The Eighth and Final Square

with courage face the thing you fear so the pawn becomes the queen

With a baby on the way, I feel really unequipped to handle any kind of “bible stuff” in regards to my child. *I* don’t know what *I* believe, how am I supposed to pass it on?

The other thing is, I keep thinking that I don’t want to do what my dad did and just indoctrinate my children that This Is The Way, and when they get older, they won’t know WHY they believe This Is The Way. I don’t want to make up their minds for them, I want them to…but at the same time, is that what I’m supposed to do?

I don’t really consider myself a christian right now. More like a Deist/Theist (not sure of the difference). I believe in love, equality, and liberty. None of which, as far as I can see, contradict anything Jesus said anyway. Is that enough? Is it enough for now?

We were talking about the things we grew up with…Psalty (me) and The Donut Man (Scottie), and do we want our kids growing up with the same songs and stories, or what? A couple of The Donut Man songs he told me about were triggering to me: “Obey your parents and you’ll be happy” was the gist of one of them. I know we’re talking about little kids here, but I’m afraid I won’t know what to do and I’ll make my kids obey no matter what. I mean, it is easier in some respects for the parent, but I don’t want to be like that.

Is it possible to have kids who are obedient when they need to be, without being robots?

Sometimes I get irritated when my inlaws tell my littlest siblings-in-law to go to bed and an hour later they’re still up (or have been up and down). I’m not used to that. It makes me wonder if I should be more relaxed about things. I mean, I wouldn’t spank one of my kids for being out of bed when I told them to go to bed (like my parents would), but where is the line? Where do you put your foot down and where don’t you?

Sometimes I feel so unequipped. I know all about how to spank a child into obedience. And I’ve been conditioned and brainwashed and taught to just do whatever my husband says, so being able to think for myself really has me feel like I’m floundering sometimes. This is also why I wanted to wait to have kids…so I could be a bit more grounded in what I know and believe and stuff. (Unfortunately, accidents happen…haha)

I’ve also been thinking about how much I feel like a teenager all over again…in my thoughts at least. My dad was always proud of the fact that we had made it through our teen years without really questioning or “rebelling” or anything. Right now, it just kind of disgusts me. The more I think about it, the more I think that’s actually necessary and healthy, because then by the time you’re my age, you’re grounded in what you think and believe. I’m twenty-four, for crying out loud! I’m in my mid-twenties. I’m too young for a midlife crisis and too old for “teenage rebellion”.

It just makes me mad all over again at my dad.

I’m just glad I seem to have gotten a double dose of common sense. lol

I don’t want to spank, either. Not unless it’s absolutely necessary. I don’t want my kids to grow up to fear me and my spanking instrument. I want my kids to love me, to want to talk to me. I want them to have a real childhood. But I don’t want to spoil them either. How do you do this?!?

Phoenix On July - 2 - 2011

28 Responses so far.

  1. Sara says:

    I don’t know, but I want to know too :(

  2. Krista says:

    No babies on the way for us yet, either, but whenever I think about it, I. Just. Don’t. Know. :( Spanking isn’t the only way my parents disciplined me, but they were pretty big into punishing the attitude and ‘first time obedience’ (although they’ve slacked off with the littlest, YES). Disrespectfulness is a major trigger for them and I wonder what happened to them as kids to make it so hard for them to take anything that makes them feel disrespected. I don’t want to have those kind of knee-jerk reactions with my kids. :(

    • quicksilverqueen says:

      Same here–I don’t want to have knee-jerk reactions. My parents always said they didn’t, or tried not to…but they did. And yeah, first-time obedience (well actually more like right-away obedience…they’ll do it, just maybe in a few minutes, which my parents previously considered disobedience) has slacked off a little with my youngest siblings, it was always irritating to me when they would get upset at me for waiting a few minutes to do something, when the little ones did it all the time.

  3. Brea says:

    I am also not a parent yet (hope to be within the next year or so), and I have had a few of the same concerns. My family was very different from yours, but my father still did some of the indoctrination/spanking stuff. I know I don’t want to go that way.

    Here is a blogger I have been reading, a Christian woman who practices gentle discipline: http://hippiehousewife.blogspot.com/2010/11/hows-of-discipline.html. There are a number of others I keep in my feed reader. I am hoping to emulate them.

