Sunday, March 17, 2013

The DDL Statement of Beliefs, Hot Button Parenting Edition

My verbal filter has always had a leak, but the older I get the more I suspect that it has broken altogether.  I was so excited about learning and experiencing new things that work for our family that I have always just blurted them out.  Fortunately, I have been blessed with the kind of friends and family that can agree to disagree and still love me, even when they think I am loony or just plain wrong, so sharing my views doesn't take much courage.  I hear a lot about mommywars, but don't really experience them, for which I am very grateful.  That said, here's what I think about some of the hot-button parenting issues today.

Birth:  I went from an epidural-by-two centimeters-dilation-please to a passionate home birth advocate over the course of four births.  I believe that doulas and midwives are superheros.  Every woman should grow up hearing about normal, beautiful births, and I want to make sure that my kids have confidence in their birth choices and experiences.  I don't care where or how you give birth as long as you know what your options are and the benefits and risks to you and your baby. 

Breastfeeding:  Well, there is a reason that I am Dulce de leche, after all.  Having nursed all four kids over a period of nine years and counting, tandem nursed for more than seven years and through three pregnancies, triandemed for two and a half years, persevered through nursing aversion, food allergies and more makes this one of my favorite topics.  I fully support child led weaning and full term nursing.  I also think that nursing in public is more than just a right of the nursing mother and child:  it is important for all people to witness and affirm, especially Christians.  There are many reasons why breastfeeding does not always work for every mom, and I won't judge you--but I will mourn with you if you had to wean before you wanted.

Sleep:  God listens to my cries even when it is dark.  He doesn't tell me to soothe myself or ignore me so that I won't bother him.   I would be heartbroken if the people I loved refused to comfort me when I was hurting simply because my obvious physical needs were met.  It seems pretty logical to me that I should treat my kids the way I would want to be treated there.  Besides, we all sleep better together, anyway.

Circumcision:  His body, his choice.  I cannot find any moral excuse for cosmetic surgery on a healthy baby.  There are no purported health benefits that are worth the risks and damage caused by routine infant circumcision.  And I don't even have printable words for the arrogance that would assume to remove part of a child's genitals because the parents would prefer a different appearance.  (For the record, we don't pierce our babies' ears, either.  I believe that without an overriding health concern, their bodies belong to them and they should be the only ones to modify them.)

Vaccinations:  We started off vaxing according to schedule until my son had a severe reaction at four months.  I honestly believe that it is only the mercy of God that he survived and has no discernible damage.  That caused me to begin researching everything I could find about vaccines.  Nothing I have found so far has convinced me that the benefits outweigh the risks for my family.

Schooling:  We are almost unschoolers.  I attended public school and was later homeschooled through high school.  I also taught K-12 at private schools for five years and have been teaching college courses for fifteen years now.  I can see benefits and drawbacks of all the different options, and we will probably try out more than one approach, but for now, homeschooling is working.  As a college instructor, I have noticed that the homeschooled students that I have taught stand out for their initiative and motivation, and I want to nurture that in my own kidlets.

WOHM vs SAHM:  I have been working part time ever since having kids.  For her entire first year, I wore my youngest baby to class with me (and wore all the others often, as well).  There were times with the others where I cried on my way to work, felt milk letting down before I could make it home, and wept over the moments that I missed or anxiety about leaving them with someone else.  There were also times when I thanked God wholeheartedly for time to myself and for the opportunity to be with adults without having to keep half my attention on my children.  I wish all parents had the opportunity to choose what would work best for their families.

Discipline:  I am a spanking abolitionist.  I post on this one frequently, because there are so many voices that twist Scripture and try to teach that God wants us to hit our kids.  Prayerful study of the Bible, the Proverbs passages and more, and the witness of the Holy Spirit in my heart has convinced me that God has called us as parents to show the same mercy and grace to our children that He has shown to us.  How will they believe that they can be forgiven through Jesus if our actions teach them that they cannot be forgiven without a spanking?  I do believe that we are called to disciple our children, the same way that Jesus taught His disciples: through our examples, through patient instruction, through washing their feet and using our authority to serve and protect rather than as a vehicle for our pride and selfishness.  I will go even further, though.  I honestly don't see any benefit whatsoever to punishment.  Kids learn better without it, and I have no more right to demand vengeance than the unmerciful servant in Jesus' parable did.  We have found better tools for our discipline toolbox.

Sex Ed for Kids:  From the very beginning, we knew we would never have The Talk with our kids.  Instead, we just talk, all the time.  I want them to be glad that God gave them a clitoris, to learn about sex and healthy relationships (and how to avoid unhealthy ones) from us, without shame, and to understand why sexual purity matters.

Parents vs Kids:  One of the tragedies of church culture today is the perpetuation of the adversarial mindset that insists that parents form a united front against their children.  We are not to be marriage centered OR child centered.  We are on the same team, and our goal is to be Christ-centered.  My husband and I submit to each other and ultimately to God. 

Misc:  As far as other things like TV, food choices, diapers, kreeatiff spellings for names, our kids' appearance and all that, we lean towards a radical unschooling take on it, with lots of freedom for whatever we need.  We aren't strict about screen time, but the kids prefer to play, anyway.  I love raw milk and making my own kombucha and we buy organic and pasture raised as much as possible, but we also do fast food when we are in the car and in a hurry. I used cloth diapers full time on two children and part time on two, but was lucky that my younger three all potty learned on their own before they were two years old. 

Faith:  Knowing Christ makes me want to live a life of radical grace.  I am still learning exactly what that means, but this is where I am right now.

So this is a peek at some of the choices we are making.  Thanks for joining me here!  Regardless of whether you agree with me or not, I am pretty sure that you love your kids and are seeking the best for your families.  I am glad that we can learn together.  :)


Kathleen | Becoming Peculiar said...

You rock, Dulce! Can we be best friends? :)

Rach said...

What a brilliant list! So much said, so succinctly. I'm with you on of of (not a christian so we differ there, but hey who cares!).

TexasNeals said...

I can't tell you how much you encourage and inspire me! You give me the courage to follow my heart and not my Sunday school teacher. Thank you so much for sharing your views and experiences....they have changed my children's lives.

Tina Michelle said...

I love this! You are so kind and wrote this so eloquently. I haven't read your blog in a while, I need to catch up a bit!

Lelia Schott said...