Monday, April 9, 2012

5 Things I Learned From Mom & Dad About Parenting

"I need a lesson about parenting from your mom and dad, because that's how I want to raise my kids."

I've heard this a number of times since high school.  I think it's both a compliment to my parents and to my sister, brother, and me.  My parents have always gone above and beyond the call of parental duty, and they still do -- no matter how old we are or where we live.  I'm not a mother yet, so I can only imagine how proud I would feel if someone said that to me.  However, I still felt proud hearing that!  I guess I'm not too shabby at this "makin' my parents proud" business!  The latest person to say such a thing about my parents?  My husband.  :-)

I know it will be helpful to write down all the things I observe and learn from my parents, but instead of writing them in a journal, I figured this blog would be just as good a place as any to keep those notes!

So here are five (of many) things I've learned about parenting from Mom & Dad:

1.  Keep the lines of communication open.  Make sure you're always on the same page and that everyone in the family feels encouraged and appreciated.  Communication was key in maintaining the family schedule which was always packed with dance classes, voice lessons, rehearsals, school activities, shows, sports, piano lessons, Eagle Scouts, etc.  It also kept our family grounded and in tune.  We always knew where everyone else was.  We supported each other's activities.  Even scolding came in the form of discussion rather than lecturing.  Which leads me to #2.

2.  Conversation works better than yelling.  I was never grounded, but it wasn't because I never disobeyed or broke a rule.  My parents perfected the art of making me see the error of my ways through discussion which always explicitly included: a) what I did wrong, b) why it upset them, c) what I should have done instead, and d) that they loved me.  It sounds like something unattainable out of a parenting book, but when approached genuinely, it totally works!  I NEED TO DO THIS!

3.  Your kids are never too old to be encouraged.  My dad is the master of encouragement.  My mom is equally supportive, but my dad always verbalizes it.  Notes like "Have a grrrreat day, beauty!  We're so proud of you!" are now sent in a text message instead of taped to my bathroom mirror.  I'm turning 28 this year, and I still love those "just because" e-mails, text messages, and phone calls.

True story: We have home video footage of me (age 5?) telling my cousin Sara, "You can do anything if you put your mind to it!"  Thanks, Dad!  I also learned how to spell "victory" at a young age:

"Victory, victory is our cry!  V-I-C-T-O-R-Y!"

4.  Be involved but not overbearing.  Everything was a family affair.  My parents didn't just show up and clap their hands for me.  My mom was PTA president, Area Coordinator for CYT, show choir parent booster club president, dance studio office assistant, and national trip tour guide (Hawai'i, Nashville, New York -- she now leads international trips).  My dad, who worked full-time, assisted my mom in all of those endeavors.  He would drive dinner to the theater on his way home from work when I had rehearsal until 11:00pm.  It wasn't enough for them to show up; they always got involved.  I think they found joy in being involved in my life that way, and let's be honest, it was a productive way of keeping their eye on me too.

5.  Document everything!  There are collections of home videos and photo albums... and then there's my family.  We have a library of memories.  My mom made scrapbooks of all of our shows.  Our family photo albums are coded (A-Z, AA-ZZ, AAA-ZZZ) and are approaching the quadruple digits (AAAA-ZZZZ).  Our home videos span from 1987 to now -- complete with my dad's amateur cinematic skills of fading in and out and setting the scene with narration before capturing footage.  We love nothing more than watching those videos (now transferred to DVD).  And we three kids have memories to laugh about even though we were too young to actually remember them.

Parenting is an extremely personal journey, and I respect that!  You may or may not find this insightful.  But I wanted to document this for my own future reference too!

I hope you enjoyed your Easter, Passover, or regular ol' weekend!  I wish you a magnificent week ahead!


Unknown said...

Lindsay, your mom is GORGEOUS! I agree about being involved but not overbearing. My parent's were always involved in my life (especially in high school, my mom was a band/color guard mom) but never overbearing!

Jenna // The Life of the Wife said...

Awww I loved this!! What good lessons your parents taught you! When you guys finally decide to have kids (get on that will ya?! :) you will have tons of awesome tidbits to share!


Gesci said...

This is a fantastic post! First of all, who *is* your blog for at the end of the day? YOU. That said, (and secondly) we can all look over your shoulder and learn along with you. I have no intention of having human children, but I think so many of these points can apply to any of us- with ANY relationship! These are applicable to romantic relationships, friendships, even business relationships: respectful tones go further than losing your temper, be helpful, encouraging, and supportive but don't take over someone else's life, and take pictures/send notes- Lindsay, this is how to be a GREAT human, not just parent!! (consider me giving your parents kudos here, too!)

Danielle said...

I can't get over how much you and your mother look alike -- you are both gorgeous! This was a fabulous post and love that it was personal. Your parents did a great job and you'll do the same with your kids someday! Hope you had a fab Easter!

Katie Price said...

I love that your parents still encourage you, even as an adult. I think it's awesome that your dad is still your biggest fan!

Kristen Danielle said...

Danielle is right- your mom looks like an older version of you. Both gorgeous women! And your dad is quite a handsome guy himself!!

All of the things you listed are things I want to show and do with my future children- all so important!! Thanks for sharing.


Empirically Erin said...

Hi Lindsay, I really enjoyed this post. I think about how I will raise my children someday too and I should probably just take lessons from my parents. I take comfort in knowing that many people parent the same way their parents did. I love what you said about discipline also being a discussion because that's how it was for me too. I had (and still have) so much respect for my parents that most of the times I just didn't want to disappoint them.

Thanks for a great post!

Katie said...

what a good post! thank God for such amazing parents!!

Laura said...

You are very lucky! I think those tips are perfect for parenting ;)

Unknown said...

so true! very thankful for amazing parents :)

moliver said...

I've always thought your parents were awesome, starting way back when Summer and I were in middle school. It's true, they were always involved and fun to be around. I look forward to applying these tips as my husband and I raise our boys. Hopefully they'll turn out as awesome as you guys!
-Michelle Oliver

Unknown said...

WOW what great parents! You have such great examples!

I especially love the "your kids are never too old to be encouraged" sooooo true!

and document everything…. ummm holllllaaaa. My grandmother offish passed her family historian crown s I feel like this one is especially important!
happy mondayyyyyy

RadiantKristen said...

Your family sounds great! Good on you for realizing this, and starting to make a list of ways you can be a good parent

Devon said...

I love these tips. You have a very loving family! The notes from your dad? Sweetest thing ever.

Emily @ Emmy June said...

Your parents sound awesome! And obviously they are also ridiculously good looking. So there's that, too.

I'm with Mr. TBS, I want to be like your parents...haha!

I learn cool parenting stuff from watching my sisters too. One is really good at always giving her kids choices. But they are always choices that work for her too, so it's a win-win. They feel like they have the control, but she has ultimate control by creating the options to begin with. Pretttty slick.

Holly said...

Parents can truly be a blessing! I definitely hope to be a mom in the future so what wonderful suggestions :)

Leanne said...

I love this post! Thank you for being so open and sharing. Really good advice :)


Alexis @ ChristianWifeStyle said...

Love this! It made me want to go talk to my parents and see what things they think worked best and worst as I was growing up.

Bev said...

First off, your parents are GORG!!! I can totes see where you get your good looks from... BOTH of em!

I totally agree with the list you outlined... I think the most valuable thing is the communication being open. My dad and I have an AMAZING relationship, and always have. When I have news about anything and everything, he's my GO TO person!

Thanks for sharing your family and personable memories with us all!