It's funny when you first become a parent, you think about parenting with such conviction and earnestness that it often becomes more of a way of doing something, than a way of understanding someone. I mean often I would care more about my kids behaviour externally than trying to understand their perspective. Early on, I read books, took classes and observed others as I entered the realm of parenting. And well, honestly over time, I became very legalistic about it. There probably are numerous reasons for that, but mainly I realized rules and hard core principles don't replace love and understanding. I couldn't ever measure up to the standards of parenting I learned and believed to be "right" and biblical, and it only proved to be a severing agent in my relationship with my kids and my husband. So, what changed? God helped me to see my kids as unique precious individual gifts from him more and more over time. My family dynamic was unique, and different from that of anyone else's and therefore required patience and understanding for where we personally all where at, at any given season of life. In other words, my cookie cutter ideas could not possibly work!!! (nor could anyone else's models for that matter!)
God has really lavished his love so abundantly on me, He is patient and loving with me -ALWAYS! He loves me for who I am, and so I long to have his heart for my kids as well. I want to view them how he views me, special, unique, and wonderful!! The more I sense God's love for me, the more I can love my kids without conditions.
So, parenting has become a journey that I can't ever predict, measure or figure out! I must have a go with the flow, and an open mind or I will only frustrate my children and be tempted to put them in a box or mold that they will never fit in.
Currently, I am making sure my kids feel so saturated in my love for them, that they will never once question it. I'm gonna tell them over and over and over so that they never doubt it, listen to them when they want to talk, and smother them with hugs, kisses and tickles until they beg me to stop!!! Okay, I know I am getting ridiculous, but if I can't get the love part rock solid with them, they will never grow up confident! And if all I am able to do well is love 'em up....then so be it! Now I am not saying I want to be lazy in training them, but they won't want to obey me out of their hearts if they don't first totally understand and sense my love and acceptance of them. Kinda like how Christianity should be! We are so amazed by God's love, so comforted by it so sure of it, that we want to please Him!!!
I have done a bit of interesting research on grace-based parenting, and have found some unique insight on the Scriptures used for discipline, in regards to child rearing. My husband and I are slower to punish our children and to talk through how we will handle issues that rise up, rather than have one set way of disciplining them (ex. spanking.) I found there are studies on the rod that are very interesting, and as I see God with different eyes than I used to, I struggle with the idea of corporal punishment. I want pure grace in all areas of my life, and God's love to be unquestionably dominant in the way I raise my four wonderful sons!!
(By the way, I realize I may create quite a stir with this post, in that I am seemingly chucking out a common held biblical view of parenting with the whole issue of spanking, but these are my personal thoughts and views, and everyone else can have their own views too! )