How I’ll raise my kids differently than I was raised…

Last week, you saw the top 10 things my parents did when raising their kids… they are super awesome parents and amazing grandparents.

Today, I’m going to share 5 things I’m going to differently than I was raised.

This isn’t meant to be a bashing session on my parents… trust me, they did a superb job. This is just me recognizing areas of my childhood that I want to make different for my kids.

It’s like breast or bottle… kids turn out good both ways, right?!

1. Making everything a competition between siblings.  Growing up I was compared to my siblings all the time.  To the point that even as adults, I have to sometimes remind myself that this is not a competition and I don’t need to “beat” anyone in life.  Who would have the fastest swim time, who could get the best test scores, who got the season reward, etc.  We even had set wrestling matches at the house where we were pitted against each other.  While it does harbor a sense of competition, I don’t want my kids competing against each other. I want them to be each others biggest supporter. The Dean boys against the world!  I want Landon to love cheering Brooks on in his sporting events and I want Brooks to help Landon study for his big test.  I want them to want the best possible outcome for each other and not to feel like they have to one-up each other in everything they do.

2. I don’t want my kids to feel treats are these non-existent, off-limit items.  I’m sure for both health and financial reasons, we didn’t have a lot of sugary items in the pantry growing up.  So when we did, it was an all out war to see who could eat it the fastest and get the most.  When we got extra spending money, my sister and I would buy treats at the grocery store with our extra funds.  It was like candy was a this special, hard to get prize.  I want my kids to think of candy and other treats as no big deal. I don’t want them to revolve their rewards around them all the time.  I think if we had treats in our house more often growing up, they wouldn’t have seemed as special.  I think having treats in our house might make my kids choose healthier options in the long run, weird, right?  (always around = not special)

3. I want my kids to be very active in serving in the community.  I want my kids to volunteer through church or school and give time to others in need.  After doing LOVE week again with Elevation, I am reminded of the importance of serving those who need. And through serving I am reminded of how much I already have and how much I WANT when others truly NEED.  I’d love for our family to serve on a missions trip when the boys are older. And I want them to WANT to give back to others – both financially and with their time.

This is something I’ve really felt challenged by in the past couple years – give back to others with money or time, and I know there is so much room for me to grow individually in this area and then also set an example for my kids.  We didn’t do a ton of service projects when we were little… I’m sure at the beginning it’s because we were the recipients of people who were serving, but even as we got older, we didn’t do many projects. And it’s not that we wouldn’t have done them, I don’t know. I just know we didn’t actively seek out service projects and that is something I want to actively do with our boys.

4. I want to do a great job of unplugging on weekends and vacations.  Especially nowadays when it is so easy to be constantly plugged in – on the computer or phone or whatever, I want to make sure that my kids have tons of undivided mom time and dad time and that we also get their attention.  (I’m not naïve enough to think my kids aren’t going to be part of this problem as they get a little older and have their own technology!)  I see too many teenagers looking down at their phone at the beach instead of the faces of the people they are hanging out with.  I want to set boundaries for our family.  I know that growing up, my dad spent a lot of time on conference calls or meetings during our vacations.  And while it was only a couple hours throughout the week, I want to be able to “turn it off” and really plug into my family.

5. And this is one that my parents really couldn’t control… but I want my kids to spend tons of time with their extended family.  Growing up we never really lived close to cousins or grandparents, but most of our other relatives DID live near each other.  Because I live within 5 miles of all my immediate family members, I want to make it a priority to see them a ton. I know that the time may come where a sibling moves away or someone has health issues and I want to take advantage of our closeness – both emotionally and in proximity, while we can.

So there you have it… 5 ways I’m straying from the ‘norm’ of my childhood.  What are some of the things you want to do the same or differently than how you were raised?

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