I was having trouble sleeping last night (they joys of a 10 years with sleeping difficulties) so I thought I'd write a few thoughts of my own on parenting, mostly just for a laugh.
My faith is the center of all decisions I make and hopefully without the references to seamless bible verses and the cheesy one liners you know that my parenting is done with the lens of a personal relationship with Jesus.
My family is my life. All else truly comes a distant second, even my career, friends and wine. Making this a conscience choice several years ago has been the best decision I have recently made, second only to when i said 'I do' many years ago.
My Top Tips
Never stop laughing at farts.
Trivial I know, but vital. My wife thinks I don't have a sense of humour, but..... Have fun, laugh heaps and when needed be disgusting just because you can. Your kids will thank you for it, and its fun.
Always make time for play.
I have trouble switching off, and I am not the world's biggest fan or gymnastics, AFL, drama or the arts. But my kids are, so play, not what I think is important or fun, but what they do.
You're never too old to dance with your children.
Top 40 is all we listen to and I have been told that I am the world worst dancer (refused to dance for so, so long) but again, this is important. I even danced at church on the weekend, front and center (Ring a Ring o Roses style).
Don't try and equal your time out between kids, just make it count.
I don't do the daddy date thing, but when I'm focused with one of the children I work to be involved, make it unique, and make it count.
Apologize when you get it wrong.
Own your mistakes, I blow it often but make a point to apologize and try and move forward. I also give the kids time to be upset with me.
Love you spouse, and when needed gross out the kids with affection
I show affection, and my kids always know that I love their mum to bits; I don't want this to be abnormal or ever to change.
Be consistent with discipline, but make it unique to them.
With a child with autism in the family it sometimes feels that life is unfair at times, the truth is it is. But learn what discipline your child responds to best and be consistent and in partnership with your spouse.
Extracurricular activities are boring as hell but important. Make it a priority to help your kids find something they love.
Yes, we do piano, football, drama, musical, youth group, sleepovers, and gymnastics. We have made this a priority at home, yes it can be a pain and some are expensive. But for us it's worth it.
Don't be afraid to say "I don't know", but help find a solution.
My kids think I know everything (mostly I do), but when I don't, I let them know and help find the answer. We learn together.
Tell your kids often that you're proud of them
Hard one for me, but vital that our children know they are doing well, and kicking significant goals. We don't measure against their siblings or others. We measure their effort and application.
Make time to hear them out.
Make time for family.
This is really really hard. Busyness, different interests, autism, adolescence all put a strain on family time. We are still looking for what fits best, but when needed we compromise. Movies seem to be the winner most times.
Be flexible, and willing to change your plans.
Again a hard one, but my family trumps church, work, and friends every time.
Thanks for hearing my thoughts, please feel free to comment.