Parenting Without Judgment – There Is More Than One Way to Raise a Child
Every child is unique. No two are alike and not every child will be enriched the same experiences. There is more than one way to raise children to become productive, responsible, happy adults. All over social media and in endless articles, people tout their decisions. It is wonderful if your child is happily involved in youth sports, community activities, dance lessons or camp. Be happy with your decision without judgment of others. Parenting is not a competitive sport. It is a journey. It is an experience as unique as every individual.
The goal of parenting is to foster independent, capable adults who positively contribute to our society. There is more than one way to teach independence and confident decision making. My children, for example, did not attend camp. They have two working parents and time together has always been at a premium during the school year. My husband and I viewed summer as our family time. I have always worked less hours in the summer. We considered ourselves fortunate to have time to reconnect, explore and have many summer experiences together. That did not make them less independent. During the school year, they had the added responsibilities that are common in families with two career parents. Today, they are both independent adults. My older son moved to college with no problem and my younger son is busy packing. Our choice was ours for our own reasons.
Many parents today are choosing alternative educational settings. Children are being homeschooled, attending charter schools or choosing other options rather than the traditional public school route. These options may not be my choice or yours but we need to stop declaring them wrong. We assume that children who are homeschooled don’t have interaction with peers. That is not true in today’s world. They are in dance class with your child. They belong to homeschooling social groups. Children who are homeschooled are attending college alongside our public school graduates. When I really think about it, my public school educated children had a dose of homeschooling. Many of our excursions have been to historical sites and museums. We went on many an educational vacation. If like me, you value connecting their formal learning to informal educational activities then you are participating in a tiny bit of homeschooling. Choosing that as the main educational core is the right of any parent.
Acceptance and tolerance are about more than race, religion and sexual orientation. It is about accepting that the decisions that other people make are as deserving of non-judgment. Perhaps if we let go of our cookie cutter views of how to exist and stopped competing when there shouldn’t be one winner, we would find a way to better co-exist and enhance each other’s life experiences.
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