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Cool Parent Guidelines

One of my bossy aunts is in town for a while and is staying at my house. As I listen to her yell at her grandkids about playing the instruments in our Music Room AFTER I told her it was ok for them to do so. I got to thinking about the kind of parent I want to be.
In August, I will be 31 years old and I don't have any children yet. Biological children anyway. My younger siblings are 13 years my junior, so it's safe to say I helped raise them. In contrast to how my mother raised us and similar things I've observed in my family in regards to raising children, I don't want to be the "fusser". It seems that all of the women in my family fuss and yell when trying to communicate with their kids. I've always hated it but I realized there is a better way when watching my mother in law interact with her teenage students and my sister in law interact with her 5 year old son. It's a stern but fun loving approach.

1. Let kids be kids and have fun.
This rule implies that they aren't endangering themselves and others. So what if they make a mess or a lot of noise.  Have them help you clean up when they're done and learn to ignore noise.
2. Ask for help. Don't demand.
You catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Not that you really want to catch flies but I think asking a kid to help you in the kitchen or with yard work is more effective than screaming "Wash these dishes!" at the top of your lungs. They become a part of a team and don't feel like "hired help".
3. Listen, don't lecture.
Having open communication with your kids will help you understand their point of view and hopefully, allow them to actually listen to what you have to say. I know as a teenager, I tuned out all of the lectures about why we have to fold laundry as soon as it's dry.
4. Be fluid with your rules but maintain the rules.
As adults, we have a certain way we like to do things and a certain way we like things to be done. We have to be patient with kids as they figure things out for themselves. If the kid has logical reasoning, go with their way. Being rigid doesn't get us anywhere.
5. If it's funny, they don't get in trouble.
Now this will be a Woods Estate Rule. Apply at your own risk. If my kids break a rule, but in their explanation, I can laugh about it, they probably won't get in trouble.

My husband and I are fun, silly, big kids at heart. I guess that's why kids in our lives call the Woods Estate the "Fun House". I hope that keeps us young. I pray that if we are blessed with children, they will be the same way. I know that children keep you young and can stress you out at the same time, so I pray that creating fun times will reduce the stressful times.
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