    As for religious training, I am not going to focus too heavily on it. If, at some point, we are part of a church that is a good community, I will take my children to it. If they ask questions about life and the world, I will tell them what I believe (and also that others believe differently). But I don’t plan to have books of illustrated Bible stories, and certainly no indoctrination-type lessons. Mostly, I want to model what grace looks like as much as I can, so that when they go looking for God, they are more easily able to recognize Him. I think the very authority-driven churches and families make it harder for their children to recognize God.

    • quicksilverqueen says:

      Thanks for the link! I’ve been following A Young Mom for a while, and she advocates no spanking as well. She was the second person I knew of that didn’t spank.

      That sounds sorta like what I want to do. My husband wants to have illustrated bible storybooks, but I’m not sure…it just doesn’t feel right to me for some reason. But maybe I’ll feel differently in a few years, who knows!

  4. Young Mom says:

    I’m still figuring out how this parent thing works, and I’ve really only been figuring it out for the last 2 years, before that I was more a mommy machine who called home to ask for advice if I was unsure of myself. I am still so afraid sometimes, but it is getting better. I still have things that I struggle to tolerate, because my parents never tolerated it, and yet I know that my parents were completely unreasonable and I don’t want to parent like them. Getting counseling has helped, being honest about my fears and feelings, and reading everything on gentle discipline I can get my hands on has helped even more. (There are some great pages you can follow on facebook that link some awesome articles) I still working on becoming the parent I want to be, and it is scary. But I’m learning to take it one day at a time, and keep practicing , and it gets easier and easier.
    You will be a great Mom, because you are more interested in what is best for YOUR CHILD, not what is best for you , or what makes you look good. I’m still not sure how to pass on a faith to my children (especially since some days I don’t even believe it) I’m not really comfortable with bible’s, or most scripture songs (although Scott Green isn’t so bad) but I find that I’m OK with answering my kids questions as honestly as I can, and that’s just where I’m at right now.

    • quicksilverqueen says:

      Yeah, this is going to be a totally new adventure for me! I’m probably going to have to learn to be a lot more tolerant about stuff too.

      I sure hope I will be a great mom! (*eek* “mom”…makes me feel old… >_> LOL)

      Do your kids ask you about your family? (Do you have contact with them?) What do you say?

      • Young Mom says:

        Although we live 1000 miles away, we do have contact with my family. We visit about once or twice a year, and they have only been able to afford one visit up here since we moved here almost 3 years ago. My girls are just getting to be old enough that they remember them inbetween visits. My mom talks with them on skype every couple of months. So far, I guess my kids know that grandpa and grandma live far away with all the aunts and uncles, and that we go to see them once in a while. I do know that if my children were to be told anything or observe anything that I consider harmful while we were at my families home, I would not hesistate to talk to my kids about it, make it clear that we do not believe/behave that way. I actually a bit nervous about it, since this upcoming visit will be the first time my kids are really be old enough to observe and talk about what is going on. I may even have to confront my parents on some things, we’ll see. But we are hedging off some of the issues by staying in a hotel instead of at their house, so we’ll see how it goes. It hurts sometimes that they do not have the idealic grandparents, I will probably never feel comfortable letting my kids sleep over there, or really even leaving them alone for extended lengths of time.

  5. Libby Anne says:

    Guess what – you don’t have to have all the answers! No parent actually does! So feel free to admit that and set out on parenting like an adventure.

    One thing I had to realize was that everything my parents taught me about child rearing was suspect. Some of it was great, but some was crap, so any time I’ve gone to put something I had learned from them into practice I’ve had to stop and ask myself, does this really make sense? WHY am I doing this? Is there a good reason? This is tough, but it gets easier with time.

    La Leche League and books on Attachment Parenting are helpful too. For me, parenting is about forming a relationship with my little girl, not giving her a list of rules. I like to give her options, and communicate with her, let her voice her concerns and her desires. She’s two now and I haven’t ever spanked her and it’s never been a problem.

    And like you, I try to let my little girl be normal, and I see that as a gift.

    Oh and, congrats!

