Spin-Off: What kind of kids do you want, and how are you achieving that (or trying to, more like it)? - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-22-2010, 03:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Mods, feel free to move... not sure where this goes.

 

Two questions here.  What do you want for your kids?  Happiness?  Wealth?  Comfort?  Love?  Freedom?  Inner Peace?  A Meaningful Existence?  (I mean, what are the big ones, say, one, two or three things max that you would say, are the most important things in life.)

 

And how do you think they will get there?  Modeling?  Achievement?  Struggle?  Luck?  GD?  ;)

 

I can appreciate that some posters will inevitably say, "What they want for themselves, how they want to achieve it."

 

But assuming that they are looking to you for guidance on what is important in life, and how to get there, I think there is room for at least knowing what we *think* will be best for them, in broad terms, at least.  I know I for one do not want to be the mom that keeps harping on one or another of my pet values once my children are grown and have already expressed their own values.  But while their little brains are all soft and mushy, yes, I do want to mold them a bit.


It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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Old 11-22-2010, 08:44 PM
 
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One of the big things I want for my kids is happiness (of course!)  I'm not sure how much I can help with that, but I'm hoping it will help that I'm basically a happy, optimistic person myself, and I'm trying to give them a lot of love, and a lot of chances to see how wonderful the world is and how many fun things there are to do.  We ski and skate and hike and camp.  We lie out in the yard and look at the stars and talk about how big the universe is and speculate about life on other planets.  We read a lot of cool books.  We pick berries and wade in the river and wander around in old graveyards.

 

I'm not sure what to call the next one.  Awareness? Thoughtfulness? Open-mindedness? Critical thinking?  I don't want them just go through life thoughtlessly doing whatever most other people seem to be doing, buying the most popular products, buying into the conventional wisdom on everything.  There are people who find it pointless and annoying to think about things like how (or whether) you can know other people exist or that you're not a computer programmed to think you're a person.  I don't want my kids to be those people.  There are people who are content to have a vague, illogical set of beliefs about God and life based on conventional ideas they've never really taken the time to consider in depth.  I don't want my kids to be those people.  I want them to ask all the big questions, and think really critically about them.  I want them to be curious and imaginative.  I want them to question authority, and everything else. 

 

It's hard to imagine that I won't have a big influence on how much thinking and questioning they do.  We talk about why some people believe in God and why I don't, about ethics, about what you can really know for sure.  They've heard me talk about laws and popular ideas that I don't think make any sense, and why I feel that way.  I expect we'll have many, many thoughtful conversations about all kinds of things while they're growing up.

 

I guess the last big one is that I want them to be good, kind people.  I may not be setting the world's greatest example, but I think I'm setting a reasonably good one.  I probably could work a little harder on demonstrating and encouraging empathy.

 

I'm not sure how I would rank those 3 things.  Probably they're all about equally important.  It seems as if happiness ought to come first, but of course I wouldn't feel good about it if they were leading happy lives full of cruelty to other people.  (I'm sure some people would say I ought to care more about whether they're good than whether they're happy, but honestly, I don't.  I really, really want them to be happy.)  Maybe being happy and being good ought to be enough, but it would definitely bother me if I felt they never thought deeply about things, or if they ended up holding beliefs that struck me as foolish and illogical.

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Old 11-23-2010, 01:10 AM
 
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I want them to enjoy family and friends and life experiences. It's Ok that school and job take a lower priority. In 10-20-50 years, your family and friends will hopefully still be there; your job will not. 

I want them to use their minds. I want them to challenge themselves about the things that are passionate to them. 

These two things may appear to contradict one another, but I do not think they do. 

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Old 11-23-2010, 06:23 AM
 
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I want them to have fulfilling careers. For me, that's a combination of enjoyment & money. (I have far too many starving artist friends who struggle to have enough food - don't want that for my kids) I will admit that in our world, that means college & likely professional or graduate school. From their personalities now, I'd say that DD will do something very hands-on; I wouldn't be surprised if she were a vet. DS is more "life of the mind." He'd be happy in a lab or a think tank. (I'm not pushing them into a career path; these are just my observations.)

 

I also want them to make the world a better place, whether that's volunteering at a homeless shelter or giving money to worthy causes.

 

ETA: The "how we're helping them" part: we make both service & education high priorities in our lives. We work to provide the best possible education for them now and will pay for college, study abroad, living expenses, etc. while they're pursuing those goals. We read. We do science experiments. We encourage critical thinking. 

