1 on 1 Parenting
16, 14, and 6. Son, daughter, and another daughter. These are the ages and genders of the Culpepper children or “Lil Peppers” as we call them. As you can imagine, there is never a dull moment. Prior to this school year, we had all three at different schools; elementary, middle, and high. Our mornings are filled with making lunches, finalizing homework, signing folders, scarfing down breakfast, kisses, high, and high-fives. Our “Lil Peppers” spam not only grade levels, but because of their gender and personality differences, at times it feels like our children are all from different planets. This means, the way we interact with them, must be uniquely specific and prescriptive.
The knowledge of this fact has come through many years of parenting trials and countless errors. Years that I should apologize to my children for, especially our oldest and only son. When you begin this parenting journey, you want to be the best you can. You want to follow all the expert advice, stick to the rules that work, read the bestselling books, and shadow the footsteps of your wisest family members. However, the truth is (and you typically do not learn this until you have the second child) the RULES DO NOT APPLY TO ALL.
There is no standard mode of operation in parenting. Each of our children are uniquely designed, gifted, and created for their individual purpose. As parents we must choose to spend time up close and in their little (and then big) faces, to see them, and know them, and to love them deeply and personally. By investing 1 on 1 moments with our children with devices off and the world turned to mute, we have a clearer direction to their natural bend and lights on the path to what we should do to support them, challenge them, and raise them up to me like arrows in the hands of a mighty warrior.
Making 1 on 1 time is a priority for me and I try to do it in simply ways like:
- playing a card game
- taking a trip to the store
- bike rides or walks
- snuggling up to watch their favorite show
- swinging together in our hammock
- cooking together
- sneaking away to eat together (ice cream is a winner)
I am thankful for this 1 on 1 time and for the three amazing people I have the pleasure of parenting. My three are teaching me the patience of life and living. My three are teaching me the magic of thinking outside of the box (even those troublesome boxes I create for myself). My three are teaching me and leading me to understanding how NOT to ask my best friend what worked for her son, or my mother-in-law what worked for their father. While their experiences have great value and serve to remind me that I am not alone, they will never substitute the solutions I find sitting on the steps with my sweet angels.
My three inspire me to get to know them, feel them, see them, hear them, understand them, and plan my parenting accordingly. I am sure I will continue to learn more about my three with each passing year, month, day, and second, but what I know today is that just as each parent needs something different, every child needs and deserves parents that take the time to look deep in their eyes and connect with them in a distinct and singular way.