    • quicksilverqueen says:

      I’m glad I don’t have to have all the answers! (Meanwhile the perfectionist side of me is screaming “YOU DON’T HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS!?!?” ;) lol)

      Those are some of the things I’m thinking about beforehand…what my parents did. When I do something, I want there to be a REASON, not just because “it’s what my parents did”. Cuz like you said, more likely than not, it’s something I DON’T want to be doing.

      Thanks!!

  6. Libby Anne says:

    Also, I’ve been looking over your blog and learned that you have ten siblings. There are so many similarities between my family and yours, though my family never officially rejected me, they just made my life hell and so I left an then they acted surprised. They’ve actually really covered up what happened, rather than broadcasting it, so that some in their community didn’t know anything happened. Anyway, I’m still allowed to visit home, though that was up in the air for a while. All those siblings, though – seriously, that tore at me more than anything else. It was completely unfair of my parents to make me choose between my intellectual/emotional/spiritual freedom and my family. That should never have happened. Fortunately, like you, I had the sweetest man waiting for me on the other side and rooting for me, supporting me, loving me.

    And you know what? That will never happen to that sweet baby you are looking forward to holding in your arms, and that will never happen to my adorable two-year-old whose curls bounce when she laughs. We may have shit in our backgrounds, but tomorrow is a brand new day and we can make things different for the new little lives we bring into this world.

    • quicksilverqueen says:

      I’ve actually got eleven…Ben, Joe (married with a baby), Eric, Beth, Em, Kate, Tess, Rase, Jay, Abby, and Elle.

      I’m so glad it won’t!! That is I think, right now from where I am, the best thing about having a child…knowing she won’t have to endure that and she (well, or he) will grow up strong and free.

  7. Jo Mama says:

    One piece of advice… Before the baby is born, go get a book called “Parenting With Love and Logic”, by Jim Fay. There are all kinds of followups to it, but it’s the main one. It’s basically a blueprint for responsible and loving parenting that get results, without screaming and hitting. It has natural consequences that are not unkind, that teach children the lessons they need to learn. I am also a non-spanker. My mother was a hitter (and a slapper, and a pincher, and a hair puller, and a kicker, and….) and I always SWORE I’d never spank my kids, after all the beatings I got from her… yet, at some point, things weren’t working and I relented on that. Didn’t last long, though…. it felt like a betrayal of their trust, each and every time, and more than that, IT DIDN’T WORK. It did not teach them anything about responsibility and self control, only to be scared of me. After I realized all this, I swore I’d never spank them again, and I haven’t. I then started reading Jim Fay’s works, and it was just what I needed. I had no idea what a peaceful, loving parenting process looked like…. this book paved the way. And he’s not even paying me to say all this! I think all parents should read this book, but esp. those of us who were abused as children.

  8. Charity says:

    When I was pregnant with my son I had similar fears about being a good parent. I too was spanked, ears pinched/pulled, pinched & yelled at very often & I was DETERMINED to raise my son differently. I’ve attended anger management classes which have helped tremendously & I’ve read everything I can regarding non-punitive parenting & discipline. I don’t spank either, but my parenting style is less about not spanking & more about modelling behaviors I want to see in my child. Thus I can’t spank (lie, yell, etc) since I don’t want my child to hit (lie to, yell at, etc) anyone either. & I 2nd the Love & Logic book.

  9. Meijer says:

    You might want to take a look at gentlechristianmothers.com
    It’s a community of mothers who decided not to spank. They have lots of tips, book reccomendations etc.

  10. Maria says:

    I am not a parent so I can’t say what works for sure but I would think it’s enough for them just to know the basics, the stories. When they are older, then can research on their own.

    My parents (mixed faiths [if you count atheism a “faith”]) raised me to be Christian but to also question things and research for myself. Not just Christianity, but other faiths too.

    I think, as a Christian, it’s important to remember we cannot save people, not even our own families. We can only teach, advise. It is up to the individual what to do with that information.

    It sounds like you’d make a great, strong mother anyways, so I wouldn’t be too worried about it.
    :)

  11. Marlana says:

    Hi, Girl. Listen, don’t over analyze this. You must learn as you go…..you don’t need to know everything now. And every child is different. With my kids, I am strict on bed time because they are grumpy when they stay up too late, and I need time to breathe. But you are right, spankings are not needed. I have never raised my own child, but I do believe that every child is different, even of your own biological kids. Its about guiding your children’s heart, not about imparting your valued onto them. That means every child is different. I highly recommend influentialparenting.wordpress​.com There is a facebook group for moms on there as well. I’ve learned so much from them about how to win kid’s hearts and guide them to Christ.