 

As for service, they see us doing for others all the time, and it's not something rare for them. It's not a "we give our old toys to others." They see us make (small) sacrifices to help others, so I'm hoping it's just an ingrained part of life for them.


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Old 11-23-2010, 06:45 AM
 
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I want my kids to understand respect... how to respect others and themselves.

 

I want them to be able to communicate their needs, desires, and feelings in all sorts of situations (family, friends, work, people you don't care for much... while still being respectful).

 

I want them to be true to themselves, not change who they are to fit some sort of mold.

 

I help them achieve this by modeling this behavior and encouraging them to do what it takes to exhibit this behavior. We do a lot of talking in this family, about what is right and good to do and what kinds of words you can use to express what you need to communicate.


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Old 11-23-2010, 07:06 AM
 
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I want to instill in my children...

a love for God

a compassionate heart towards others (under which would fall caring for others, generosity, philanthropy, etc)

a solid work-ethic

a desire to do their best, at whatever they are doing

wisdom

the ability to have healthy relationships with their eventual spouse and children

And because mine (so far) are sons: a counter-cultural attitude towards women.  I want my boys to become men who respect women in general, and who love, respect, care for, and honor the women that are in their immediate family.  I want them to know that "macho" is not the same thing as healthy masculinity.

 

How we are doing this...

teaching/telling

showing/modeling (they have a good example for the "man stuff" in my dh and my father, and their uncles)

discipline, when called for

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Old 11-23-2010, 10:34 AM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post

 

Two questions here.  What do you want for your kids?  Happiness?  Wealth?  Comfort?  Love?  Freedom?  Inner Peace?  A Meaningful Existence?  (I mean, what are the big ones, say, one, two or three things max that you would say, are the most important things in life.)

 

And how do you think they will get there?  Modeling?  Achievement?  Struggle?  Luck?  GD?  ;)

 

I want them to be happy, first of all. How to help them get there? I honestly don't know, except that I try to help them figure out what their real motivations are (even the little stuff, like "why do you want to play with X, when he/she isn't very nice to you?").

 

I want them to be kind, compassionate, and respectful. Those are all slightly different, but they all fall under the general heading of "treating others well". I hope they'll all pick those up through modelling and guidance. So far, so good - they're mostly a really nice bunch.

 

And...I want them to take responsibility for themselves, without taking responsibility for other people's actions. I've struggled with the latter part my whole life (pushing my "be responsible" button was the number one way my ex twisted me around in knots), but I'm hoping I can get better messages across to my kids. I don't want my kids to blame other people for the consequences of their own decisions or actions. I also don't want them blaming themselves for the consequences of other people's actions. (The jury's still out on this one with ds1, to some extent.)


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Old 11-23-2010, 11:53 AM
 
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I saw this thread yesterday butbI had to think about it a while before answering.

 

For both of my kids I want them to be individuals. I want them to have a sense of self independent of what people think they should be. I want to see them be self-confident and geuinely happy. I was insecure & depressed growing up and I don't want that for my kids. I want them to be resilient and able to get along in the world, socially....have social graces and empathy but without losing who they are. That is really the most important thing for me. They can have degrees and mansions, or be putzing around the world traveling or be crashing on a friend's couch between jobs (not that I aspire to homelessness for them!) and if they know who they are, are comfortable with that, and they are still productive world citizens, then it will be ok. No matter how much education or money or material things or even friends they have, it starts with them.

 

For my ds I want him to have a positive view of women. I want him to respect them and value them. And never ever EVER hit a woman.

 

For my dd I want her to be tough and not let people bully her. One of my biggest fears is that someone abuse her. I want her to grow up and be a strong woman.

 

What am I doing? I nurture my kids, give them lots and lots of physical affection (this is hard for me so I temper it with a lot of silliness to break the tension I feel). I give them the tools they need to succeed with their education, at least in ds' case, it's still too early for dd. Our religious beliefs are important to us, so we involve in them in it and teach them aout it now to instill the values that we want them to carry with them.


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Old 11-23-2010, 12:07 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waiting2bemommy View Post

and if they know who they are, are comfortable with that, and they are still productive world citizens, then it will be ok.

