Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Parenting Philosophies & Planning for the Future

Welcome to the July Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Philosophy

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared their parenting practices and how they fit in with their parenting purpose. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


Some of my parenting philosophies came to me out of my desires for my children as they get older. Others, however, are just the way I do things. Everything we do ultimately affects who they will be though, right?

I am an attachment parent first and foremost because I simply can not help it! The benefit is that my children feel safe and can take steps into their independence at their own pace. I believe this will eventually lead to them being independent adults that still trust me to be there for them whenever they need me.

I practice thanking those around me, including my children, because I don't want to take those around me for granted as well as to set an example. I am still amazed that my nearly two year old daughter thanks everyone for everything! Admittedly, she sometimes just goes around the room thanking people, but she thanks everyone that hands her anything or gives her a bite or helps her with anything.

I totally realize that co-sleeping isn't for everyone. It doesn't work for all children any more than it works for all parents. That said, I'm lucky (and grateful!) that it has worked for me. It is something I originally planned to do because it cuts down on SIDS risk. Once I brought that adorable baby home, though... it just felt like the right thing to do. I also believe this practice will have an effect on my daughters' independence as they grow older.

Co-sleeping Nap TimeCo-sleeping Nap Time
Amusingly, I'm topless and she's bottomless!

The times when I have to really put forth an effort in my parenting, when it doesn't come as naturally, is when it comes to listening to my children and also getting them to stop unwanted behavior. It is too easy to raise our voices or snatch things out of little hands. I do not want to encourage my child to yell at people or take things away from others. I have to be ever vigilant, reminding myself of my goals and of my daughter's perspective. I believe in these tactics just as much as breastfeeding and co-sleeping, but they just don't come as naturally to us.

I believe in researching any major decision in my life. Why would parenting be any different? I like being prepared and having as clear an understanding of the subject at hand as possible. That goes for torn cartilage in my knee or child led weaning. I also believe in following my heart. Its just nice to have researched what feels right so I have some hard facts to back up my decisions, especially when questioned by outsiders (such as extended family members).

What parenting practices are you using now to help your children grow into the adults you want them to be?


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon July 12 with all the carnival links.)

