I don't write about parenting much, since its really not my crowning achievement. I don't think fast, which makes decisiveness very challenging, especially when four children and one husband are asking five separate and demanding questions all at the same time.
Hence, my parenting style is perceived as quite laid back. Its more accurate to say that it takes me so long to make a decision, that the children happily run amuck while I stand around with my finger up my nose trying to think of the correct response. And, because I think too much, I overthink what that correct response might be.
While visiting my parents on the weekend, my mom made a comment about how she might have done things differently in raising us kids, and dad mused on what mistakes they might have made. It was easy for me to suggest that perhaps they'd not made many mistakes.
I know it now from the other side- that murky and confusing side of being the one who should do and say and know everything right.
There are a few simple things that I practise to keep myself from tripling my meds and running into the endless prairies barefoot and screaming for the Lord's return. One is to say "hmmmm" a great deal, while studying my children's faces. This communicates attentive listening and makes them believe that what they say is valid and worth my time. The other is to be evasive whenever possible. Quickly pronounced yes's and no's would only ensure that I'd have to have all my justifications at quick reference and just doesn't leave enough room for all the information that I've probably not yet assimilated. Another easy tip is to occasionally remind my children that I used to be a person. That radical statement may be a bit of a jolt to many a developing mind, but it might in fact save that same mind from possible future electro convulsive shock therapies.
When my kids grow up, they'll likely come back to me with lists of what I've done wrong to damage and maim their tender little selves. I hope I'll find the presence of mind to take a deep breath, gaze into their eyes, and........