Unique Parenting Styles One and All
Childhood Comes First
I wonder if my kids ever questioned my unique parenting style?
I suspect they didn’t know any different for the first several years of life. The question of parenting style never came up, except at a pre-school parent potluck and that was the adults talking amongst themselves. For most kids growing up in a two-parent household, life at home was all they knew up to that point – mom and dad. When separation and divorce occur, changing the makeup of the so-called nuclear family, then perceptions begin to shift as mom tries to fill in the gaps and kids grow up too soon.
Adulthood or Parenthood
It happened in my case too. I loved my kids and I thought it was a given that they would grow up knowing it. Then, rather abruptly the time allotted to me with them was reduced to a phone conversation once or twice a month and maybe two weeks visitation in the summer. A lot changes in a school year! So much for concerns about parenting styles.
I watched almost as an observer for several years after that – the kids’ experiences were primarily with their step-dad. He tried very hard to incorporate his kids and mine into a well-woven family unit. I often said he offered much more in his parenting style than I would have. I still wasn’t sure that parenting even had a style.
Even in my absence I still portrayed a self-image of protective overseer. Whether the children thought that – that’s another question.
Growing Up Together
My son came back to live with me at age 13. It wasn’t easy but we laughed a lot and somehow had a pretty good time of it. I was living in Waikiki, Hawaii at the time and given a couple months my son learned to surf pretty well. The twist came when he joined the band and decided to work hard at school. I thought maybe it was to balance things out and show all of us he had it in him. I never pushed him, only nudged a few times and he responded with more strength of character than I could have asked for.
When he went back to live with his mom and twin sister in his senior year, we both came away knowing the time we’d shared was a special gift from above. It was no longer about parenting styles; it was about love. Who is the parent and who is the child?
I guess I’ll chalk it up to the mysteries of differing parenting styles.