  • Between Love and Fear: On Raising our Children Sensibly — Mamma Earthly at Give an Earthly discusses the fear factor in parenting and how she overcame it, despite societal pressures.
  • really, when do i get my cape? — Sarah at small bird on fire is a working city mama trying to learn how to set aside her expectations of perfection and embrace the reality of modern parenting.
  • Baby, Infant, and Toddler Wearing — Child wearing is part of Sarah at Nourished and Nurtured's parenting philosophy. In this post, Sarah describes benefits of child-wearing and gives tips for wearing babies, infants, and toddlers (even while pregnant).
  • First Year Reflections — As her daughter's first birthday approaches, Holly at First Year Reflections reflects on how she and her husband settled into attachment parenting after initially doing what they thought everyone else did.
  • Making an allowance — Lauren at Hobo Mama welcomes a guest post from Sam about the unexpected lessons giving a four-year-old an allowance teaches the child — and the parent.
  • How to be a Lazy Parent and Still Raise Great Kids — Lisa at Granola Catholic talks about how being a Lazy Parent has helped her to raise Great Kids.
  • Philosophy in Practice — Laura at A Pug in the Kitchen shares how her heart shaped the parenting philosophy in her home.
  • What is Attachment Parenting Anyway? — Gaby at Tmuffin describes the challenges of putting a label on her parenting philosophy.
  • Of Parenting Styles — Jenny at Chronicles of a Nursing Mom talks about how she and her husband tailored various parenting styles to fit their own preferred parenting philosophy.
  • Moment by Moment Parenting — Amy at Peace 4 Parents encourages those who care for children (including herself) to explore and appreciate parenting moment-by-moment with clarity, intention, trust, and action.
  • Maintaining Spirituality in the Midst of Everyday Parenting, Marriage, and Life — Sarah at Nourished and Nurtured shares her perspective on finding opportunities for spiritual growth in every day life.
  • Parenting Philosophy — Lily, aka Witch Mom's parenting philosophy is to raise child(ren) to be compassionate, loving, inquisitive, and questioning adults who can be trusted to make decisions for themselves in a way that avoids harming others.
  • Long Term — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis thinks about who she would like to see her daughter become — and what she can do now to lay a strong foundation for those hopes.
  • Connection, Communication, Compassion — She's come a long way, baby! After dropping her career in favour of motherhood, Patti at Jazzy Mama discovered that building solid relationships was going to be her only parenting priority.
  • My Parenting Inspirations - Part 4 — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks at her biggest parenting inspiration and how that translates into her long-term parenting philosophy.
  • A Parenting Philosophy in One Word: Respect — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction summarizes her parenting and relationship philosophy in one word: respect.
  • Knowledge and Instinct — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment believes that knowledge and instinct are super important … as are love, encouragement and respect. It's the ideal combo needed to raise happy and healthy children and in turn create meaningful relationships with them.
  • THRIVE!The Sparkle Mama wants to set a tone of confidence, abundance, and happiness in her home that will be the foundation for the rest of her daughter's life.
  • On Children — "Your children are not your children," say Kahlil Gibran and Hannah at Wild Parenting.
  • This One Life Together — Ariadne aka Mudpiemama shares her philosophy of parenting: living fully in the here and now and building the foundation for a happy and healthy life.
  • Enjoying life and planning for a bright future — Olivia at Write About Birth shares her most important parenting dilemmas and pours out her heart about past trauma and how healing made her a better parent.
  • My Parenting Philosophy: Unconditional and Natural Love — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares what she has learned about her parenting philosophy from a year of following her instincts as a mama.
  • An open letter to my children — Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine writes an open letter to her children.
  • My Starter Kit for Unconditional Parenting — Sylvia at MaMammalia discusses her wish to raise a good person and summarizes some of the nontraditional practices she's using with her toddler son in order to fulfill that wish.
  • Responsiveness — Sheila at A Gift Universe has many philosophies and goals, but what it all boils down to is responsiveness: listening to what her son wants and providing what he needs.
  • Tools for Creating Your Parenting Philosophy — Have you ever really thought about your parenting purpose? Knowing your long-term goals can help you parent with more intent in your daily interactions. Dionna at Code Name: Mama offers exercises and ideas to help you create your own parenting philosophy.
  • Be a Daisy — Becky at Old New Legacy philosophizes about individuality and how she thinks it's important for her daughter's growth.
  • What's a Mama to Do? — Amyables at Toddler in Tow hopes that her dedication to compassionate parenting will keep her children from becoming too self-critical as adults.
  • grown-up anxieties. — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life explains her lone worry concerning her babies growing up.
  • Why I Used Montessori Principles in My Parenting Philosophy — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells why she chose Montessori principles to help her now-adult children develop qualities she wanted to see in them as children and adults.
  • Parenting Philosophies & Planning for the FutureMomma Jorje considers that the future is maybe just a fringe benefit of doing what feels right now.
  • Not Just Getting Through — Rachael at The Variegated Life asks what truths she hopes to express even in the most commonplace interactions with her son.
  • Parenting Philosophy? Eh... — Ana at Pandamoly shares the philosophy (or lack thereof) being employed to (hopefully) raise a respectful, loving, and responsible child.
  • Parenting Philosophy: Being Present — Shannon at The Artful Mama discusses the changes her family has made to accommodate their parenting philosophy and to reflect their ideals as working parents.
  • Who They Will Be — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro shares a short list of some qualities she hopes she is instilling in her children at this very moment.
  • Short Term vs. Long Term — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes recounts how long term parenting goals often get lost in the details of everyday life with two kids.
  • Parenting Philosophy: Practicing and Nurturing Peace — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle sets personal goals for developing greater peace.
  • Yama Niyama & the Red Pajama Mama — Part 1: The Yamas — In part 1 of a set of posts by Zoie at TouchstoneZ, Zoie guest posts at Natural Parents Network about how the Yoga Sutras provide a framework for her parenting philosophy.
  • Yama Niyama & the Red Pajama Mama — Part 2: The Niyamas — In part 2 of a set of posts by Zoie at TouchstoneZ, Zoie explores how the Niyamas (one of the eight limbs in traditional Yoga) help her maintain her parenting and life focus.
  • Our Sample Parenting Plan — Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey shares hopes of who her children will become and parenting strategies she employs to get them there.
  • Philosophical Parenting: Letting Go — Jona at Life, Intertwined ponders the notion that there's no right answer when it comes to parenting.
  • Unphilosophizing? — jessica at instead of institutions wonders about the usefulness of navel gazing.
  • Parenting Sensitively — Amy at Anktangle uses her sensitivity to mother her child in ways that both nurture and affirm.
  • how to nurture your relationships — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog believes that sometimes all kids need is a jolly good listening to …
  • Philosophy Of An Unnatural Parent — Dr. Sarah at Good Enough Mum sees parenting as a process of guiding her children to develop the skills they'll need.
  • Life with a Challenging Kid: Hidden Blessings — Wendy at High Needs Attachment shares the challenges and joys of raising a high needs child.
  • Flying by the Seat of My Pants — Heather at Very Nearly Hippy has realized that she has no idea what she's doing.


