Parenting with less stress {Letting go on the little things}

While I obviously didn't get this written on Wednesday but I decided to go ahead and write one for the week today. I hope you don't mind! :-)

   I have been thinking on several things that some parents get stressed about and one of the things that I admit bothers me when I see it in other parents is how quickly they will react to whatever their child is doing and say "NO!". I think sometimes that toddlers aren't the only ones that like to say that word. I think many parents do too.

  Obviously the word "no" has to be used sometimes. I firmly believe in "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." (Ephesians 6:1) and I plan to on write on Biblical training soon but I think often parents put many unnecessary demands on their children. I know every family is different and they have different reasons for doing things and so I certainly don't expect that we would have all the same ideas on good and safe conduct in children but I challenge you to think about what you say "no" to your children about. Make sure it is something that really matters and that you aren't just saying "no" because you think it is easier.

It might help if I give some examples of what I am talking about.....

Here are some of the things that I have had other shocked parents ask me, "You let your kids do that?":

  • Climb trees as soon as they are capable of doing so. Megan started doing that at age 2.
  • Let them learn how to climb the stairs.(at 8 -10 months when they are crawling) Just take the time to guide them the first few times.
  • Play in the woods even with the possibility of ticks and poisen ivy.
  • Play in the rain.
  • Run outside with bare feet on the snow. (For a quick thrill or to say hello to a visitor.)
  • Make a big mess doing some sort of craft project.
  • Use the sewing machine at an early age.
  • Let them have pocket knives. Naturally this is a great opportunity for teaching safety and proper ways to use knives. (And no, Megan hasn't been considered old enough to have one yet.)
  • Get wet in the sprinkler or somewhere else where there is lovely water on a hot day.
  • Sort nails at the age of one.
  • Use tools and let them try to build things at a young age.
  • Use scissors, pencils and pens very young.
  • Play in the rafters of an unfinished building.
  • Have fun baking (and making a BIG mess).
  • Play in the mud. My kids actually haven't had the opportunity to do this nearly as much as I did as a kid as rain drains away quickly around our place but they have done it some. I remember many happy hours as a child filled with mud and water, little boats my older brother made and make dams and rivers and I am sure getting filthy from head to toe!
I am not advising recklessness but I am encouraging everybody to let their kids be kids. Let them do something exciting in a good environment and don't make them seek their thrills from a TV or video games or who knows where else. I think this is especially important for boys.

   I think it helps a lot in reducing stress to not say "no" all the time but rather have firm rules on the things that are really important. Also it saves you time as you don't have to do everything for them because they gain independence when you teach them how to do things for themselves in some areas.

   I will admit this post is a reminder for me too. The boys have been wanting to open the windows in the van a lot lately when we drive. I personally don't prefer a windy and noisy ride and so I have said "No" many times but lately I have been trying to remember... this is really not that important why don't I just say "Yes"? It is so easy to please a child. It is nice to say "Yes" when something really doesn't matter.

 I would love to hear your thoughts on this!