Gifts for Dad ➔

Let me begin by stating a few obvious facts. First, there are many different styles of parenting. Second, different generations have different ideas about parenting. Third and finally, everyone has an opinion about what parenting style is best. 
 
For example, when I was growing up, I was aware of a stigma against parents who thought their kids walked on water; parents who thought their child could do no wrong. It was thought that this parenting style produced inconsiderate children who did whatever they wanted because no one would ever tell them they were doing anything wrong.
 
There is a part of me that can understand why the stigma against this parenting style exists. Offering unconditional support to our children sounds like a great idea in theory, but I also believe that children need the boundaries that are created when they feel the consequences of doing something inappropriate or unacceptable. The natural curiosity of children drives them to seek limits, limits which are sometimes defined by the disapproval of a loved one. 
 
However, the other end of the spectrum offers its own dangers. In trying to avoid being the type of parent who supports their children to a fault, it is possible to go too far in the opposite direction. In this case, parents may end up feeling like it is their job to be on guard for possible flaws in their children’s behavior. This can easily become a habit that is hard to shake, leading parents to constantly feel skeptical of their child’s behavior as well as responsible for it. In short, parents don’t trust their children. Which can send the message to children that they are not trustworthy. Not exactly fertile soil for healthy relationships on either end. 
 
I’ve done a lot of thinking about trying to find the middle ground; the point where we support our children and foster the kind of self-confidence that leads them to trust themselves, but also help them to develop the inner voice that helps them to regulate themselves when needed. 
 
The bad news? I don’t have “The Answer.” 
 
But what I do know is this: Of all the lessons I’ve learned in this life, my greatest teachers have been my biggest fans, not my biggest critics. 
 
It’s been the people who believe in me even when I make mistakes–the people who trust my choices even when they don’t understand them, because they believe in the person that I am–these are the people who make me want to grow, to learn, to be better. These are the people who taught me to believe I am worthy. Is there any greater gift we can give to one another?
 
So when I watch my daughter, when I think about the voice I use when I talk to her, the voice that will eventually become the voice in her head, I want to err on the side of kindness, the side of understanding, the side of trust. I want to believe in her so that she learns to believe in herself. I want to trust her so that she knows she is trustworthy. 
 
There will be times when she lets me down. There will be times when she breaks that trust. There will be times when I have to be skeptical of her choices and her actions and her words. But I believe that even in the times where I must, as a parent, be critical of her choices, I can still believe in her. I can believe in her, in the goodness I see in her soul. I can trust that I raised her to be a good human, and that together we can learn and grow, in spite of (or even because of) the mistakes we make along the way. Even when I can’t support her choices, I can support the amazing little human she is.
 
I don’t believe my child walks on water or that she can do no wrong. But that will never stop me from being her biggest fan. 
 
BestWestern-NYE (2)

Megan Launchbaugh

Megan is a Nebraska native who is still trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. She spent eight years working in the education field before studying to become a Licensed Massage Therapist. Most recently she has begun exploring stay-at-home-mommyhood while raising her two daughters in a blended family with her amazing husband. She loves taking pictures, ordering books from Amazon, wishing she could play the guitar, and planning what she will go back to school for next. She blogs about authenticity and raising authentic children and, when she isn't cleaning up toys or folding laundry, she can be found writing in her own little corners of the Internet. Keeper of the Snacks: Mommyhood Unedited http://www.keeperofthesnacks.wordpress.com/ Connect with Megan: Facebook http://www.facebook.com/keeperofthesnacks Twitter @keeperofsnacks

Oh, How I’ll Miss Little You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child standing in leaves, looking up, color photo

Oh, my sweet little child, I wish you could stay this little forever. I wish these days would never end. They are busy, loud, and chaotic—but, oh, how I love them! They make my life feel whole. Complete. I don’t know what I will do when these days are gone. I will miss your sweet little face looking up at me. The innocence in your eyes. Your sweet little grin. I will miss how your face lights up when you see me. How your little arms manage to give me the biggest hugs. How I can make everything better with...

Keep Reading

Find the People Who Will Root for You

In: Friendship, Kids, Motherhood
Empty sports field, color photo

My son participated in tryouts out for a new travel soccer team at the end of a recreational fall soccer season one chilly evening in November. He has been playing recreational soccer since he was three years old when we started with the local club. He has been asking about joining a travel team since kindergarten. In recent seasons, I watched him struggle in the recreational league. I watched him wanting a little bit more in the sport as he developed his passion—he was ready to grow.  We knew he loved soccer, and it was something he had always wanted...