  1. I agree with the amusingness of that picture caption. :)

    It's really cool to hear how you came into attachment parenting, and I love your little thankful child! I'm with you on the gentle discipline not coming as naturally as the rest. I know what I want to do, but it's hard to always remember and follow through. Oh, well. I guess I'm still growing into the person I want me to be, too.

  2. Those were important parenting philosophies for me, too. Researching parenting was something I was always interested in. I was just at a family reunion where one of my sisters was reminding me of how much more I read about pregnancy and parenting than she did! Still, many of the natural parenting principles just feel right. But it's always nice to have both feelings and research go together! And I love your emphasis on thankfulness - how wonderful to have a thankful child! :) Deb @ LivingMontessoriNow.com

  3. Very much with you on the research going hand in hand with instinct - both are so important!

    I am thankful that so much of AP is so instinctual - but along with that are the things like gentle discipline, trusting our children to make the right choices, etc. that have become not very instinctual (as they are not ideas most of us grow up knowing or being taught).

    That is where the research and the work come in as you say - but imagining the results of all the work and research when our children grow up? So, so worth it... :)

  4. Parenting has taught me just as much about myself as it has taught me about my child (and children in general). The fact that parenting gently does come as such a challenge for me is eye opening, and I only hope that it comes with more ease for my child. Thanks for sharing Jorje!

  5. Cute picture & Caption - Also something that goes on in our house : )

    I agree with saying Thank You - Niko is venturing into sharing - he wants to hand-feed me food when he's eating, share his water, offer toys to play. I always make sure to say thank you because I want him to do that, too, when he's capable (OMG... It'll be soon!)

    I also agree about researching and being able to defend/inform others about parenting choices. Attachment parenting isn't for everyone - I get told at EVERY family function about how I'm spoiling the baby and he would be better if he wasn't S-P-O-I-L-E-D (he's still the best darn baby my family has produced as far as quiet and good-natured goes). A huge part of it is following your heart and doing what feels right, and I'd say we're doing great jobs : )

  6. 110% agree with this: I believe in researching any major decision in my life. Why would parenting be any different? I like being prepared and having as clear an understanding of the subject at hand as possible.

    And since I have teens now, I believe in letting go of a the leash a bit and trusting them to make good decisions while they're still at home.

    I don't want to micromanage them when they should be starting to make their own decisions, their own mistakes, etc. I want to be there for them when they need to discuss things, but I don't want to completely stifle them either.

    I feel like I've raised them on purpose, towards their own strengths and I need to start trusting that as they get older.

  7. Back in the day, I thought that I would just 'wing it' with parenting and that's how I started out. As it went on, though, I began to realize that sometimes I needed help and it was OK to look for it in the opinions of others. I am so fortunate to have found attachment parenting as a result. Most of what attachment parenting is has always come natural to me, as to you, so it was also nice to have a name for it.

    I, also like you, prefer to follow my gut on everything. Before I knew anything statistical about it, I could not let Heidi cry by herself in her room because it felt so wrong and hurtful to do so. I'm glad there are so many other people out there like me who trust our inner feelings over the outer opinions of others.

  8. Oh, thank you, Jorje, for the bit about putting forth an effort. Yes, yes, yes. It's so obvious — or should be — that the hard stuff requires more effort from me — more reflection, more creativity, and so on. Too often, I think, I tend to just wish that the hard stuff will go away on its own!

  9. Effort is such an excellent point to make when talking about parenting. I love how you recognize that what we do today helps to shape who they are tomorrow. The one thing I ask of everyone in our son's life is to remember that he is his own person, not an object. It can be hard for non-attachment people to see how treating a child one way, implies that you feel ownership over them. That isn't how I want to raise my child and I can see that isn't how you want to raise your daughters either. Thank you.

  10. Thank you for another great post! I love your comments about being considerate to others and using more gentle ways to stop undesirable behavior. I also love your tie/dye pillow!



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