  12. Rebekah says:

    I deeply resent how I was parented. I feared becoming a parent and doing the same destructive crap that was done to me. I did not like the title of “authority”. During my first pregnancy I decided I didn’t want to be an “authority”, but rather a “guide”. But how? This was rarely if ever exhibited to me in my own life. I didn’t know how to take what was in my heart and put it into action. So I turned to parenting books. But not just any parenting books. I learned about Attachment Parenting. And from there I read Attachment Parenting books and articles and websites. And then I learned about Unconditional Parenting. And read the book by the same name and read UP articles and websites. And down the line I’ve stumbled upon other invaluable books – “Scream-free Parenting”, “Graceful Parenting”, “The Continuum Concept”. And a few books not only showed me how to be a better parent, but also helped me to further heal from my own shitty childhood – “Escape from Childhood” and “Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves”.

    Attachment Parenting started me on what I consider to be the right path and nearly 4 yrs into this journey I am still learning.

    I wish you and your family all the best.

    -Rebekah

    P.S. I see someone recommended Gentle Christians Mothers. Great recommendation for Christian parents. They espouse gentle parenting and are 100% against spanking. http://www.mothering.com is also another great resource. Not a Christian site, but lots of wonderful articles, information and tips regarding parenting.

    • quicksilverqueen says:

      Same here!! I HATE the word “authority”. Perhaps sometime I’ll post on here my dad’s garbage on authority…he was HUGE into that. Those sound like some good books, thanks for the recommendations!!

  13. Rebekah says:

    I forgot to mention. The reason why the things mentioned above resonated with me so much is because it emulated what I already felt in my heart. It aligned with my instincts, my intuition. Had it not been for that it wouldn’t have held my attention at all. I think it is really important for people to be in tune with their instincts and follow what is in their heart. That has never led me wrong.

    I’m sure this stuff is obvious, but I looked back over what I wrote above and realized I left out something really important ;)

    • quicksilverqueen says:

      YES…totally get you. I’m at mothering.com and reading an article about letting babies “cry it out”…and that IT’S OK NOT TO and my heart is doing a happydance because even with my siblings I HATED to put them in bed and listen to them cry, it went against every mothering instinct in me!

  14. Rebekah says:

    Reading that your father was big into “authority” sounds so much like the step”father” I was subjected to awhile growing up. He seemed to get some sort of sick thrill out of strictness with children, unnecessary (and stupid) rules, punishments galore for not conforming to the outlandish rules, lessons on why children are to be in their place while adults can do whatever the hell they want. Adults are to be respected! While me, the child, was almost constantly treated like crap. I can see now that nearly every time I ever got in trouble for not conforming to (obeying!) his strict rules and ridiculous expectations it was because I was following what was in my heart rather than following his *gasp* “authority”. Luckily, by the time I was a teenager he wasn’t living with us anymore and I was free to breathe and grow into more of the instinctual being my heart had been fighting to be. Rather than the robot I was being trained to be. Anyway, my original point for coming here and posting again (before I got into that tangent….which is so easy to do ;)) was to share this quote with you that I thought you might like. I found this yesterday on Twitter from a user by the name of FreeChildhood and it really, really resonated with me:

    “There is no word I hate seeing more in discussions of parenting than “obey”. It is an awful word and even worse concept.”

    I love that so much! That step”father” I grew up around was so HUGE on that word. To the point that I can’t even stand to hear it now that I am older. It’s taken me years to understand the damage he did/has done to me. Even now there are areas I’ve yet to comprehend.

    • quicksilverqueen says:

      I’m with you there again! My dad was HUGE into authority and unquestioning obedience. (I wrote about it a little in Hypocrisy Offends Me, about how he expected us, even as adults, to obey everything he said; meanwhile he didn’t obey HIS parents!

      I can’t stand to use the word “authority” unless I have to, and “obey” especially in regards to children.

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Welcome! This is my space on the internet to explore myself and my life and find my courage to turn into a queen. My Quilt No content on this blog may be used or reproduced elsewhere without a link back.

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