I want to let my children learn from their own mistakes like my dad did. I want to protect my children at all costs like my mom
Like any parent-child relationship I'm sure they have their growing pains, but my aunt and uncle have raised two amazing boys. We stay with my aunt and uncle every time we got to Eastern Washington now so I get to witness the relationship they have with their boys on a daily basis while we're visiting.
They have such an open, loving relationship. The older of the two boys often goes to his mom for help with his relationships, his friendships or advice about a tough situation. Their dad is teaching them the value of hard work and not being handed on a gilded platter every single thing you ask for. After watching TV together, they'll often look up more about the subject they just watched so they're continually learning. My aunt is teaching the boys to stand up for themselves and not let people take advantage of them. I've watched my uncle play countless hours of HORSE or PIG or have dunking contests with them. Their home is seriously filled with so much laughter. I think what impresses me most is how mature and responsible my cousins are, especially the older one.
Seriously, the kid was only 15 when he wrote this at Mother's Day. Besides making all of us tear up, it made me realize that he's learned gratitude. He's learned not to take anything for granted - especially his mom.
This speaks volumes for my aunt and uncle's parenting style since often times moms are the person who just does things without asking for anything in return: cooking, cleaning, tutor, chauffeur, cheerleader and a million other things.
My aunt and uncle support their children. They go to every single sports game (and sometimes coach!) no matter how far away it may be (sometimes 1.5 hours each way.) They tell them on a daily basis that they're good at things and help build their confidence. They give them consequences when they mess up. They have a good balance of I'm Your Friend But I'm still Your Parent. But most of all, they treat their children with respect. They don't talk down to them like they're children who don't know anything. They answer their questions with age-appropriate answers. They've let their children know that they can talk to them about anything and ask questions about anything. They let them make up their own minds and form their own opinions.
Recently my cousin was given the opportunity to attend an event in San Francisco. While visiting Stanford, they did this exercise where a statement was read and people had to line up with one end being that you agree with the statement, the middle is neutral and the other end is you disagree. As people argued their position, the students were allowed to move along the line. The statement read was something about gay marriage and there was one (clearly gay and out) boy standing on the agree end, my cousin and a few others were in the middle and a bunch of the students were in the disagree end. My cousin ended up taking the first step and went over to the agree side to take a stand and argue the agree with gay marriage side. Eventually a few other students ended up on the same end while everyone else pretty much stayed on the disagree end. At an age where so many kids give in to peer pressure and don't stand up for what they believe in, I was really proud of my cousin when I heard this story.
This last time we visited, I just kept wondering exactly what they do to keep such an open relationship. In a time when it seems like so many kids are texting/sexting, hiding things from their parents, avoiding talking about big issues and generally disliking their parents, neither of my cousins seem to do any of these things. My aunt and uncle must be doing something right, I hope I can follow in their footsteps.