 

 

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Old 11-23-2010, 12:25 PM
 
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Empathy for others -- so we discuss how the life experience is different for everyone, how some people deal w/ a lot of hardship & others have it easier, how the most important thing in life is love for others, and that it's important to understand where others are coming from

 

Empowerment to achieve -- I want the whole world to be open for him, for him to have lots of choices. Thus, we expose him to a variety of activities and ideas, emphasize the importance of education, tell him that he can choose any career he wants, applaud small and large successes, allow freedom to express his own talents and ideas and mistakes, knowing what the rules are in social/academic/home settings so that he knows how to wield his way legally in the world

 

Joy for life -- hence exposure to ideas/activities, helping him cultivate a variety of skills, we strive for a happy/loving home life, celebrate holidays and incorporate little joys into our lives, laugh a lot

 

Freedom of thought -- we do not give him a religion or political label, he has the freedom to choose his own & we tell him so, we often ask for his opinions & ideas (so that he can learn to formulate & express them, and b/cs it's fascinating for us to hear what he is thinking), we let him know that there are a wide variety of perspectives in the world, and that he has his own

 

And of course we desire he has a fulfilling life, full of meaning through family, friendships, career, hobbies, and interests. I hope that he is well-read, expressive, brave, and financially secure.

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Old 11-29-2010, 12:02 PM
 
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Like every other parent of course I want happiness, health, and all of the standard etcs. I decided pretty early on in my parenting life that I was going to do things differently than my parents did, and it turns out, different than most parents do. I ditched the majority of the ideals and approaches we generally take for normal when it comes to parenting. We dropped the kids out of school early to unschool. We shifted from the "Parents are the rule makers and kids are the rule followers" format. We talked A LOT about everything. We didn't hold to the usual things like strict bedtimes or mealtimes or chores. We didn't punish. It wasn't always perfectly smooth sailing, but it was mostly positive and I am extremely happy with the people my 17 and 19 year olds have become!

 

If I think deeper than the typical health, happiness, good job stuff I see that I really want/ed my kids to know how to communicate well with different types of people and in different situations. I wanted them to be generally comfortable in their own skin. I wanted them to be resiliant and to understand the idea of "this too shall pass". I wanted them to have the ability to pick themselves back up and shake off the dust. I wanted them to be critical thinkers, to question authority, and to stand up for what they feel is good and right. I wanted them to find kindness whenever and however they can. So far, so good! :)


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Old 11-29-2010, 05:03 PM
 
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Happiness, resourcefulness, self-awareness and kindness.


~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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Old 11-29-2010, 06:19 PM
 
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I want my children to be kind, empathetic, independent, confident, strong, and happy. There are probably others in there, but these are the big ones.

 

Dh and I plan on encouraging these traits mainly by demonstration and by shunning certain expectations for genders (i.e. Boys don't cry or Girls don't rock the boat). We teach them to view other people as human beings, the same as them, with thoughts and feelings and wants and needs. We help them understand why some people act a certain way in certain situations. We include them (DD more than DS at this point) in choices pertaining to our household and we encourage them to question DH and I if something seems unfair or they don't understand the reasoning behind it.

 

So far we seem to be doing a great job. DD takes pride in being able to help people when she can, and isn't afraid to admit that part of it is because it makes her feel good about herself. She sets the trend a school, rather then following it, and she is the first one to speak up if someone is being excluded from something they want to do. She takes time to connect with the other children who are otherwise shunned by their peers and has made some great friends because of that. And she is always willing to give up things to others when she has what she needs and they don't. Like food.

 

DS is well on the road to being just as wonderful. Right now he likes to go up to people who look sad or depressed and them "love you" if he knows them, or give a complement to people he doesn't know.


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Old 11-29-2010, 08:40 PM
 
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I want my son to be kind.  That's all.  I want him to be the one who asks the new kid to sit with him at lunch.  I want him to be the one who tells the bully to knock it off.  

 

How do we do this?  I don't know.  I'm making it up as I go.  I guess I just try to be kind and loving myself.


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Old 11-29-2010, 08:45 PM
 
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Saving for later.  I'm looking forward to reading these.

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Old 11-29-2010, 09:23 PM
 
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I want a lot of things for them. Some of them are what I think is truly best for them, and some are what I would just like for them. 

 

But, mostly, I want them to question everything. To really take everything into consideration, to scrutinize, to analyze, to process, to evaluate, and to use their own intelligence, knowledge, and conscience to choose. I will never tell my kids to rely on faith or to simply 'trust.' No. It's your life, YOU make the choice, YOU decide what's right. 

 

And so far, I think that's working out, because my 8 year old has a LOT of different opinions than my DH and I about a lot of significant things. 

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