When my daughter was born, I made a promise to myself to stay away from the parenting books and blogs so that I would be sure I was using my intuition to raise my child and not somebody else's ideals. I know my tendency to be dogmatic and follow rules to an extreme level.
I'm proud to say I (pretty much) followed this "no-rules" rule for the first year of Charley's life. I truly believed that this time was about loving and caring for my baby, first and foremost. I did that. And I did that well.
That said, when toddlerhood hit, I felt like my sweet rainbows and butterflies philosophy got knocked on its (earmuffs…) ass. I had no idea how to handle her tantrums (complete with body-flailing and head-banging) or how to transition from doing everything for her to allowing her to do some things for herself. It was time for me to face the music:
I needed help.
So I consulted the Google Gods and found more parenting philosophies than one could ever need. To start with, by psychology's standards, there's authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and uninvolved. But within those styles, there are nuances, and what you could call "schools of thought." So far, I've come accross:
- Positive parenting
- Attachment parenting
- Conscious parenting
- Spiritual parenting
- Slow parenting
- Waldorf parenting
- Reggio Emilia parenting
- Montessori parenting
- RIE parenting
- Hand-in-Hand parenting
Those last three really spoke to me. They're all a bit crunchy because, let's face it, I encapsulated my placenta, I breastfed until Charley was 18 months old, and the girl drinks homemade bone broth out of a sippy cup. I'm crunchy. And if you're more of a traditionalist, it's totally cool. Stick around and maybe you'll learn something or skip these posts all together.
Though different, all three of these philosophies have one thing in common: respect for the child. Through them, I've learnd the best thing I can do for my daughter is to treat her like a human being. Try to understand where she's coming from, what she's going through. Get down to her level as much as I can. But still remember that I am the authority. And she needs me to be that.
Amen to all of that.
Over the next few weeks, I'm going to share with you a summary of them here in hopes that you can come accross them faster than I did, and decide for yourself if any of them will work for you (or maybe a little bit of all three).
Warning: This stuff is nuanced and complicated. I still struggle with it all daily. I'm not pretending to be an expert. Quite the contrary, I'm telling it like it is — the good, the bad, and the very ugly.