Over the years my parenting has definitely evolved to meet my, and my kids', needs. I tried a number of different strategies until I learned about lighthouse parenting. That's when I never looked back. I try to be like a lighthouse — a beacon of strength and comfort for my kids— and for the most part it's been a pretty good fit for our family. Plus, I've learned there are more than a few absolute truths only a lighthouse mom would know, and those truths make this whole parenting thing just a tad easier.
Lighthouse parenting is a term coined by Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg in his book Raising Kids to Thrive. The basic idea behind the philosophy is that we, as parents, should be like lighthouses for our kids: stable, consistent, protective and constant role-models. That means that it's our job, as parents, is not to follow our kids around making sure they never get into trouble. Rather, we model how to make good choices, then let them have enough freedom to make their own decisions. We know that letting your kids make choices means they will feel more in control of their lives, so they'll tantrum just a little bit less. That, my friends, is the dream. Sometimes that means letting them make mistakes so they can learn, though, and that's definitely not easy.
Lighthouse parents are accessible to their kids. They take the time to let their children know that they're always available as consultants and/or therapists, helping them talk problem-solve and processing emotions. This helps me connect with my kids in a meaningful way, every single day, and is way less exhausting and way more fun than being a hovering helicopter or controlling drill sergeant mom. Now that I've started parenting this way, I feel like I am parenting smarter instead of harder, and that is a beautiful thing.