12 July 2011

Who They Will Be

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.


It wasn’t until I read the topic for this month’s Carnival of Natural Parenting that I began to think about the qualities I hope my children possess as adults. I try to remain focused on the present as much as possible, to be in this moment at all times, but just this once it might be fun to visualize my adult children and how wonderful they will be. This list serves two purposes: it will show myself and all of you what my most cherished values are as well as help me keep my own behavior in check so I know if I am properly teaching these qualities to my children.

1. Empathy: In my earliest memories, I remember feeling empathy for others: friends, my mother, animals and the planet. It has remained one of the qualities I cherish most in myself and others, which is why it’s at the top of my list. I even used empathy as part of a research study I completed as an undergraduate. It is this quality that I try to emphasize over all others in my children because I think it paves the way for everything else. As adults, I would like to see my children practicing empathy with everyone they meet and have relationships with.

2. Gratitude: It’s no secret that I believe gratitude is important and there isn’t a moment that goes by during the day when I do not say ‘thank you’ to one of my children for whatever they are doing. It is literally at the end of nearly every sentence I speak to them and most other people I come in contact with. When you approach a person or situation from a state of gratitude, like love, you acknowledge and validate the individual or experience as having value and purpose.

3. Respect: I never want my children to feel as though they are not respected. On the same token, I also do not ever want to be the brunt of disrespect from them. In my own life, though I may have had many disagreements with my mother, I have never spoken poorly to her nor about her behind her back. Yes, sometimes things she says or does may annoy me, but I refrain from making nasty comments because it is not in me to speak ill of her. She is my mother and that position demands the utmost respect. In the same manner, I hope to inspire these feelings within my children so that I am not only respected by them, but they also respect themselves, others and our planet.

4. Responsibility: Although I mean it in every sense of the word, in this instance I am greatly referring to responsibility for our planet and all things that go along with that. They will grow up using cloth rags for cleaning and when they start menstruating, I will purchase each of them cloth pads in their choice of fabrics. When the time comes, I hope that they will also choose to cloth diaper their children, grow gardens to feed their families and choose the more ecologically responsible option whenever possible. I hope to inspire them to feel responsible for the Earth and to treat every inch of it as if it were the structures they reside in. It is home.

5. Compassion: True, honest compassion is often very hard to come by. People look upon one another with disdain and assume the worst in most cases without ever considering the events or circumstances that led up to the present. I always want them to respond to situations and people from a state of love and compassion, just as I strive to respond to them from the same state every moment of every day. While it may not always be possible, I hope that they will grow up knowing this as the standard for living and make every attempt to retain this practice their entire lives.

While this list is not entirely comprehensive of every quality I hope to instill in my children, it does get across the major points of my parenting philosophy. Without knowing it, I decided I would parent this way a long time before I had children, never knowing it was actually considered ‘attachment parenting.’ I believe in this way of behaving towards my children because it feels right to me and I cannot imagine going about this journey in any other manner. I look forward to the adults my children will become, knowing that the groundwork I lay here and now will not only benefit them and myself but everyone who chooses to walk in and out of their lives.


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:

  • 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. That's really lovely. I absolutely agree with empathy — it's what makes us human, and humane. I thought it was interesting to hear the two sides of respect: that you respect them, and that you seek for them to respect you. I like the mutuality of that.

  2. Those are truly wonderful qualities to encourage in your children! Your post emphasizes the power of being a model for our children. It's so true that we do much of our teaching simply by how we live. :) Deb @ LivingMontessoriNow.com

  3. So many of us have the same long-term parenting goals - I'm so glad to have everyone in this community to share and bounce ideas off of! I am surprised, however, that humor didn't make your list ;)

  4. I think these are the five basic qualities needed to live competently and that it's great that you're focusing on nurturing these in your children. All of these qualities have both very narrow and infinitesimally broad definitions and scopes of practice. Your last point of compassion I think sums up all of the other four, plus. There is no greater virtue than compassion, and I agree that it should be central in... well, everything!

  5. lol @ Dionna. I bet Amanda doesn't think out the humor... she just IS funny and it likely rubs off on her children!

    I can appreciate what you say here about respect, but I have definitely said ill words about and to my mother. Our relationship was anything but perfect and there are ways in which I feel she wronged her children. I can only guess that your mom... was more empathic? (I'm trying not to say "a better mom.")

    Even as I thought about my own carnival post, I didn't really see my children as adults. But then I think I touched on that... living in the now and the future is a fringe benefit.

  6. It's so important to remember that who we are teaching our little ones to be now will inform who they will become in the future. There is no separate set of values for children, I don't think.

  7. Imagine a world where COMPASSION is simply the standard that we all live by!? Beautifully said, Amanda.

    I am RIGHT THERE with you. We ARE parenting for a peaceful world.

    Freedom and Joy to you and those you love.

  8. Thank you, gracias, merci.

    Dionna, my children are funnier than I am so I hardly have to try to put that into my parenting philosophy. :)

    Thank you Ana! Your comment is just beautiful :)

    I like that how you chose your words Horhay. My mother was very hard working to make sure that I did not have the same life that she had and I think she succeeded. But, that of course doesn't make her a better mother than yours, especially since we are such different people. (I like to wear tops, for instance. ;) )

    That is so right, Rachael! Teach a child to be HUMAN from day one!

    Thank you so much Patti for wonderful, encouraging words!

  9. I think your girls have the best model for each of these qualities in you. I think these are qualities we should all hope to bring to our children's lives. I definitely need to work on the Respect quality in myself when it comes to my mother. Ever learning. This particular statement stuck out for me: "When you approach a person or situation from a state of gratitude, like love, you acknowledge and validate the individual or experience as having value and purpose." I want to live my life like this every day. I hope that my son (and hopefully others) can learn this from me.