There is no final answer. If you are looking for a blog that tells you exactly how to live, what to say to your children, what to feed your children, when and how long they should sleep, how they should learn, how many hours a day you should spend together building craft projects to ensure that they will grow up to be happy, healthy, confident, capable adults then you are missing the point. No one can tell you the final answer. You need to live knowing that your life will change, your children will change, what works today may not work tomorrow, what your children enjoy today may be irrelevant tomorrow. I do not know you or your children. I do not know how you have raised them up to this point and I cannot know all the variables in your life. I do not know the final answer on any specific topic, even for myself.
What I do know is this: If your children are happy and feel safe, know that you are there for them no matter what, that nothing they do will make you withdraw your love, that who they are and who they become will not change your love for them, that you are going to do everything you can to make sure their needs are met and that they are more important to you than anything else in the universe, then you should probably keep doing what you are doing.
If you and your children fight or argue frequently, you resent your children and feel the need to vent about them to friends, family and absolute strangers, if your children have "problem behaviors" that leave your frustrated and angry, if you cannot wait for your children to leave the house to go to school, their friends house or to get an apartment of their own, if your family life is full of stress and anxiety, if your children fear you, if your children hide their feelings from you and avoid expressing what they want and need, then you need to consider if this is what you really want for yourself and your children. I'm hoping that this is not what you want for yourself and your children. In that case, I encourage you to keep learning and growing and finding new ways to heal the hurts and create connection, trust, and respect in your family relationships.
How do you want to live as a family? Have you ever written up how you want to live as a family like I did in "How we live at our house." What kind of relationship do you want with your children now and in the future? When you think about your life with your children do you feel warm and fuzzy? Are you comfortable with how you interact with them? Do you feel good about where you are getting information about parenting and living together as a family? Is someone telling you to do things that don't feel right to you? Does it not feel right because it is different from how you were raised, how you believe things have to be, how you believe things should be? Does it not feel right because it is causing conflict between you and your children, making you feel sad when you implement a proscribed punishment, or causing your child distress? There are so many people who will tell you that they know how you should parent, they have the magic solution, they can tell you exactly what to do and guarantee you results. There are no guarantees. Listen to your heart, listen to your children, seek out new ideas about parenting, but be aware that only you can know what really works for your family. No one should be giving you a final answer.
Please remember that when I am writing I cannot cover ever possible variable, every allergy, sensitivity, combination of family members, health issue of parents or children, spiritual path, financial situation and educational option. If I tried to write so that I covered ever possible variable my blog posts would be pages long and my children would not be getting their needs met.
If you feel the need to justify your life, or your parenting, or your relationship with your children after reading one of my blog posts then ask yourself if you are making excuses, feeling defensive because you have doubts about how you are living, or if you actually do have a special situation where what I'm suggesting would not help you and your children live a more connected, trusting, love filled life.
Nothing is more important than my relationship with my children but how we maintain connection, what our relationship looks like, changes, shifts and grows as we grow together.