You may remember that Mike and I have been spending this month discussing parenting ideas. Every other day, I would send him an idea, my thoughts on it (why I thought we should do it or pros and cons), and a link or two to an article or a blog post of other parents' experiences with it. Then the following day we would discuss it.
The discussions went well, for the most part. Mike even said he's interested in continuing these kinds of discussions after the month ends. In some cases he'd be in agreement, no question; other times he wanted to think or learn more about it and discuss it again in the future; in a few cases he had a knee-jerk reaction to what he thought was a stupid idea, and we either talked through it or I just said that was fine.
Here are some of the decisions we made:
- As a general rule, we won't have food and drink in our cars, except water. This rule will be bent if we're going on a long road trip, so the kids understand it's a special occasion.
- We want to use a baby carrier/sling/something of that sort rather than a stroller. However, since we both have physical limitations (I have back/neck problems, Mike has shoulder problems), this is going to be more of a try-and-see idea.
- We don't plan to keep pop (soda) in the house, but we won't forbid our kids from drinking it.
- We won't ever force our kids to eat what we make for dinner. However, if they want to eat something different, they need to make it themselves (once they're at an age where they're able to do so). We plan to involve them in food prep as young as possible, even if ineffectively, so they learn and are comfortable in the kitchen.
- If something really troublesome happens, like one of our belongings getting stolen by one of our kids, we don't want to place a lot of emphasis on finding out who did it and assigning blame. Our main goal will be to sit down with our kids and talk why what happened was bad and how it makes us feel. We want to focus on the literal and emotional consequences of their actions over the "punishment" consequences.
- We don't plan to give our kids an allowance. Our kids will have regular chores they're expected to do as a member of the family, just like us; however, they can earn extra money by doing things beyond their regular chores.
- Our kids will get three presents each for Christmas (with a fourth from Santa). Up to a certain age, they'll get one present for each year old they are.
If any of these are familiar to you, either as the parent or the child, please share your experiences in comments! It's always possible we will change our minds as we learn more or as we see what works with our kids.