Keep Reading

There’s Just Something about a 4-Year-Old

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
4 year old girl smiling outside

There’s just something about a 4-year-old. The way their bubbly laughs and sweet little faces still have some traces of babyhood while they’re transforming into more and more of their own unique person right before your eyes.  The way they ask questions about everything under the sun, listen wide-eyed to your clumsy answers, and believe every single word you say. It’s so innocent (and scary) the way they believe absolutely anything you tell them—just because you’re “mommy.”  The way their still-a-little-chubby hand finds yours. And the way they still come running to you for a hug and kiss when they’re hurt. Or...

Keep Reading

No Man in a Girl’s Life Holds More Influence than Her Dad

In: Kids, Marriage, Motherhood
Father and daughter on amusement ride, color photo

As I sat outside Walmart watching my husband of nearly 16 years walk in with my 9-year-old daughter to buy me a box of tampons, I realized how blessed I am.  This is real life. Not only does he not care about running into the store and picking up these items, he asks our girls if they want to join him, and they use this time to talk. They talk about real-life—about growing up, changing bodies, what tampons are even for, how they can wait years and years before they need to start dating, how he will be waiting outside...

Keep Reading

You Don’t Raise Your Babies to Be Little Forever, but I Thought I’d Have More Time

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Little boy peeking over wooden fence, color photo

I can see the yellow blur of the school bus passing in front of my window. Soon my little boy will excitedly burst through the front door with his picture of a giraffe from art class. His big brown eyes will meet mine as I get a toothless “I missed you, Mom” grin. He will tell me everything he had on his tray for lunch, recount the whole soccer game at recess, and share all about that hilarious thing his friend said on the bus. He will then sit on my lap as he takes each school paper out of...

Keep Reading

My Little Girl Has Big, Brave Dreams

In: Kids, Motherhood
School paper with little girl's handwriting, color photo

My 6-year-old daughter wants to be a soldier.   When we heard from the ultrasound tech that we were having another girl, that was not exactly the career path that popped into our heads.   There’s something absolutely terrifying knowing your child wants to do something big like this. I’m sure I’d be petrified if I had a son with the same ambition, but there’s something extra scary about it being your little girl. There’s something weighty about raising a daughter who wants to be a soldier. But honestly, it’s not a surprise at all. RELATED: God Has Filled Your...

Keep Reading

As My Children Grow, I Miss It All—Even the Sick Days

In: Kids, Motherhood
Toddler on mom's shoulder

I whisk my daughter through the doors of urgent care and cradle her head as I stand behind three other mamas clinging to their babies. We’re each rocking in different ways but moving nonetheless. The silent, comforting rhythm of motherhood. I see sad, sick eyes from the babies with their heads nestled into the necks of their mama. I’m tired from the sleepless night, and I shift from foot to foot. There is hushing and humming and back-patting. A pacifier drops to the floor. All of a sudden my daughter feels heavy. A vague sinking feeling comes over me, like...

Keep Reading

Life with Autism Is Full of Ticking Time Bombs

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother, father, teen daughter, color photo

Many of us who live with autism are familiar with the comings and goings of the ticking time bomb—one that disappears for periods of time, so much so that we might forget about it. Then, suddenly, this bomb drops at our doorstep in the form of a returning or new obstacle, so intense that it causes us to pause our lives, alter our plans, maybe even change our current paths. For our family, the new challenge has been sudden, piercing, sporadic screams. Not constant, not even often, thankfully, but jolting nonetheless. So here we were, in the midst of our...

Keep Reading

Youth Sports Build Strong Kids

In: Kids
Young girl with gymnastics medal, color photo

My kids are heavily involved in sports. My son plays for an elite basketball team and my daughter competes on an Xcel gymnastics team. It takes up a lot of our time and a lot of our money. Even though prioritizing youth sports seems to be an American norm, we still sometimes receive criticism and judgment as to why we would spend so much of our time and resources on it. (“Don’t you know the chances of your child going pro is less than 1%?”) As I sat at my daughter’s gymnastics meet, listening to the parents cheer so excitedly...

Keep Reading

Don’t Let Anyone Rush You, Mama

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother with two kids at home relaxing

From the moment our children are born, other people make it challenging to stay in the present moment—they start asking questions that look forward instead of at the now we are in. Can you believe how big she’s getting, where did your newborn go? Oh my goodness, he’ll be walking any day now! Are you thinking about preschool? What will you do when they’re both in school? What will you do when your baby goes to college? While these questions may come with good intentions, they’re not helpful at all. We moms need to be allowed to be fully in...

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Proven techniques to build REAL connections