in situations, really listen to and enjoy his sharings and encourage him to express his understanding and perspective of things.
His parents hold consistent boundaries and explain why these are there. If he makes a mistake, they don’t put him down however, they definitely pull him up on it; sometimes laughing at what has happened but still holding him to account and ensuring that he corrects what’s needed.
I love that these parents really know their son and what he is capable of and also the type of parenting he requires. They parent him in a way that fosters his qualities and supports him to bring these out and further develop them. They step in when needed and also step back at times too allowing him to have experiences, make his own choices when appropriate and learn from these.
The result of this is an extremely loving, responsible, fun kid who is confident in himself, willing to try new things and learn from them, able to engage with other kids and adults and also has the ability to entertain himself and be self sufficient when needed.
I have seen this child in a variety of different situations and he is able to hold himself and also connect with and relate to people of all different ages.
It is not about raising a ‘perfect’ child as everyone has their learnings and situations in life that will challenge them. What I love about their parenting is that they are raising a child who is engaged in and committed to life and is being taught about how to handle and deal with life while also having an awareness of knowing how to have loving relationships and being able to express himself while also being aware of others.
When I spoke to the parents about what I appreciated about how they raise their son, they shared, "What we find about parenting is that kids are very mature and we too are learning and growing as we raise our son. What we have found is that we are in constant conversation so that we all understand what is going on, we check in with each other and have real conversations, we discuss everything, even the things that are going on for us. Some discussions can be challenging however at the end of it we all feel heard and connected and we have a lot of fun. The bottom line is we talk a lot".