I tried to be a Parent-in-the-box for most of my oldest daughter's life and half of my second daughter's life. I read all the popular child rearing books, mostly faith based, but also some secular books. I applied as much as I could in my parenting with my kids for so many years and the results were startling to say the least.
Imagine just for a moment if your husband were to take every marriage book he could get his hands on and try to apply that to your relationship with him? I know that in my marriage it didn't always work for us. We attended many marriage retreats and seminars and would giggle at some of the cookie-cutter teachings that further stereotyped couples into 1611 protestant marriages that isolated women and sealed their mouths shut. My husband was often perplexed, as was I, when we heard various preachers talk about a woman's closet being so filled with clothes and shoes..as if all women were like that..and I'm not..my husband is! We would hear how the husband is to be the spiritual leader of the home, handle the financial records of the home, and be the garage caretaker. This kind of stereotype is so far out of date it's ridiculous. My husband works incredibly hard and when he gets home we just want to enjoy his company. It seemed to us that we were being pushed further into a box that we just didn't fit in.
While we tried as hard as we could to fit the church mold for our family, it just wasn't working. In fact, it was tearing us apart. We felt like Alice in Wonderland when she grew so big she outgrew Rabbit's home. We felt ridiculous. For some odd reason, men have been trying to fit their families into boxes for centuries, even persecuting women for not fitting their mold. I'm not against good old fashioned values, but not as a one size fits all approach. I have a fascination with early church history and history of the world, but to try to live my life in the 1600's when God clearly put me here in the 21st century seems a bit outlandish.
We face many different issues today than our ancestors faced so to attempt to apply 1600 (or earlier) parenting techniques to our families can be quite a yoke. We need to be wiser than that, rely on His Spirit for discernment, and parent our children with relevance. The kind of 'persecution' our teens face today is nothing like what our ancestors faced. Our teens today face bullies, but not the kind of sand lot bullies of yesteryear, but rather sly and powerful bullies who have learned to walk around the rules and use mental twists and control to further victimize their unsuspecting victims. I'm pretty sure if our teens had to deal with a 1950's bully putting his fist up for their milk money, they could handle that quite well. But that's not what we're dealing with anymore. There's a new kind of bullying and it's through mind control and belittling tactics that are so hard to discern that usually only the victim knows they're a victim..and not usually until they are so far victimized that they are on the verge of or knee deep in depression.
Parent-in-a-box doesn't work for real life situations. We need to rely on God's Spirit to give us discernment. For those who don't have a faith in God..I still believe your gut instinct tells you something's wrong. Mother's from AGES have had this thing we call Mother's Instinct and that is not limited to only moms of faith. I believe it's just built into our hearts..sometimes we just know something is amiss, and even if we can't quite put our finger on it, we must pay attention to it. I'm not a 'pro' on parenting, but I have seen what works and what doesn't, enough to be able to speak my mind about this and let you decide for yourselves. Is the parent-in-the-box approach always workin' for ya? Our kids aren't all made from the same cookie dough and the pastor's cookie cutters from the 1600's just don't cut it.
That still small voice in your heart will speak to you,...listen.
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