Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Extreme Makeover: Parenting Edition

Am I planning a major parenting makeover?

No, I am not.

Perhaps I am planning a makeover for myself...yes...I need to eat better, move more, be kinder to myself, la la la.

What I wanted to discuss today is extreme parenting in general.

Remember Extreme Makeover? Kinda scary.
And yet, she does look pretty good!
I do like the home version better though!

Now I will start by saying - as I always do - that to each their own. As long as parents are not hurting their children or anyone else, there are many different parenting styles out there and depending on the family - there are many styles that work well. They are not all for me...but that does not mean I don't have full respect for many of the choices other people make.

Someone recently told me that they look at parenting the same way as they look at religion. "Whatever works for you." This really resonated with me. If you are a Mormon, for example, great! Again, not for me...but if that works for you, then grand.

I am going to share my opinion of one...and you can take it or leave it. I expect there will be people on both sides...and that is fine. How I choose to raise my boys is my choice...not yours...and I don't expect you all to agree.

Personally, I don't believe in extremes.

I don't think we always have to stay on target.
Too much pressure. Too extreme.

I am turned off by them. In my opinion, extremists - be them feminists, religious leaders, athletes, whatever...I just don't think swaying too far to one side and holding on for dear life is healthy.

I find it closed-minded.

This does not look very fun to me.

I think in any situation, there needs to be wiggle room to explore different options; ones that may not fit into the mould laid out by whatever philosophy you subscribe to.

I especially feel this way when it comes to parenting.

Let's take food and nutrition as an example here.

I, like many a parent, believe that feeding my children balanced meals full of nutrition and goodness is very important. So does my husband. We feel it is important for ourselves as well...but as parents, we understand that we need to install proper eating habits in our boys and we do our best to do that.

A picture of healthy food. For your pleasure.

But we don't go to extremes.

What I mean here, is that very little is forbidden.

Ahhhhh...the forbidden fruit. Funny - this came from a Scientology site.
Interesting! This is all coming together...

We do not insist that our children not eat refined sugar or packaged food or McDonald's.

We do insist that they do not eat these things the majority of the time...but nothing in our home is 100% off limits. (OK, perhaps alcohol...but that is a little different.)

I do know some parents who do not let their children eat certain things. They subscribe to a pretty rigid view on healthy eating and go to great lengths to make sure every last item that goes into their kids' systems is of the utmost quality. And hey...I am not here to judge. I just don't agree with it.

In my humble, little opinion, the more you restrict children, the more they will want to rebel at some point. Forbidden fruit is very tempting...much more so than stuff they have tried before.

My older boys understand that fast food is crap. But they eat it sometimes. We all do. We talk to them about what we are eating. They know it is a "treat" but also know that really it is not a "treat" for their bodies.

Every time I want a picture about your body being a temple I get someone doing yoga.

Now, they tend to order salads instead of fries. They would rather have a home-cooked meal rather than fast food. Give them a choice between a hamburger and fries from Wendy's or chicken, pasta with Nonna's sauce made from tomatoes from her garden and a salad made from other pickings from the same place and they will go for the good stuff.

Nothing is better than a salad straight from Nonna's backyard!

Because they know the difference. They know the difference in taste. The know the difference in terms of what is better for them nutritionally. They get that if they want to be strong and healthy, they need to eat the good stuff.

And they understand that if they want to be athletes...and they are...but if they want to go further with their hockey and what have you...they need to eat like athletes. And they know that Sidney Crosby probably does not have a bacon-double-cheeseburger before a game.

I didn't get this by eating crap eh!?
But I do eat Dempster's bread cause they pay me tons of money!

Same goes for things like religion.

While my children are Catholic, I am not - and I don't believe in some of the strict rules or dogma or whatever you want to call it that comes with much of organized religions...Catholic or otherwise.

I don't want my kids to "fear God". I want them to love God. I want them to understand that just because the bible says something, it is not the end-all and be-all.

The bottom line is that I am raising my boys to learn to be able to think for themselves.

Plant the seeds...and give your children food for thought.

Sure, as parents we need to plant the seeds. But they our kids will grow and so will their minds. I want them to be able to look at all the options available to them and make their own, educated, thoughtful decisions. Not because "I said so" or "the bible told me so" or la la la.

Hmmmmm. Now what do I think about this?

What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts on all of this. Please comment below and let's get a discussion going!

Now all of this being said...maybe I should start giving my boys beer now?

Just kidding peeps. Relax-a-mundo!




  1. With you 100% of the way. Rigidity and closed-minded approaches teach them to live that way later in life. Teach truth. Give guidance. Have fun. And keep them going in the right direction with an open mind. (And, of course, always lots of love!) xo

  2. I always was interested in this subject and stock still am, regards for putting up.