Thursday, January 7, 2010

Best Parenting Advice

I love to talk to people about the Duggar family, from the TLC show '18 Kids and Counting'. They're an amazing family, with 18 (no, wait, 19) kids. They're very conservative Christians and don't believe in the use of birth control. As a consequence, Michelle Duggar has had 19 kids in just over 20 years. I'm amazed by this family for a lot of reasons. First, I'm only going on pregnancy #3 in as many years, and I can't IMAGINE doing this for the next two decades. I love my kids, I'm so HAPPY to have them so close together, but pregnancy is HARD. Michelle Duggar is a champ to do it so many times, so close together.

The main reason though that I find this family inspiring (aside from their refusal to use birth control, which my husband and I also will not do, but probably for different reasons), is their absolutely AMAZING parenting skills. I think that so many parents today have just missed the boat on guiding their children to become good, gracious, compassionate, loving people. In speaking with friends and acquaintances who have kids I'm often struck by just how self-focused most parents still are. They believe it's about being friends with their children, and giving their child 'everything they didn't have'. And while this might be true if what your childhood lacked was love, guidance and discipline, this is NOT sound advice if you mean *things*. I firmly believe that your job as a parent is to guide your children to be the best people they can be. To help them learn from your mistakes (where they can), and to provide a safe place to fall when they make their own.

I have a really hard time with the 'guidance' part - my natural inclination is to loudly correct, rather than gently suggest. But this really does not help your children to grow and blossom, rather it teaches them to withdraw and guard their feelings. Compassion and love need to be at the forefront, whether dealing with your children or with the person who cut in front of you in line at the grocery. After all, children learn more from what we do, than what we say.

And that is the best bit of parenting advice I've ever come across (and it just happens that it is from Michelle Duggar's blog). If you're a new parent, or a parent who is struggling with your children, I urge you to read their advice, found here.


  1. This is one of the best blog posts I've read in support of the Duggars! Glad I came across it.

  2. Thank you Elena! :) Hope to see you again!