My Parenting Philosophy

Posted by savannahkase on August 20, 2013 in Parenting, Personal |

Both Latin and Greek use the word philosophia, from philo- (“loving”) and sophia (“knowledge, wisdom”), to denote the “system a person forms for conduct of life.” Today, the Oxford English Dictionary defines “philosophy” as “a theory or attitude held by a person or organization that acts as a guiding principle for behavior.” We all have philosophies that shape our response to the world around us, be it – “Live & Let Live,” “Carpe Diem,” or “Do Unto Others …” Many, if not most, of our guiding principles, however, are subconscious. For example, I am generally risk averse – I don’t like to gamble, break the rules, or race go-carts. But I hate to miss out on anything, so I am much more likely to take a risk if my friends or family are (so my answer to the old “Would you jump off a bridge if ____ did?” is usually yes!).

I am comfortable with who I am as an individual, and I am probably too set in my ways to change my underlying philosophies at this point anyhow. But I have only just become a parent, so am still discerning and devising the principles that will guide how I raise my child(ren). Rather than fall into habits or follow whatever fad is in fashion, I want to be mindful in forming my parenting philosophy.

To that end, below is my brainstorming of values, promises, requests, and wisdom I want to impart to my offspring:

  • You are loveable and loved.


  • Please stay true to yourself and do not judge others.


  • You are not perfect, but I expect you to try your best and to strive for improvement.


  • Please be vulnerable with me; it will make us both stronger.


  • You deserve the greatest happiness, but you must take responsibility for pursuing, recognizing, and basking in it.


  • Please respect the rules I make, even when you do not understand or agree with them.


  • Your worth is inherent, it does not rise and fall with your accomplishments and failures; do not let outside people or events make you question your own value.


  • Please talk to me; I am always ready to listen.


  • You will not always get what you want, but you will learn to appreciate and share what you have.


  • Please do not fear mistakes or rejection, just try to learn from them.


  • You will ache and, although I cannot take away your pain, I will join you in it and teach you how to feel and overcome it.


  • You will learn by watching me.


  • Please treat yourself and others with equal compassion.


  • You will test boundaries and my patience, but I will remain firm in my commitment to helping you grow into a person of integrity, curiosity, strength, and kindness.

Reading back through this list, it looks like my Parenting Philosophy will be based on teaching by example and communication. I am sure that it will evolve as my son grows up, and I will try to remain conscious of these principles as we face new challenges as a family.

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  • John says:

    Very eloquent and well thought out. I enjoyed the part regarding taking responsibility for his own happiness and enjoying the results.

  • Jordana says:

    I think this is great. I’m not quite a parent yet (although I do already kind of feel like one! Taking care of my little one for over 9 months now…) but I think my philosophy will match yours in a lot of way. From your list, the most important things for me is recognizing personal responsibility for happiness and not valuing yourself based on achievements or outsider perspectives. These have been key to enjoying my adult life. I hope my overall parenting philosophy (which, of course, is nowhere near fully formed!) is that I’m not raising children but rather am raising future adults. Yes, of course, it will be important to me that my children enjoy the experience of being children and I will value that. But, at the end of the day, they’re going to be adults for a much longer span of time and it’s important that I give them the tools and confidence they need to have a happy adulthood.

    Or, at least, that’s what this not-yet-parent thinks for now. 🙂

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