The foundation we as parents set becomes the normal to the child. Whether good or bad, healthy or destructive, uplifting or degrading … the child exists in whatever circumstance is created. And such is that reality until they leave the house or something fundamentally changes and causes that “normal” to be recognized as “off” or “okay.”
It is from this normal that the parent, who was a child before actually raising children, must recognize and determine if that is the condition they will set for their children. Below are some questions we should ask ourselves to understand our normal … and what normal we are establishing for our children. Due to the natural cycle (children who become parents who raise children), these can be viewed from multiple lens’ as a measure of child/parent normalcy:
* Independent adults, or dependent adults upon/in marriage?
* Seeking parenthood, or seeking sex at time of inception?
* Father was physically present or physically absent?
* Father was mentally/emotionally present, absent or abusive?
* Mother and Father 'all-in" or half-in during upbringing?
* Do parents have a mature relationship?
* What example/reference do parents have to draw from?
* Are parents educated and/or dedicated?
* Do the parents love and respect themselves, and the children?
The above are the foundational questions. The next are likely unknown by the children based on our limited memories before turning six years old, but the parents know how they treated/interacted with their under five year old children.
* Are the babies exposed to love/affection?
* Are the babies exposed to drugs or violence?
* Does the baby spend quality time with dad?
* Do the parents sing, read and count to the baby?
That is a small sampling of questions relative to the very early subconscious years. Then you have what is done during the critical shaping years (~6-12).
* Do the children respect the parents (and listen)?
* Are the children taught money management?
* Are school performance standards defined?
* Is behavior around others defined?
* Is hygiene and health standards defined?
* Is self-esteem and self-worth taught?
* Is (avoidance) of sex, drugs, drinking and abuse taught?
* Are the kids abused (in any form)?
* Is love shown (physically, verbally, written)?
* Is discipline enforced (in any form)?
Up to this point, the StartPoint blogs have focused on the parental foundation. As important as the philosophy, the planning and the standards are, the harder part for most of us is in the implementation/execution of that plan. Because that plan includes actual living, breathing, growing children in a society (with other children, different perspectives, other adults and differing social definitions) that creates uncontrollable variables, the more dynamic aspect of parenting is the upbringing of our children during the different phases of their life.
And that is where the next series of blogs will start, with the critical shaping years.