Monday, November 22, 2010

15 Parenting Tips I Give Myself: Let Dad be Dad

Tip#15 Nurture a deep respect for your husband specifically as it relates to his role as father.

I will just be honest and say that I have been guilty all too often of thinking I know far more than my husband when it comes to parenting. The evidence I would point to? (And I point these things out with all sincerity and with as much respect as I can claim when formulating a somewhat disrespectful list of I'm-Better-Than-You-Are's.) For every 1 of his hours of parenting, I have 4; for every 1 parenting book that he has read I have read 8; for every 1 conversation he has had with another dad about discipline, I have had - well, I can't even count that one.

He would whole-heartedly agree that I am the PRDD (Parenting Research and Development Division) in this household. He actually prefers to default to what I know and have experienced when it comes to lots of parenting issues. The problem with me spending time down I Know All - You Are Clueless Avenue is that it goes no where good. My heart fills with prideful hautiness and disrespect toward by husband. Blech. So regardless of the fact that I have more information, experience and support, I must foster a deep and true respect for my husband who loves our kids as much as me.

Making this happen:

Pray for your husband, his fatherhood, his realtionship with the kids, and his relationship with the Lord.

When parenthood is new and fresh and frightening, allow him to learn how to be a dad at a slower pace than you are learning. You think about this child every.waking.moment. He works all day. And does not let milk down every 3.67 hours. And is not tending to every detail of every nap. And did not sprout "mommy ears" the morning of your child's birth. So be patient, kind, respectful and considerate, remembering that you and he will NOT, rather, CANNOT, learn parenthood at the same pace.

Let him have the type of relationship he desires to have with the kids. This might vary greatly from your idea of a perfect relationship between father and child. If you wonder what kind of relationship he wants, ask him. Let him talk and don't criticize. Encourage him, and don't sabotage!

Communicate a deep respect for this thoughts about all things, particularly when he comments on anything kid-related. You might initially think he is wrong on a point (and perhaps he is) but a respectful response does not include a quick "no" or dismissal. Respectful says, "I have never thought about it in that way." I have much work to do in this area. I am known for my quick "No."

Ask him what he would like to see you focus on  and make sure your priorities reflect his. I spend an enormous amount of time talking with other mothers, reading blogs and ruminating on how I will raise our boys - everything from how to get them to do their chores every day to how I will prepare them for college and the real world of pursuing the Lord. My tendancy is to come up with a wonderful idea, think of the 10 ways to accomplish that idea, decide on the best way, move forward with the brilliance I came up with and then - maybe - mention it to Ryan. Or maybe not. Like I said earlier, he prefers to defer to me with most parenting things anyway, so I can get away with this. But BOY does it get me into trouble in the end. Before I invest a mound of energy into my ideas, I have learned that I really need to get a clue as to what RYAN'S priorities are for the boys. I need to take the time to investigate what HE wants me to focus on and pursue those priorities first and foremost. EVEN IF IT MEANS DYING TO MY OWN PRIORITIES. The Lord honors a wife who respects her husband in word and deed. This has been the single most significant way I have gained great respect for Ryan as a father.

Oh, one more thing. Realize that progress in this area (especially if it has been an area of concern) is a long process. Don't strongarm your husband tonight trying to get him to tell you every parenting thought he has ever had. I can't imagine that conversation going anywhere productive in my home. Would it be different in yours? So do yourself a favor tonight and, instead, slip into something nice and light a candle in the bedroom. Atta' girl.


Megan said...

Great post. Eric and I are going to listen to a parenting series on our drive to Cali and I look forward to the conversations it will lead to!

Oh, and I would add that if you constantly correct your husband in parenting and don't let him try and have his own methods, he might stop trying. And obviously that is not helping anyone.

What is your next series going to be? I liked this one!

Jenne said...

Here Here! How could I forget that one? Yes, don't correct your husband in parenting. And let him work through his own methods. The last thing you want is for him to stop trying.

next series. hmmmmmmm....

Megan said...

How about, "how to keep your sanity when... dealing with crazy allergies, when working part time, when living in a house that is under construction, when your children and constantly stung by bees, etc!" Just kidding with you. Once you find your sanity, you can write that series...just kiddin. ;)

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